How to Recover a Deleted or Corrupted Word Document

For those who are early adopters of Microsoft Office, you should have used or are still using Word to make documents, it doesn’t matter whether you are on a Windows PC or have already switched to a Mac computer.

Sometimes you might encounter situations like couldn’t open a Word doc because it’s corrupted. Worse yet, you couldn’t find a specific word doc because it got deleted or lost for some reason.

The question is: how to recover the Word file?

In this article, we’ll share a few quick tips and tricks that hopefully can assist you to retrieve the content or the entire Word file.

If You Deleted the Word File or Couldn’t Find It

First of all, check the Recycle Bin (Windows 10) or Trash (macOS). Usually, when you deleted a word file, it will go to the Recycle Bin or Trash. If it is there, just select it and click the Restore or Put Back option to restore it to its original location.

Restore a deleted item from Windows Recycle Bin
Put Back a file from Mac Trash

If that doesn’t work out for you, try third-party recovery software.

Note: you can only retrieve a deleted or lost Word file provided that it is not written over yet. In other words, the moment you realized your file is missing, stop writing new data or saving new files to the disk drive.

If Your Word File is Corrupted or Damaged

Repair Corrupt Word on Windows

The best way is to try this tool called Stellar File Repair, a program specifically designed to restore the original content and formattings by repairing a problematic MS Word document. Below is a screenshot of the software.

It supports all versions of Microsoft Office 2016, 2013, 2010, 2007, 2003, 2002, and 2000.

Repair Corrupt Word on Mac

If you are on a Mac, a typical symptom of Word corruption is this error message:

“This file may be corrupted. Open the file with text recovery converter.”

In fact, there is no such text recovery converter on Mac. But you can often rely on the “Recover Text from Any File” feature to recover the content. How to do that? Follow these steps:

  1. Launch the Word app on your Mac.
  2. In the main menu, click on File > Open.
  3. Find the drop-down menu titled Enable: (in some Word versions, it might be Show).
  4. Select the option Recover Text from Any File.
  5. Locate your damaged or corrupted Word file.
  6. Follow the rest instructions to finish the recovery process.

Final Words

It can be upset to lose a Word document either because it’s corrupted or missing. Chances are you might still be able to get it back or at least retrieve the content you’ve worked on and saved, by using a word repair tool or the tips we have shared above.

Don’t forget to back up your important documents. You can do so by making several copies of the Word docs to an external hard drive or simply emailing yourself by adding the files as attachments.

Now online documents are getting popular, consider switching from Office Word software to Office 365 or Google Docs (both are excellent online word doc options). I’ve been using Google Docs for a while, and I’m quite happy about it.

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  • evelyn

    thank you, that was quite helpful! best wishes

  • Alyssa Ray

    God Bless you!
    I have already had to start over on this stupid essay because the computer deleted a weeks worth of work and it’s due tomorrow. This page saves me from redoing in one night what I had already done twice before. I cannot express the level of gratitude I feel towards you and I hope you live a long and happy life where you are blessed abundantly.

    • Avatar photo

      Hi Alyssa. Glad that this article helped you out. Next time remember to back up and save your work promptly, just in case. Have a blessed day 🙂