Software, Technology

How-to: Recover data from a damaged docx xlsx or pptx document

Commercial vehicles at the Great Dorset - - 1476403Microsoft Office documents are much more robust than they once were, but that fact doesn’t help when Office fails to open a document that it opened before. Crashes, viruses and network failures can all result in corrupted Office documents.

There are utilities you could try like File Repair, or you could try to recover data yourself, as long as the corrupted documents are in the latest Microsoft XML file formats: docx, pptx or xlsx.

By data recovery we mean extract the content, so that you can recreate the document.

Docx, xlsx and pptx files are, in effect, archives that wrap a number of files of actual content. If you have Win-Zip, PKZip, 7-Zip or similar archive tools, then rename the file with a .zip suffix, then right-click in Explorer and select your archive program to open the file.

If the extraction is successful (not guaranteed with corrupted files, but stick with it), you will get a collection of folders and files, the most useful being:

  • word > document.xml which contains the text of the Word docx document
  • word > media which lists the media embedded in the Word document
  • xl > worksheets > sheet[X].xml which contains the spreadsheet data of sheet X
  • ppt > media which lists the media embedded in the PowerPoint presentation
  • ppt > slides which contains the data of each slide

From these, you may be able to recover data (text and numeric) and media (embedded graphics, audio, video) and insert it into a new document. It is worth browsing around. At least keep a copy of this extracted content before you let loose with the file recovery utilities. AJS

Image credit: Commercial vehicles at the Great Dorset – – 1476403 by Michael Trolove

About Allan J. Smithie

Allan J. Smithie is a journalist and commentator based in Dubai.


5 thoughts on “How-to: Recover data from a damaged docx xlsx or pptx document

  1. I consider your considered opinion most useful. Thank you for use on your sharing.

    Posted by Pesc | January 31, 2013, 11:12 am
  2. Trust Microsoft to over-engineer XML so as to be incomprehensible.

    Posted by Checo Staples | February 2, 2013, 3:37 am
  3. People still use MS-Office documents??!! ;) Thanks

    Posted by Charlette Amavisca | February 2, 2013, 7:35 am
  4. PowerPoint document recovery can be very easy by using PowerPoint recovery tool. This software helps to repair corrupted or damaged PPT and PPTX files on the Windows system. Moreover this software is available in free demo version you can download it on your system and try for recovery.

    For More Info:


    Posted by Rapcon | February 13, 2013, 7:20 am
  5. I you like to know that, does it repair docx files caused due to abrupt shut down, if so let me know?

    Posted by rickypo91 | February 23, 2013, 9:38 pm

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