How to Fix Unreadable Content on Microsoft Word

Want to know how you can fix unreadable content on Microsoft Word?

Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing tool for various operating systems. It has been around for decades and has proven its stability and compatibility with various platforms and applications. 

Despite its status, we can’t deny that Microsoft Word is not flawless. Like other software, MS Word is also vulnerable to downtimes and errors. 

If you are reading this, we can assume that you are trying to figure out how you can fix unreadable content on Microsoft Word. When this occurs, you’ll see random characters in your file, which are incomprehensible. 

This is one of the most frustrating problems users can experience on Microsoft Word since it can affect their productivity. 

Depending on the situation, this issue can be due to various reasons. Most of the time, this problem occurs when the file you are trying to access is corrupted or unsupported. However, it can also be due to outdated software and improper configurations. 

Today, we will show you how to fix unreadable content on Microsoft Word. 

Let’s dive right in!

1. Restart Your Computer. 

Before tweaking your configurations, we recommend restarting your computer if you encounter unreadable content on Microsoft Word. This should allow your system to reload its resources and eliminate underlying issues. 

Here’s what you need to do: 

  1. First, press the Windows key on your keyboard to open the Start Menu
  2. After that, access the Power Options tab. 
  3. Lastly, choose Restart and wait for your system to reboot. 
unreadable content on microsoft word

Go back to Microsoft Word afterward to check if the problem is solved. 

2. Update Microsoft Word. 

One of the most common reasons why you can’t access documents is compatibility issues. It is possible that the version of Microsoft Word you are using is not compatible with the document or file you are accessing. 

To rule this out, try updating MS Word: 

  1. First, go to File > Accounts
  2. After that, click on Update Options
  3. Lastly, choose Update Now and follow the prompts. 
unreadable content on microsoft word

Relaunch Word and check if you can now access your file. 

3. Run Microsoft Word As Admin. 

Your system could be restricting Microsoft Word from accessing essential resources, which unreadable content when opening your files. To avoid problems, run Microsoft Word as an admin to give it full access to your system. 

Here’s what you need to do: 

  1. On your desktop, locate Microsoft Word and right-click on it. 
  2. Next, choose the Properties option. 
  3. After that, go to the Compatibility tab and enable the ‘Run this Program as an Administrator’ option. 
  4. Lastly, click OK to save the changes. 
Run As Admin

Try accessing your file again to check if the problem is solved. 

4. Repair Your File.

It is possible that your MS Word file is corrupted, explaining why you can’t read its contents. To fix this, try repairing your file with the built-in repair tool and see if the issue goes away. 

Follow the steps below to repair your file: 

  1. First, launch Microsoft Word on your computer. 
  2. After that, click on File > Open > Browse
  3. Select the file you want to open and click the drop-down arrow next to the Open button. 
  4. Lastly, click on Open and Repair

Once done, try opening your file and see if you can now read its contents. 

5. Disable Add-Ins. 

Add-ins are third-party tools that provide additional features to Microsoft Word. If you are experiencing issues with the app, try turning off your add-ins and see if they cause the issue on your document. 

Here’s how you can manage your add-ins: 

  1. On MS Word, go to the File tab and click on Options
  2. Now, access the Add-Ins tab. 
  3. Finally, turn off all your add-ins or the ones you are not using. 
unreadable content on microsoft word

Re-access your file and see if you can now read its content. 

That ends our guide on how to fix unreadable content on Microsoft Word. If you have questions, please don’t hesitate to leave a comment below, and we’ll do our best to answer them. 

If this guide helped you, please share it. 🙂


  • John Sixto

    John is a staff writer at Saint and comes from a SAP ABAP development background. He has a Bachelors in IT and has been writing since 2018, with over 500 posts published. He loves to build PCs and has a deep curiosity in understanding how different components and configurations work. John spends hundreds of hours at a time, researching and testing the software and apps, before he proceeds to write about it. LinkedIn X (Twitter) Website

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