Double-clicking a document icon does not open the document in Word

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Article ID: 290974 - View products that this article applies to.
This article was previously published under Q290974

For a Microsoft Word 2000 version of this article, see 211831.

For a Microsoft Word 97 version of this article, see 173820.
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SYMPTOMS

In Windows Explorer, when you double-click the icon for a document any of the following problems may occur:
  • The document is opened in another program (the opened document may be unreadable).
  • Another program is started, and that program returns an error message because it cannot open the document.
  • Double-clicking the icon has no effect (the document is not opened).

CAUSE

The file is not recognized as a valid Word file. This problem may occur in the following cases:

Case 1: The File Name Extension Is Associated with Another Program

If the file name extension is something other than .doc and it is associated with another program, the file is recognized as belonging to that program. For example, if you double-click a Word document named Test.txt, Notepad attempts to open the document, because the .txt extension is associated with Notepad.

Case 2: The File Name Extension Is Unregistered

To check registered file types and extensions, follow these steps:

Windows Vista
  1. Click Start
    Collapse this imageExpand this image
    Start button
    , and then click Search.
  2. Right-click the file that you want to check the default program for, and then do one of the following:
    • Click Open With.
    • Click Open With, and then click Choose Default Program.
Microsoft Windows 2000 and Microsoft Windows Millennium Edition

  1. On the Windows desktop, double-click My Computer.
  2. On the Tools menu, click Folder Options.
  3. Click the File Types tab.
Microsoft Windows 98

  1. On the Windows desktop, double-click My Computer.
  2. On the View menu, click Folder Options.
  3. Click the File Types tab.
Microsoft Windows NT 4.0

  1. On the Windows desktop, double-click My Computer.
  2. On the View menu, click Options.
  3. Click the File Types tab.

Case 3: The File Does Not Have a File Name Extension

This problem is most likely to occur with files created on the Apple Macintosh.

WORKAROUND

To work around this problem, use either of the following methods.

Method 1: Open the Document from Within Word

Microsoft Office Word 2007

  1. Click the Microsoft Office Button, and then click Open.
  2. In the Look in list, click the folder or the drive that contains the file that you want to open.
  3. In the folder list, locate and open the folder that contains the file.
  4. Click the file, and then click Open.

Other versions of Word

  1. On the File menu, click Open.
  2. In the Look in list, select the drive and then open the folder where your document is located.
  3. In the Files of type list, select All Files (*.*).
  4. Select your document, and then click Open.

Method 2: Give the Document a .doc File Name Extension

  1. Right-click Start, and then click Explore on the menu that appears.
    • Windows Vista, Microsoft Windows 2000, and Microsoft Windows Millennium Edition
      1. On the Tools menu, click Folder Options.
      2. Click the View tab.
      3. Click to clear the Hide file extensions for known file types check box.
      4. Click OK.
    • Microsoft Windows 98
      1. On the View menu, click Folder Options.
      2. Click the View tab.
      3. Click to clear the Hide file extensions for known file types check box.
      4. Click OK.
    • Microsoft NT 4.0
      1. On the View menu, click Options.
      2. Click the View tab.
      3. Click to clear the Hide file extensions for known file types check box.
      4. Click OK.
  2. Locate your document. Right-click the document, and then click Rename on the shortcut menu.
  3. If the document does not have a file name extension, add .doc to the end of the file name (for example, rename "Mydoc" to "Mydoc.doc"). Otherwise, change the file name extension to .doc (for example, rename Mydoc.abc to Mydoc.doc).

    NOTE: The icon changes to a Microsoft Word document icon.
  4. Double-click the document icon to open the document.

Properties

Article ID: 290974 - Last Review: March 26, 2007 - Revision: 2.0
APPLIES TO
  • Microsoft Word 2002 Standard Edition
  • Microsoft Office Word 2007
Keywords: 
kbopenfile kbinterop kbpending kbprb KB290974

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