Word 97-2003 document saved in Word 2007: "Word was unable to read this document. ..."

pavelkoutny used Ask the Experts™

II'm using a lot of different documents made using Word 2003. Now if I edit them in Word 2007 (file opened as Word 97-2007 document in compatibility mode) and once I save the document this document become broken - both 2003 and 2007 Words says "Word was unable to read this document. ...". Document cannot be repaired any possible way.

Here are the detailes:
1.) Old Word 2003 document - opened on my Word 2007 - changed - saved = broken document
2.) Old Word 2003 document - opened on my Word 2007 - changed - saved as 97-2003 document = working
3.) Word 2003 document saved as ... on my Word 2007 - opened on my Word 2007 - changed - saved = broken document
4.) New document created in my Word 2007 - saved as 97-2003 document = working
5.) Document from 4.) opened on my Word 2007 - changed - saved = working
6.) Document from 4.) opened on friend's Word 2003 - changed - saved - opened on my Word 2007 - changed - saved = not working
7.) Another friend with Office 2007 (installed from same DVD within our office) has absolutely no problems - he could open/save any documents and those are not broken anytime

We both are using Visio 2007 and Project 2003, Windows XP SP2

Our office completely migrated to Office 2007 and I'm the only person with such a problems.

I've tried to repair office 2007 - same problems, reinstall office 2007 - same problems, completely uninstall all office products, then install office 2007 - same problems

Please do not post such a solutions like this one here:

Also the tips for using Word 2007 documents with MS file converter plug-in on computers with Office 2003 is not acceptable - I have to created and edit many documents and send them over the company's branches over the world.

Experts here, I just want to use the Word 2007 as comfortabely as Word 2003.
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here are some more comments:
- I have file XY.doc in 97-2003 format
- I could open it, add at the end single word - save - not working
- my colleague do the same change and save - working
- we both have same word settings and we're using same applications
- saved files has the same size
- during byte by byte file comparison the files are pretty different - not only the header (document is saved in different time under different user etc.) the data content is pretty different on many places
HDatabase Administrator

not sure if it will help  but I noticed this article...



hollecar: I know about this but it's the diferent issue
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Sounds like your file is getting corrupted during the save on your computer for the most part. Maybe try copying the file to a disk or thumb-drive and bringing it to someone else computer to see if it opens with their version of word 2007 on their computer. I doubt it will be able to open by the sounds of it. The only thing I can think of at the moment is that somehow something in the registry possibly got messed up. Maybe try re-installing office 2007 on your computer again as a fresh install. I would imagine that if you uninstalled and reinstalled the office 2007 on your computer that it should work fine. If everyone else in your office can open the original documents and make same changes and saves, then the only thing I can think of that would be fairly simple is to try reinstalling. Hope this helps. Let us know. Good luck.


problems happens on various computers, but finally we found the problem - on every single document (from various sources) there were picture in header or footer with the hypertext link (e.g. to web page) - after removing the hyperlink problems ends - so solution is to remove the hyperlink from image on header/footer - it's courious that this is issue only on some computers
PAQed with points refunded (500)

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