How Do I Decode an Encoded Word Document?

Written by giselle diamond
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How Do I Decode an Encoded Word Document?
Learn how to decode an encoded Word document. (computer girl two image by Paul Moore from

Microsoft Word is a program which allows you to write documents and save them for later use. It is a part of the Microsoft Office Suite. Saving a document and reopening it can, on occasion, cause a file you've previously written to appear in a garbled manner. When this happens it means that the program has not properly detected the encoding standard in which the file was saved. You can still retrieve your file by following a few simple steps.

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  1. 1

    Open your file if it is not currently open with Microsoft Office Suite. One of the most common ways to have an encoding error is by using a different program to reopen a file.

  2. 2

    Click the "Office" button and select "Word Options." Then click the "Advanced" option.

  3. 3

    Find the "General" section in advanced options and check the box next to "Confirm file format conversion on open." This will tell the program that it should run a check on the file's encoding when it opens the next time.

  4. 4

    Close, and reopen the file. Word should now have displayed a dialogue box titled "Convert File." If Word did not display the dialogue box, then repeat Steps 1 through 4.

  5. 5

    Select the "Encoded Text" option in the "Convert File" dialogue box that just opened.

  6. 6

    Select "Other Encoding" in the "File Conversion" dialogue box, and then choose the encoding standard you wish to use from the list provided. You will have the option to preview your text. Use this to check the text for readability in the coding standard that you selected.

    With a little trial and error this should solve your encoding error problems when files load in an improper manner.

Tips and warnings

  • If you regularly work with files in Word formats such as doc, .dot, .docx, .docm, .dotx or .dotm, you may wish to turn the encoding standard off after fixing your document
  • You can also choose an encoding standard when you save a file. This may prevent future encoding errors when you open a file.
  • If your document does not show up properly after using this guide, consider the possibility that the font used in the file is not available on the computer you are using. If this is the case, you will need to either use another computer to open the file or you will need to find and install the required font.

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