DOC created in OpenOffice Encoded

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DOC created in OpenOffice Encoded

Postby EmilyP » Mon Jul 14, 2014 7:38 pm

I created a document in OpenOffice 3 and saved it. My computer then froze so I shut it down. When I tried to open the document it comes up as a bunch of symbols like this ############

I need to find out how I can open this document so I can view the content again. I saved the document multiple times so there must be some way to restore atleast part of the document. I'm not good with technology so please use simple terms when explaining how I can fix this.

Thank you in advance.
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Re: DOC created in OpenOffice Encoded

Postby acknak » Mon Jul 14, 2014 9:07 pm

Welcome to the community forum!

Sorry to say, but I'm afraid the # symbols mean that the document is damaged and can't be opened. The original content is lost. The only fix for it is to switch to a backup copy of the document. Sometimes, people find extra copies of their document but I'm not sure how to go about that exactly. I'm sure someone else can give you some suggestions.

What version of Windows are you using?
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Re: DOC created in OpenOffice Encoded

Postby Hagar Delest » Mon Jul 14, 2014 9:33 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.

If it had been a .odt, you may have been able to recover something but .doc is a binary format, hence the alien characters. Only MS guys might be able to decipher it. That's why open standards like ODF (.odt) were created...

If you want to help fix this problem, you can also do this survey created for this very problem: Document Recovery Survey.
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Re: DOC created in OpenOffice Encoded

Postby John_Ha » Tue Jul 15, 2014 1:09 am

Q1 Was the document a .doc file? or a .odt file? The question is important because Writer handles the two types of files differently. .odt is better than .doc for file recovery purposes.

Q2 Did you have AutoSave switched on? (Tools > Options > Load/Save > General > Set how many minutes between AutoSaves)

Q3 Did you have Always create a backup copy enabled? (Tools > Options > Load/Save > General > Always create a backup copy)

Save options

I think that the "file full of #" or "file full of zeros" means that Writer reserved the space to write the file, but Writer was prevented from writing the file. So all you get is the # or the zeros, and no content can be recovered. In this case, if you want to get back data, you need to try to find and un-delete any temporary files created by Writer.

In fact, a .doc file is a zip file, and it can be unzipped. But, as Hagar says, the file WordDocument inside the .doc is a binary format, so it is difficult to read.

doc file unzipped.png
.doc file unzipped

The contents of WordDocument look like this when opened in a Hex (binary) editor - this is HxD from

hex editor view of word document - note text on right.png
WordDocument from .doc file viewed in HxD - note text on right side

Incidentally,[b] never save your work in .doc files (or any other format apart from .odt). If you are absolutely forced to produce a .doc file, then work in and save your work in .odt, and only create a copy as a .doc file at the very end. Why? Because .odt supports all of Writer's features and other file formats may not. That is why Writer warns you when you try to save in another format.[/b]
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See the Writer Guide, the Writer FAQ, the Writer Tutorials and Writer for students.

Remember: Always save your Writer files as .odt files. - see here for the many reasons why.
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