Microsoft 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