Fix: Word Experienced An Error Trying to Open the File

While Microsoft has done a great job maintaining and improving the Office apps, they are not free from errors. One common issue that several users have reported is that the Microsoft Word application on their computers runs into errors and crashes when they attempt to launch certain files. 

There can be a number of reasons why this might be happening. For instance, Word might be preventing you from launching the file because it considers it unsafe, or there might be an issue with the file itself that is causing the Word app to crash. 

Whatever the reason might be in your case, the troubleshooting methods listed below will help you identify the cause and fix the issue in no time. Let’s get started!

1. Disable Protected View Settings

One of the main reasons behind the error at hand is the Protected View option, which prevents files that is considers as unsafe from launching.

The easiest way to fix the issue in this case is by disabling the Protected View settings in Microsoft Word.

Here is how you can proceed:

  1. Launch Word and click on File on the top-left corner.
  2. In the following window, choose Options from the left pane.

    Choose Options from the left pane
  3. Now, choose the Trust Center option and in the right pane, click on the Trust Center Settings button.

    Click on the Trust Center settings
  4. Select Protected view in the next dialog.

    Disable protected view in Word
  5. You should now see a list of options related to Protected View settings. Uncheck all of them, and click OK to save the changes.

You can now try relaunching the word file you were previously trying to launch and check if the issue is resolved.

2. Add Another Trusted Location

The issue might also occur if the file you are trying to launch is located in an untrusted location. If this scenario is applicable, you can add another trusted location in Word (the one where the targeted while is placed) and see if that helps.

Follow these steps to proceed:

  1. Launch Word and click on File in the top-left corner.
  2. In the following window, choose Options.
  3. Click on Trust Center in the left pane and then navigate to Trust Center settings.
  4. Choose Trusted Locations.
  5. Now, click on the Add new location button and enter your desired location in the following dialog.

    Click on the Add new location button
  6. Checkmark the box for Subfolders of this location are also trusted and click OK.

That’s it. You should now be able to open the Word file without any problems.

3. Unblock the File

If you have imported the file from another computer, then Word might block the file to protect your computer from any security risks that the file may expose your system to. In case you are sure that the file is safe, you can unblock it by accessing its properties to begin using it.

Here is how you can do that:

  1. Right-click on the targeted file and choose Properties from the context menu.
  2. In the Properties dialog, head over to the Security section and checkmark the box associated with Unblock.
  3. Finally, click Apply > OK to save the changes.

You can now try to open the file again and check if the steps you just followed work.

4. Repair the Word File

There is also a chance that you are unable to launch the targeted document simply because it is infected with a virus or a corruption error. There can be a number of reasons behind this, and the best course of action in this case would be to repair the Word file. 

There are two primary methods of doing this. You can either use the built-in repair feature in Word, or you can use a third-party tool to get the job done. We have discussed both the methods below, so proceed with the one you prefer.

Here is how you can use the built-in repair feature in Word:

  1. Launch Word and click on File from the ribbon menu.
  2. In the following window, choose Open from the left pane.
  3. Now, navigate to the location of the targeted file, and right-click on the file.
  4. Expand the dropdown for the Open button and choose Open and Repair.

    Open and Repair the Word document

This should repair the Word file and then launch it. However, if you are unable to view the Open and Repair option, you can consider using a third-party utility to fix problems with the affected Word doc.

There are quite a few options online in this regard, such as the iSumsoft Word Refixer. Once the tool is downloaded, launch it and open the problematic Word file in it. The tool should begin the repair process automatically. Depending upon the underlying issue, this process may take a while, so hang in there.

5. Repair Microsoft Office

You can also repair issues with the Word document by using the repair feature offered by Microsoft Office 365. This tool scans all the Office applications for potential issues and fixes any problems that may arise.

The Repair utility offers two kinds of repairs; Quick Repair and Online Repair. The Quick repair can fix the problems without using the internet. If it does not fix the issue, then you can go for an Online repair, which requires internet and is a bit take-taking but effective process.

Here is how to proceed:

  1. Press Win + R together to open a Run dialog.
  2. In the text field of Run, type appwiz.cpl and click Enter. This should launch the Programs section of the Control Panel.
  3. Now, locate Office 365 from the list of options available and right-click on it.
  4. Choose Change from the context menu.

    Change the Microsoft Store application
  5. In the following dialog, choose Quick Repair and hit the Repair button.

    Choose the Quick repair option
  6. Wait for the process to complete and then check if the issue is resolved. If not, proceed with an Online Repair. 

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.