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I solved my Save problem by deleting one formula and illustration at a time to find out which one was causing the document to be corrupt, and then I redraw the offending illustration, and I could save it.

Since that day, I have worked a lot with my documents, and almost once a day, at least one file gets corrupt and I cannot save it. [I cannot believe that Word is this buggy, but apparently I am the only one using Word to write long, technical, documents, and thus the only one to see these bugs.]

Anyhow, I can live with this. I have learned to Ctrl+S once a minute, and when it fails, I simply close without saving and open the last saved version of the document, and rewrite the new material I wrote the last minute.

But now I have an even worse problem: One of my long documents won't even open!

Word suddenly cannot open the document

The dialog says, "The file %s cannot be opened since there is a problem with its content. Information: The name in the ending tag of the element has to match the element type of the starting tag. Place %s Part %s,, Row: %d,, Column %d"

The document is more than 40 pages long, and I have spent many weeks working on it. It contains a lot of formulae, illustrations, footnotes, bibliography, cross references, etc. Don't tell me I have to redo everything. Is there anything I can do?

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up vote 1 down vote accepted

I can think of two things:

  1. Try to open the document in Word with the option to repair it. In Word 2007 you have an arrow next to the Open button where you can select Open and repair. Word 2010 probably has the same.
  2. You can try to rename .docx to .zip and then open /word/document.xml (the new Office XML files are just zip-files). Maybe you can fix the problem in the xml file yourself. Make a copy first!
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Thanks. Unfortunately, I had already tried both. What's even worse is that the file size of the corrupt file is only a third (or so) of the last backup, which contains less text. So probably information is inevitably lost here. I 'solved' the problem by rewriting everything I had written since the last backup. Now I try to avoid problems like this by making a backup once every ten minutes, or so. I see you need some rep, so here is a 15 to get you started at SU! – Andreas Rejbrand May 7 '11 at 16:52

Apart from the things The_Fox mentioned, I would try opening the file in OpenOffice (or LibreOffice... same thing, really). It might have more of a tolerance for imperfect files.

I would also make a backup of the file, so that it can't get any more damaged/modified.

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Thanks. I would probably have tried that if it weren't for the fact that I do backup my files once a week or so, so eventually I just "solved" the problem by reverting to the last backup and rewriting everything I had written since that backup was created. Prior to this, however, I did try to open the file in WordPad, and that worked! But I only got the first few pages. And, since the file size of the corrupt file is remarkably low, maybe that is all there is in the file... – Andreas Rejbrand May 7 '11 at 16:55

The Docx converter of Google seems to be quite fault tolerant.

Perform the following steps:

  1. Upload the file to Google Drive
  2. Convert it to Google Docs format
  3. Open it with Google Docs
  4. Finally store it as Word Docx file.

This has just worked almost flawlessly for me!

Meanwhile, Microsoft published a fix for the "missing end tag" error. For other file corruptions, usage of third-party Word converters can be the salvation.

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You can fix these errors yourself:

See "Let me fix it myself."

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