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Formatting lost, symbols appear when you open document

Support for Office 2003 has ended

Microsoft ended support for Office 2003 on April 8, 2014. This change has affected your software updates and security options. Learn what this means for you and how to stay protected.

This article was previously published under Q291180
This article has been archived. It is offered "as is" and will no longer be updated.
When you open a document in Microsoft Word, no formatting is displayed, and square boxes and symbols may be interspersed throughout the document. Also, you may see text that describes the formatting that was stripped out. This text appears at the beginning and end of the document.
This behavior can occur when the Files of type setting is Recover Text from Any File, so that when you open your document, only the text is recovered, not any of its formatting.

To see the Files of type setting, click Open on the File menu.
To prevent only text from being recovered when you open your files, and toopen your documents in the format of Word documents, follow these steps:
  1. On the File menu, click Open.
  2. In the Files of type list, click Word Documents, or click All Files.
The Recover Text from Any File setting will remain until you change it back either to Word Documents or All Files.

For more information, click the following article number to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
290946 How to recover text from any files by using the "Recover Text from Any File" converter of Word 2002 and Word 2003
convert conversion format formatting missing lost gone stripped squares corrupt damaged prb WD2003

Article ID: 291180 - Last Review: 12/06/2015 01:05:35 - Revision: 1.6

Microsoft Word 97 Standard Edition, Microsoft Word 2000 Standard Edition, Microsoft Word 2002 Standard Edition, Microsoft Office Word 2003

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