Entire document has become Pound symbols. Help!

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Entire document has become Pound symbols. Help!

Postby Geno123 » Thu May 07, 2015 6:03 am

I have written a considerable amount of information in my novel since my last save in another program. But when I try and load it up, it prompts me to a "ASCII Filter Options" menu where I can choose "Character set" "default fonts" and "language". I'm not sure if that has to do with anything but I hope it helps to resolve the issue. Anyways, once I pass this prompt, my text document opens with loads of pages of just # signs. I've tried looking it up online but their instructions seem so complicated! Help! Please. I need someone who can talk in regular people's vocabulary and explain to me how to recover it!
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Re: Entire document has become Pound symbols. Help!

Postby Zizi64 » Thu May 07, 2015 6:49 am

I need someone who can talk in regular people's vocabulary and explain to me how to recover it!


Sorry, I think: Nothing to do with this file. (There was many similar topics in this forum.)

For the future:

1. Always make more than one backup of your important document onto more than one media.
2. Alvays make more than one (differently named) "save as" on work phases. (When you checked option "Always make a backup" , the program will save one backup file only with the recent filename. It will rewrite the backup file at every saving procedure.)
3. Never work (never save directly) your inportant files onto a removable (USB) media (make copies your files with a file manager program - after editing).
4. After you made backups, remove the USB media by the the regular procedure. (Wait while the op.sys. will display: "can be safely remove".)
5. Never edit your important document with different versions of different type of Office suites. (The frequent conversion (at every opening and saving) will cause an error...)
6. Always work in native, standardized ODF format.


Otherwise you can make a try (on a COPY of your document): Rename your ODF file to ZIP extension, and mine the content.xml from it. If this procedure will success, you do not need retype all of the text. (but you must format it in a new document again.) And you can found the embedded pictures in the ZIP file too...
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Re: Entire document has become Pound symbols. Help!

Postby Geno123 » Thu May 07, 2015 9:33 pm

I was reading how some people were able to manually extract the file(I think it's content.xml?) Does anyone know how to do that? And what did you do to unzip the file and such?
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Re: Entire document has become Pound symbols. Help!

Postby Zizi64 » Thu May 07, 2015 9:41 pm

The ODF documents are ZIP archives really. (But they are named differently for exact assigning for the Office applications. Just rename them to (yourfilename.zip) and then you can browse inside the file with filemanager softwares (Total Commander, Unreal Commander, etc...).
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Re: Entire document has become Pound symbols. Help!

Postby RoryOF » Thu May 07, 2015 9:51 pm

The content is contained in content.xml, but if the containing archive doesn't open, then there is little/no hope of any useful recovery.
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Re: Entire document has become Pound symbols. Help!

Postby Geno123 » Thu May 07, 2015 11:48 pm

Zizi64 wrote:The ODF documents are ZIP archives really. (But they are named differently for exact assigning for the Office applications. Just rename them to (yourfilename.zip) and then you can browse inside the file with filemanager softwares (Total Commander, Unreal Commander, etc...).


So a program like Winrar wouldn't do it correctly? Do you recommend me trying to download one of those and trying to browse? I've tried with Winrar but it won't let me even open the file(Not sure if you even use Winrar for this)
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Re: Entire document has become Pound symbols. Help!

Postby Zizi64 » Thu May 07, 2015 11:59 pm

I've tried with Winrar but it won't let me even open the file


I never used Winrar, but you can try it on a regular, working (error-free) zip archive. If it works, but you can not unzip your file - then it means: your problematic file is damaged.
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Re: Entire document has become Pound symbols. Help!

Postby Geno123 » Fri May 08, 2015 12:37 am

okay so what should I do step by step to make sure its not recoverable or if it is? Make a copy then change name to namehere.zip, then use what program and click what buttons to attempt to extract that file?
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Re: Entire document has become Pound symbols. Help!

Postby Bill » Fri May 08, 2015 3:33 am

Geno123 wrote:okay so what should I do step by step...

That depends on your operating system. Please add it to your signature. Also confirm that you're using OOo 3.1, which is very old.
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Re: Entire document has become Pound symbols. Help!

Postby Hagar Delest » Thu May 14, 2015 9:34 pm

Sadly, quite nothing to do I fear, see: 22 pages term paper replaced with pound signs.

Check the temporary folder of the system (see in OO Tools>Options>OO>Paths). If there are folders like sgmlf.tmp with a file having the same name inside, make a copy of that file, rename it in .odt and cross your fingers. If you have not rebooted, you might have those files still there.

Do you use the 3.1 version? It's rather old now. What version of Windows?

It often happens when there is a power cut or a crash when saving.
If you want to help fix this problem, you can also do this survey created for this very problem: Document Recovery Survey.
LO 6.4.6 on Xubuntu 20.04 and Windows 10.
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