How-To

We Found Unreadable Content Error in Word: How to Fix

writing in Word

Seeing a “We found unreadable content” error while trying to open a Word document? Follow the steps in this guide to fix the problem.

Have you received a We found unreadable content error while trying to open a Word document?

The reason for the error is that the file is corrupt, meaning Word can’t process or display it correctly on your computer. This corruption could be a result of the file being transferred multiple times between devices. Alternatively, it could be because the file was saved in the .doc format, rather than .docx, which is a compatibility feature for users of older versions of Office.

All is not lost, however. We’ll explain some steps you can take to fix a corrupt Word document and resolve this problem below.

Use the Recover Text from Any File Converter in Word

If the file you are trying to open is corrupt, you can use Word’s built-in recovery tools to get some or all of the copy back. One feature is Recover Text from Any File, an option accessible in the Open menu.

To record a Word document using the Recover Text from Any File tool:

  1. Open a new or existing document in Word.
  2. Click File from the top toolbar.We Found Unreadable Content
  3. Click Open from the left column.
  4. Select the Browse option.
  5. Navigate to the location of the file you are trying to open.
  6. Click the menu button above the Open and Cancel button and select the Recover Text from Any File option.
  7. Click Open.

Word will attempt to recover the file and open the document. Results will vary. It can take some time to open the file, and you may lose some formatting options and images inserted in the document.

Repair the Word File

Another recovery method to recover a corrupt document is using Word to repair the file.

To repair a Word file:

  1. Launch Word and navigate to File > Open > Browse.
  2. Find your document, click the Down Arrow next to the Open button, and select the Open and Repair option from the menu.We Found Unreadable Content

Word will repair the document and attempt to open it so you can recover your document.

Update Office and Windows

Your document may not open due to a bug in the Office suite or the operating system. So, if the file recovery options don’t work, check for and update Office and Windows.

Note: Before checking for updates, save your work and close all open Office apps.

To update Microsoft Office:

  1. Open a known working Word document and click File on the top toolbar.We Found Unreadable Content
  2. Click Account from the panel on the left.We Found Unreadable Content
  3. Under the Product Information section on the right, click the Update Options dropdown menu and select Update Now from the menu.
  4. After updating Office, check for Windows Updates to ensure the operating system is up to date, and restart your device if necessary.

Repair or Reset Office

If you still can’t open the document and get the “We found unreadable content” error, it could be a problem with Office itself. Luckily, you can repair or reset Office.

To repair or reset Office:

  1. Right-click the Start button and select Apps and Features from the menu on Windows 10.
  2. On Windows 11, right-click Start and select Installed apps instead.
  3. Type Office in the search field at the top and select the Advanced options link under your version of Microsoft Office.We Found Unreadable Content
  4. Scroll down to the Reset section and click the Repair button first. If that doesn’t work, click the Reset button.

After the repair and/or reset process, try opening your problematic document or attempt a file repair option to see if it works.

Perform a Repair Install of Office

If Office still isn’t working correctly, you can do a repair install. This process allows you to repair Office with or without an internet connection.

Note: Your Office apps will not be available during the repair process, so ensure you save your work and close open Office apps first.

To do a repair install:

  1. Right-click Start and select Apps and Features or Installed apps from the menu.
  2. Select your version of Office from the list and click the Modify button.
  3. Choose a Quick or Online A quick repair, as its name implies, works fast. But an online repair will provide a more thorough repair and gets fixes from Microsoft servers.

Once the repairs are complete, launch the Microsoft document giving you the error and see if it will open. If it doesn’t, try one of the file repair options outlined above. The update and repair may now allow you to open the file error-free.

Fixing Corrupt Microsoft Office Files

If you get a “We found unreadable content” error while attempting to open a Word document, one of the above solutions should allow you to open the file. But results will vary depending on the level of file corruption. Another option is to find a backup file in OneDrive and save it to a separate location.

Microsoft Word has a number of other features that you might not know about (yet). For example, you can view the word count in real-time and insert custom headers and footers in Word.

If you need more advanced options, check out how to embed a file in Word. Or, if you’re an academic, learn to use MLA format in Word or format APA style in Microsoft Word.

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