Word 2013 on Windows 8.1 can't open attached Word files.

computerlarry used Ask the Experts™
User has Microsoft Word 2013 running on a Windows 8.1 machine.  Whenever they try and open a file that has been emailed to them, they get an error message from Word.  If they receive a .zip file, they can click on the zip to open it, which then shows a list of the files in the archive.  These files can't be opened by double-clicking.

I looked at Windows Update, but I don't see any Office 2013 updates.

Microsoft Word error message
I have been able to work around this file open error in the following way:
  • User saves file to computer (they are saving in DropBox)
  • User then right-clicks on the saved file, and selects  EDIT
  • The file appears on the screen, and can be viewed and printed.

Could this be a Word problem?  Would upgrading to Office 365  or  Office 2016 help?

Any idea why these attachments can't be opened?

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JohnBusiness Consultant (Owner)
Most Valuable Expert 2012
Expert of the Year 2018
As a first step and possible solution, uninstall Office 2013 completely, restart, reinstall Office , patch fully and test

Please let us know
Andrew LeniartIT Professional | Freelance Journalist | Looking for Opportunities
Distinguished Expert 2018
Clear the contents of the %temp% folder and try again.

That can often resolve issues similar to what you've described.

Did that make any difference?
Top Expert 2013
if it is an access denied problem - try adding "Take ownership" to the context menu - very easy

you can also run the word repair  -or office repair
also - can you open it with notepad ?
IT Support Professional
same as ramin answer :)

  • First, right-click the Word file that you have problems with, and click "Property".
  • Click "Unblock", when done, click"OK". (Note: a properly-working Word file does not have an "Unblock" button displayed).
  • Next, you should be able to open this file without further problems. If you encountered this problem in many of your files, you may try the following steps: first, move these files into the same folder, open Word 2010, and then click "File", and click "Options". (For Word 2007, please click "Office" button, and then click "Word options").
  • Click "Trust Center", and then click "Trust Center Settings".
  • Next, click "Trusted Locations", and click "Add new location".
  • Select the folder where you have just moved your files to; when done, click "OK" and then click "OK" again.

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