Learn how to find "lost" word documents. Learn how to troubleshoot common issues that can damage Word documents including changing the document template, starting Word using the default settings, changing the printer drivers, saving the document in a different format, and copying the undamaged parts of the document to a new document.
- [Instructor] There maybe times when you lose a document. I know I've done this to myself on several occasions. I've closed the document before I saved it or I've closed the document and it saved to a location and I didn't know where that location was. Luckily there's a couple easy ways for us to locate those lost Word documents. The first and easiest method is just to open up File Explorer, navigate to the folder where you think that document may be, but you could do a broader search. Enter in an asterisk dot docx.
The asterisk is the wildcard so it will bring up anything with the extension of docx. Docx is the extension for Word 2016. Earlier version of Word would have used the extension doc. And as you can see here, we have a list of several docx files. You can also try finding the backup copy of the file that you were working on using this similar process. Instead of docx, I'm going to use extension wbk and you'll notice here that I have a couple backup copies.
But before this will work, you'll need to enable backups and you need to do this from within Word. So let's pop into Word and I'll show you how to enable this backup option. We're in Word, we'll click on File, Options, Advanced, and scroll down, you're looking Save, you'll want to ensure that Always create backup copy is enabled. The next place to look for lost files is in your AutoRecover folder. And I will admit, this is probably my go-to place for lost files.
But you need to know where that AutoRecover folder is before you can try recovering those files. The easiest way to find the location of the AutoRecover folder is using Word options. So instead of Advanced, we're going to click on Save. Here we can see our AutoRecover will occur every 10 minutes. That's a little long for me, I'm going to reduce that down to five. Next, I have enabled Keep the last AutoRecovered version if I close without saving, because sometimes I will close and forget to save.
And finally, we have the location of our AutoRecover files. You can see here it's just our path and you can go ahead and click Browse and that will bring up that folder for you and you can try to recover the files from there. I'm going to go ahead and cancel this. I'm going to click OK here to save that setting from 10 to five minutes. Okay, that takes care of lost files, but what if your document has been damaged? Well, you can use the open and repair method to try to repair the damaged files. To do so, you're in Word, click on File, Open, and the trick here is you must click on Browse because you need to be able to browse for the file itself.
We're going to go ahead and select the Landon Guest Rooms document. And then instead of just clicking Open as we normally would, click the down arrow and then Open and Repair. Now Word will try to repair that damaged file. There are other options to opening documents when the Open and Repair option does not work including changing the document template from a custom document back to a normal template. To do this, click into File, Options. This time you're going to select Add-ins, down at at the bottom where it says Manage, go ahead and click on Template and click Go.
Because I'm using the normal document template, normal will already be here for me. If I had created this document in a different customized template, then I would go ahead, find the normal dotm template. I'll show this to you with Attach, and there it is here, that would be the one that we'd select and then click OK. If the damage in the document was because of the formatting or some of the other customizations in the customized template, those will be removed when you apply that normal dotm template back to the document.
You can also start Word using the default settings. Now I'm going to warn you, to do this, you'll need to edit the registry. If you're uncomfortable doing this, then you may want to defer this to your IT administrator or your IT help desk. I'm going to go ahead and close Word. I'm not going to save this document. I'm going to go ahead and run regedit. To do so, click Start, start typing regedit and then you'll click on regedit.exe Now your screen may look different than mine depending on the operating system that you're using, but the steps are similar.
And here, to force Word to use those default settings, we must remove the Word registry key. The registry editor will open in the last place you were. So let's go ahead and navigate to that registry key. It will be under HKEY_CURRENT_USER, Microsoft, you'll scroll down a little bit to Office, then you'll select the appropriate folder as it associates to your Word version. Because I'm using word 2016, the registry key that I am looking for will be in the folder 16.
Come down to Word and then we can go ahead and delete this registry key. But before doing so, I'm going to save this registry key to the desktop just in case. Do so with Export and then I can go ahead and delete the registry key. Again, if you're uncomfortable doing this, please refer back to your support desk. You can go ahead and close regedit, and then you can go ahead and launch Word one more time. Now Word will start with brand new default settings.
Your next step, if the error is still occurring, is to change the printer drivers. You may be wondering why you want to change the printer drivers because Word will load up the default printer driver that you have on your system. Changing that printer driver and then launching Word may allow you to access that damaged document. First think I'm going to do is close down Word for the time being. And now we need to go into Devices and Printers. To do so, I'm going to click on Start, I'm going to start typing devices.
And again, your screen may look slightly different than mine, I'm going to select Devices and Printers, and I'm going to go ahead and add in a new XPS printer. We already have a few here but I'd like to show you the steps to add a new one. We'll click on Add a printer. I know that this printer is not available so I'm going to go ahead and click The printer that I want is not listed. And here you're going to be setting up a local printer or a network printer with manual settings. Click next, you'll be using LPT port one.
Under your manufacturer, select Microsoft, and then select Microsoft XPS Document Writer. I'm going to go ahead and click next. Use the driver that is currently installed, don't replace the current driver, click Next again. You can name it and I'll leave the default name. Click Next and then I am going to set this as the default printer. I can go ahead and close this. Now when I launch Word and open up a blank document, and go to File, and Print, you'll notice that our default printer is now the XPS printer.
And again, this may allow you the opportunity to pull off the damaged data from your file. If the document still will not open, you can move on to the next step which is saving your document in a different file format. Now I know this is a blank document, but for demonstration purposes, I'm going to go ahead and just click on Save As. I'm going to click on Browse, I'm going to put it in Documents, but instead of saving it with docx extension, I'm going to save it with the doc. So this is Word 97 to 2003.
Go ahead and Save. Now you can try opening up that file and then saving it back as a docx and that may recover that damaged data for you. I'm going to go ahead and close this document. If the document is still experiencing errors, then you can try copying the undamaged parts to a new document. That's really easy to do. So I'm going to go ahead, I'm going to open up a previous document, perfect.
And then I'm going to go ahead and open up a black document. So, New, I'm going to close the navigation bar and I'm going to close it here as well. In this case, you maybe able to copy the undamaged portions of your document to a clean document. Now the trick here is you do not want to take the last paragraph mark because that last paragraph mark contains all the information about the document.
So turn on your paragraph marks, that's the show hide button in the paragraph group. And again like I said, the trick here is not to take the last paragraph mark. So as we can see, our last paragraph mark is here. So we would take everything but that paragraph mark. For our demonstration, I'm only going to select a couple lines of text. You can go ahead and copy, and then you pop that into your blank document. And that's all there is to it.
This will copy the data but not the formatting that goes with it. For additional Word troubleshooting, tips, and tricks, please see the Word help center.
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