Sometimes, It’s Easier To Recreate The Document Than To Fix The Problem…

So today I get a ticket about a user being unable to open a Word document in a SharePoint library. When I go to investigate, I see there are around ten documents in there, and all but two of them open just fine in Word Web Apps for viewing. The other two documents return the following:


“Word Web App cannot open this document for viewing because of an unexpected error. To view this document, open it in Microsoft Word.”

I could edit both documents in the browser, and I could definitely open both in Word. But for some reason, viewing in the browser was a no-go.

I did some searching, and it seems like all the questions/answers around this problem focused on solutions that assumed that *all* Word documents in the SharePoint environment were behaving in this fashion. But in my case, it’s only a small number in a particular library and site.

I downloaded copies of the documents, and I was able to “fix” one by saving it as Word 97/2003 format, saving it again in Word 2010, and then uploading it. But the other was resisting all attempts to “fix” it. I say “fix” as I really don’t know what made those two documents any different than the others that worked fine. Nothing stood out, and my searching wasn’t turning up any answers.

I finally figured it was OK just to cheat for a solution… I created a blank Word document on my computer, gave it a slightly different name, copied the content from the “broken” document, and then saved/uploaded the new version to the library. Voilà… everything works, and the problem is “solved”.

Part of me feels bad for not finding an actual answer. But when you’re facing a continual flow of projects and questions, sometimes it’s easier (and more efficient) to just take the cheater’s way out.

Oh, but I still need to post it here, as I know by this time next month, I’ll be thinking “I remember seeing that error before, but what did I do to fix it…”

2 responses to “Sometimes, It’s Easier To Recreate The Document Than To Fix The Problem…

  1. I just had this happen today as well. Maybe it was the same group. I’ll do the same thing tomorrow. Thanks Tom.

  2. My pleasure, SPB… 🙂

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