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Opening Word attachment in Outlook (format issue)

Posted on 2010-09-22
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Last Modified: 2012-05-10
During the last two or three years, I have received 3 emails natively in Outlook 2003, Outlook 2007 and Outlook 2010 with Word Attachments that show as filename.rtf or filename.doc.rtf . I received them from 3 friends known to me and not necessrily known to each other. I cannot open them correctly.

This is what I see (tonight's email from one friend that I received in Outlook 2010):
-----------------------------------------------------
{\rtf1\adeflang1025\ansi\ansicpg1252\uc1\adeff37\deff0\stshfdbch0\stshfloch0\stshfhich0\stshfbi0\deflang1033\deflangfe1033{\fonttbl{\f0\froman\fcharset0\fprq2{\*\panose 02020603050405020304}Times New Roman{\*\falt Times};}{\f1\fswiss\fcharset0\fprq2{\*\panose 020b0604020202020204}Arial{\*\falt Helvetica};}
{\f2\fmodern\fcharset0\fprq1{\*\panose 02070309020205020404}Courier New;}{\f3\froman\fcharset2\fprq2{\*\panose 05050102010706020507}Symbol;}{\f10\fnil\fcharset2\fprq2{\*\panose 05000000000000000000}Wingdings;}
{\f36\fswiss\fcharset0\fprq2{\*\panose 020b0604030504040204}Tahoma;}{\f37\fswiss\fcharset0\fprq2{\*\panose 020b0604030504040204}Verdana;}{\f38\fswiss\fcharset0\fprq2{\*\panose 020b0603020202020204}Trebuchet MS;}
{\f39\froman\fcharset0\fprq2{\*\panose 02040503050406030204}Cambria;}{\f40\fswiss\fcharset0\fprq2{\*\panose 020f0502020204030204}Calibri;}{\f41\froman\fcharset238\fprq2 Times New Roman CE{\*\falt Times};}
{\f42\froman\fcharset204\fprq2 Times New Roman Cyr{\*\falt Times};}{\f44\froman\fcharset161\fprq2 Times New Roman Greek{\*\falt Times};}{\f45\froman\fcharset162\fprq2 Times New Roman Tur{\*\falt Times};}
---------------------------------------------------
That is just a sample. It goes for pages like this (46 pages for this particular attachment known to be about 4 real pages long).

Here is what I know:
1. I receive mountains of attachments of all kinds and open them normally in whatever system I happen to be using.
2. The friend tonight was using Outlook 2003 or earlier.
3. I asked him to open the file, open another occurrence of Word, select all from the first, copy it, paste it into the second occurrence of Word, save it and send it to me. I opened that one just fine.
4. I tried opening as .DOC, .DOCX, .RTF, text from any file in Word 2010, Word 2003 and Word XP.
5. I tried opening it with WordPad.
6. I get the results above no matter how I open it or what I open it with.

Questions:
1. What is happening?
2. Does the version of Outlook (or other email - I do not know) have anything to do with it. I think the friend tonight was using web mail but not Outlook Anywhere.
3. Does the receiving version of Outlook matter? I say no because I have used 3 different Outlook versions with the same results.
4. Can I repair the file?

Thank you for any assistance you might be able to provide.
... Thinkpads_User



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Question by:John Hurst
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by:John Hurst
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Correction to #2 above. Friend was using Word 2003. He was using Web Mail .  ... Thinkpads_User
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by:austchipmunk
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rtf is format in outlook that been setting by user themselves.

.doc.rtf is something that your friend already add .rtf to .doc but the file extension is hidden.

Can you save it first into your desktop or something and try to open it again or change the file extension maybe...
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by:John Hurst
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>>> rtf is format in outlook that been setting by user themselves.

That appears to answer number one, except that friend 3 above (the last one) sends me attachments frequently without issue. It may be that the originating person did this because the file from friend 3 was forwarded. I thought that setting (plain text, rich text, html) applied to the email but not the attachments.

>>> .doc.rtf is something that your friend already add .rtf to .doc but the file extension is hidden.

I ensure I can see all my extensions. I did change extensions as well, but that did not work.

The question: Can I fix the file? is the most important question because I cannot always control what people might send me.

... Thinkpads_User
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by:austchipmunk
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the question is not how you can fix the file, it is the actually file type that be sent to you...

if the file format ext .rtf.doc, you cannot determine which application can open the file, you must know the file type first before try to open it, you cannot fix something that not spoil...
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by:John Hurst
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As I noted, I tried all the formats (that we know of or suggested here). If there is another format to try, please let me know.

I cannot control sources and in all three cases, the file had to be changed and re-sent. That was done by copying the data into a new file.  ... Thinkpads_User
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by:austchipmunk
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maybe you can ask user, what exactly file type that they send to you if you cannot open directly or maybe you cann attach here so that i can try to open it...
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by:John Hurst
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The file looks precisely like in the first post here - pages of it. No matter how I open it (what type), that is how it looks. ... Thinkpads_User
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by:John Hurst
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I am surprised there has been no follow up here by anyone.

I get the attachment showing up as the sample in the first post. It is some sort of RTF format, but not compatable with anything I have or have had.

I have seen 3 examples of these as noted - 2 to me and 1 to my spouse.

It is true when received in Outlook 2003 / Office 2003, Outlook 2007 / Office 2007 and Outlook 2010 / Office 2010. It is true when received in Windows Live Mail that comes with Windows 7 (as a replacement for Outlook Express that came with XP).

If is true in XP Pro, Vista Business 64-bit and Windows 7 Pro 64-bit.

It is true for four different computers

So it does not appear to be anything I have done.

Am I the only person in all of EE whose has seen this?  .... Thinkpads_User
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by:David Lee
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Hi, thinkpads_user.

Interesting problem.  I've never seen this before.  Do you know how the sender is creating and sending the attachment?  For example, are they creating the file, saving it, then creating a new email and attaching the file or are they creating the document and sending from Word using menu selections from inside Word?  I'm guessing the latter.  If so, could they try the former approach and see what happens?
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by:John Hurst
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I'm not sure overall. In one of the later cases, the sender was forwarding an attachment to me. The sender had opened it and printed it (I saw the printout), but what I got was rubbish (looks like defective RTF).

In this last case, I asked the sender to open and save it and then forward it to me. I received it properly then.

In the first case, the sender created the file and I think by the new method. That as a long while back and they said their computer had a problem, so I left it at that.

... Thinkpads_User
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by:David Lee
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Do all RTF files come in like this or only some?  If only some, are they always from the same sender(s)?
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by:John Hurst
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Broadly no, 3 different senders at three different times spread over a year. Once has left the sender (all 3) I cannot open them no matter what format I try.

It is strange. One incident over a year ago and I had more or less forgotten it. Then two in a row from to different senders to two different mail systems just before my first post here. ...  Thinkpads_User
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by:David Lee
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I'm not surprised that you can't open the files.  I'm assuming that they're damaged or incomplete, so I'd be surprised if you could open them successfully.  The question in my mind is what happened to them that let them in this state?  In my opinion the first order of business is to determine if the problem is at your end or the sender's.  Can the sender open the files from Sent Items?
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by:John Hurst
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One sender could open the attachment from another party without incident. I don't understand why he could open it as a Word document without issue. Then he forwards to me without change and I get rubbish.

I ask the same person to open the attachment and resave it, and re-forward to me. Then I can open it.

... Thinkpads_User
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by:John Hurst
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Hi BlueDevilFan - here is where I am getting confused:

A person sends to a colleage a Word Document. So far as I know, this the is the original document.

My colleague opens the Word Document, prints the Word the document, and attends a meeting that I attend. I see the printout. I ask him to forward it to me. He does. I cannot read the forwarded document.

Why can he read it and I cannot (on any system in any format)?  I don't understand this part.

I ask my colleaque to open the document and save it and then forward it. I can read this new document. I can also read everything my colleague sends me that he creates. No issue.

I also receive a huge number of attachments with no issue.

... Thinkpads_User
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David Lee earned 500 total points
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"Why can he read it and I cannot (on any system in any format)?  I don't understand this part."

The most plausible explanation is that something happened to the attachment when he sent it to you the first time.  The fact that this appears to be an isolated occurrence is evidence that there nothing wrong with Outlook.  Maybe the document was open and being written to at the time he attached it the first time, or maybe something happened on his computer that damaged the attachment.  It's impossible to say and I don't know of any means of determining that.  Clearly the attachment is damaged, which is why you can't read it on any computer.  What damaged it will likely remain a mystery unless this happens again and you can establish a pattern.
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by:John Hurst
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Hello BlueDevilFan - This remains a mystery because it has happened to more than one person sending to me or my spouse. I don't know what is damaging the attachment - there is no rhyme or reason to it.

Nonetheless, E-E is whacking me to close the question. I cannot close my own questions (indeed I have tried).

So the final answer from you is a close as I am going to get, and I will accept it accordingly.  

Thank you for your time and effort
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by:John Hurst
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Thank you very much.  
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by:David Lee
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You're welcome.  Wish I'd had a better answer.  :-(
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