Fix: Microsoft Word XML parsing error

Several users report dealing with the XML Parsing Error whenever they try to open a Microsoft Word document that they previously exported. The issue typically occurs after the user has upgraded to a newer Office version or after if the Word document was previously exported from a different program. The issue is typically occurring on Windows 7 and Windows 9 machines.

Word XML Parsing Error
Word XML Parsing Error

What causes the XML Parsing Error with Microsoft Word?

As you can see from the error message, the error code is general and doesn’t point to a specific problem. Although there isn’t a quick fix-for-all resolution that will make the issue go away, the location is an indicator on where to look to get the issue resolved.

We investigated the issue by looking at various user reports and trying to replicate the issue. As it turns out, there are a couple of culprits that might end up triggering this particular issue:

  • Windows update used for parsing is not installed – This is by far the most common problem. This particular update should b included among the WSUS, but for some reason, Windows Update does not install it on all machines, which produces the XML Parsing Error.
  • An SVG graphic included in document is not parsed correctly – This problem might also occur because of the XMLlite, which returns an out of memory error code unexpectedly during the parsing of an SVG graphic.
  • Encoding errors inside the XML code belonging to the document – Most likely, the XML file contains encoding errors that the Word editor is unable to understand.

If you’re currently struggling to resolve the XML Parsing Error, this article will provide you with a list of verified troubleshooting steps. Below you have a list of methods that other users in a similar situation have used to get the issue resolved.

To ensure the best results, please follow the methods below in order until you find a fix that is effective in taking care of the issue. Let’s begin!

Method 1: Installing the SVG graphics Windows Update

This method is typically reported to be successful on Windows 7 and Windows 8, but we successfully recreated the steps for Windows 10. This issue occurs due to a misstep that WU (Windows Update) takes when installing certain updates.

As it turns out, this particular update (the one that is creating the issue) should be automatically installed by the updating component since it’s included among the WSUS (Windows Server Update Services) approved updates.

Luckily, you can also install the missing update (KB2563227) via an online Microsoft webpage. Here’s a quick guide on how to do this:

  1. Visit this link (here) and scroll down to the Update information section. Next, download the appropriate update according to your Windows version and operating system architecture.
    Downloading the parsing Windows Update
    Downloading the parsing Windows Update
  2. From the next screen, select your language and click the Download button.
    Downloading the KB2563227 update
    Downloading the KB2563227 update
  3. Wait until the download is complete, then open the update executable and follow the on-screen prompts to install it on your system.
  4. Once the update has been installed, reboot your computer. At the next startup, open the same Word document that was previously showing the XML Parsing Error and see if the issue has been fixed.

If you’re still encountering the XML Parsing Error error, continue down with the next method below.

Method 2: Resolving the error via Notepad++ and Winrar or Winzip

If the first method was not successful in resolving the issue, it’s very likely that the XML code accompanying your Word document is not according to XML specification. Most likely, the XML code accompanying the text contains encoding errors.

Luckily, the error window will provide you with additional helpful details that will help us to pinpoint the problem more precisely. To be precise, the Location attribute right under the XML parsing error message will point you to the line and column where the faulty code lies.

You might notice that the Location attribute points towards an .xml file, while you’re trying to open a word file. Wondering why is that? It’s because the .doc file is actually a .zip file that contains a collection of .xml files.

Follow the instructions down below to use Notepad++ and WinRar to resolve the issue and open the Word document without the XML parsing error:

  1. Right-click on the document that is causing the error and change the extension form .doc to .zip. When asked to confirm the extension name change, click Yes to confirm.
    Changing the extension from .doc to .zip

    Note: If you are unable to view the extension of the file, go to the View tab in File Explorer and make sure that the box associated with File name extensions is checked.

    Make sure that File name extensions option is checked
    Make sure that File name extensions option is checked
  2. Not the .DOC or .DOCX file is safely converted into a .ZIP file, you can double-click to open it. You will see a collection of files that you never knew existed before.
    Opening the Word document via Winzip or WinRar
    Opening the Word document via Winzip or WinRar

    Note: If you can’t open the .zip document, download Winzip from this link (here).

  3. Next, let’s take a look at the error message and see which XML document is causing the error. In our case, the document responsible was document.xml. With this in mind, go ahead and extract the XML file outside the ZIP archive so we can begin editing.
  4. You can open the XML file with a lot of text editors, but we recommend Notepad++ because it’s reliable and has a code highlight feature that will make things a lot easier for us. If you don’t have Notepad++ installed on your system, you can download it from this link (here).
    Downloading NotePad++
    Downloading NotePad++
  5. Once Notepad++ is installed on your system, right-click on the XML file that you extracted at step 3 and choose Edit with NotePad++.
    Opening XML file with Notepad++
    Opening XML file with Notepad++
  6. Next, we’ll need to install a plugin called XML Tools in order to view the correct lines and columns. This will help us identify the error a lot more easily. To do this, go to Plugins (using the ribbon at the top) and then go to Plugin Manager > Show Plugin Manager.
    Opening Plugin Manager
    Opening the Plugin Manager
  7. Then, go to the Available tab find the XML Tools plugin from the list, select it and press the Install button. Next, restart NotePad++ to allow the plugin to be enforced.
    Installing XML Tools
    Installing XML Tools plugin
  8. Once XML Tools is installed in Notepad++, go to Plugins > XML Tools and click on Pretty print (XML only – with line breaks).
    Enabling Pretty print (XML only - with line breaks)
    Enabling Pretty print (XML only – with line breaks)
  9. Once the file is formatted, go to the line mentioned in the error while keeping in mind the column. Now, the error can be different on each situation but look for links that are strangely formatted or code & special characters that are not enclosed in a code block. Generally, inconsistencies like these have an exclamation point next to the line.
    Resolving the XML error
    Resolving the XML error
  10. Once the error has been resolved, save the XML file and paste it back int the .ZIP file.
    Pasting the XML file back into the ZIP archive
    Pasting the XML file back into the ZIP archive
  11. Once the XML file is passed back, rename the file back to what it was (.doc or .docx) and open it again. If the error was resolved correctly, you should have no issues opening the document now.

Kevin Arrows

Kevin Arrows is a highly experienced and knowledgeable technology specialist with over a decade of industry experience. He holds a Microsoft Certified Technology Specialist (MCTS) certification and has a deep passion for staying up-to-date on the latest tech developments. Kevin has written extensively on a wide range of tech-related topics, showcasing his expertise and knowledge in areas such as software development, cybersecurity, and cloud computing. His contributions to the tech field have been widely recognized and respected by his peers, and he is highly regarded for his ability to explain complex technical concepts in a clear and concise manner.