How can I recover an RTF file that comes up blank in Word? I've tried copy-pasting its contents into a new document and opening it with Notepad. In Notepad, it shows up as a bunch of zeros and the formatting text for Word. I tried opening the file with a hex editor, too, but I'm not totally familiar with them and was unsure what to do next.

  • Is it a Word file (.DOC) as opposed to an RTF? Try opening it in a Word viewer. Try importing it to Google Docs or something.
    – Synetech
    Mar 14, 2011 at 18:43
  • Have you exhausted all other program options, like OpenOffice? Maybe give the file to a Mac user and see if he can do anything with it.
    – NReilingh
    Mar 14, 2011 at 19:20
  • 1
    Have you tried opening it in Wordpad? Not sure if it'll help, but worth a shot.
    – user541686
    Mar 14, 2011 at 19:49
  • If it's showing up as zeroes in Notepad, without any content, it sounds like your SOL.
    – user3463
    Mar 14, 2011 at 20:32
  • Awesome, I'll check all these out. Hopefully something works. Thanks!
    – user71707
    Mar 15, 2011 at 2:22

2 Answers 2


I had a similar issue on a user's PC at work.

Try deleting their profile's normal.dot file.

All Office applications should be closed before you delete the file. Sometimes these files are hidden; when you search for normal.dot you need to select Advanced Options and tick the box to Search hidden files and folders.

When you reopen Word, the normal.dot file will be recreated.


try opening and saving the corrupted file in wordpad.

In linux,once wine installed, using the command

  wine wordpad

i have managed to open a corrupted file properly and retrieve it this way.

  • 1
    Cool. Wordpad opened my rtf, failed by both libre office and word Apr 3, 2015 at 10:31

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