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  1. #1
    MS Word 2011 won't open MS Word file, but every other Word app does
    I received an MS Word document from a collegue who uses a PC.

    Tried to open it with MS Word 2011 on a 2017 MacBook Air running El Capitan.
    Word launches but the file does not open - nothing happens.
    Tried opening the file from within MS Word - again nothing.

    The file will open fine in
    Pages, Libre Office, even in Preview (which surprised me), just not in MS Word
    Tried opening the file on a sligtly older Mac Mini - exactly the same - won't open in MS Word but will in all the other apps.

    I'm trying to find out which version of MS Word the document was created in.
    But in the mantime, has anyone else ever seen anything like this where an MS Word document won't open using MS Word?

  2. #2
    MS Word 2011 won't open MS Word file, but every other Word app does
    chscag's Avatar
    Member Since
    Jan 23, 2008
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    Your Mac's Specs
    2017 27" iMac, 10.5" iPad Pro, iPhone 7+, iPhone 8, Numerous iPods, Mojave
    But in the meantime, has anyone else ever seen anything like this where an MS Word document won't open using MS Word?
    No. Unless the file was corrupt or locked, it will open. I routinely open Word files that were created using very old versions of Word going back 20 years.

  3. #3
    Well, I would think that the file can't be corrupt or it would not open with Libre Office, Pages and Preview.
    All those applications have no problem opening the file.

    What should happen if the file is locked and one tries to open it in MS Word?
    Would one not at least get a message that the file is locked?

  4. #4
    MS Word 2011 won't open MS Word file, but every other Word app does
    MacInWin's Avatar
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    Jan 01, 2009
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    MBP 15" Mid 2015, iPhone XS, an iMac, plus ATVs, AWatch, MacMini
    Yes, you *should* get a message about it being locked or open and that you need to make a duplicate in order to edit it. It is possible that it was saved in a newer .docx format than your 2011 version can open? You might try opening it with something that DOES open it and saving it into an older format.
    Jake

  5. #5
    MS Word 2011 won't open MS Word file, but every other Word app does
    IWT's Avatar
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    Yes. You can open it with Pages. Do so. Then either leave at that and read it or whatever.

    Or, having opened it in Pages, File > Export as Word documentand save as .doc or .docx.

    This applies to all the other apps native to Apple.

    Ian
    Ian

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by IWT View Post
    Yes. You can open it with Pages. Do so. Then either leave at that and read it or whatever.

    Or, having opened it in Pages, File > Export as Word documentand save as .doc or .docx.

    This applies to all the other apps native to Apple.

    Ian
    Thanks,

    I have done this before, opening an MS document in the equivalent Apple application and then saving back to the MS type document.

    Trouble when doing that is that the formatting is sometimes partially lost, images don't show in the correct places, fonts may be replaced, that type of thing.
    Here we are editing a book that is supposed to go to the printer and getting the formatting correct is critical.

    I did a bit of googling and found quite a number of other users who are struggling trying to open a PC created/modified 2016 MS Word document using 2011 MS Word for the Mac.
    There are apparently issues if the document is bigger than 150 pages or so (my document has 255 pages), if it has embedded images and/or if there are annotations.

    I just looked at the document opened in Pages and I can see right away that the page number is shifted own a line and at the very left whereas it should be on the previous line at the very right.
    But ironically, when I then take the document I opened in Pages and then export it as a MS Word document with an .docx extension, that exported .docx still does not open in 2011 MS Word.
    Pages shows 1896 changes in the document, maybe that exceeds some limit.

    I suppose Microsoft doesn't offer a trial version of their 2016 Office suite for the Mac to see if that would solve the problem.

  7. #7
    MS Word 2011 won't open MS Word file, but every other Word app does
    MacInWin's Avatar
    Member Since
    Jan 01, 2009
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    Your Mac's Specs
    MBP 15" Mid 2015, iPhone XS, an iMac, plus ATVs, AWatch, MacMini
    Does 2011 Word support .docx? I would have thought not. The .docx is newer than .doc. Can any of the other processors that open it successfully let you save it as .doc?
    Jake

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by MacInWin View Post
    Does 2011 Word support .docx? I would have thought not. The .docx is newer than .doc. Can any of the other processors that open it successfully let you save it as .doc?
    2011 Word certainly supports .docx, I open .docx files all the time.
    The .docx format was introduced in 2007, Word 2011 was released in October 2010

    Th issue I have with this document is a bit more complex.

  9. #9
    MS Word 2011 won't open MS Word file, but every other Word app does
    chscag's Avatar
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    Jan 23, 2008
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    Your Mac's Specs
    2017 27" iMac, 10.5" iPad Pro, iPhone 7+, iPhone 8, Numerous iPods, Mojave
    Does 2011 Word support .docx? I would have thought not.
    Office 2011 Word will open any Word document created from 1995 to the present, and that includes DOCX files. Yes, I have Office Word files going back that far in my archives.

    Which is why I fail to understand why member "krs" is having difficulty with that one file. There's something going on with that file that we are not aware of.

  10. #10
    MS Word 2011 won't open MS Word file, but every other Word app does
    Randy B. Singer's Avatar
    Member Since
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    Quote Originally Posted by krs View Post
    The issue I have with this document is a bit more complex.
    There are all sorts of things that can make a Word file created on one platform (Windows or Macintosh), not work on the other platform. This is why Word includes a Compatibility Wizard (you can find it in the Save As dialog box in the Mac version) and it should be used when creating a file that needs to be openable on both platforms.

    Check a document for compatibility - Word for Mac

    Compatibility Report in Office 2016 for Mac? - Microsoft Community

    News, Tips, and Advice for Technology Professionals - TechRepublic
    Randy B. Singer
    Co-author of The Macintosh Bible (4th, 5th, and 6th editions)
    Mac OS X Routine Maintenance • http://www.macattorney.com/ts.html

  11. #11
    Quote Originally Posted by chscag View Post
    There's something going on with that file that we are not aware of.
    Yes,
    What I find even stranger is that even after I open the file in Pages and then save it back to MS Word, it still won't open in MS Word.
    I would at least expect an error message or maybe the open file with some X's or ?? for some of the diagrams or images.

    I'm going to try to get a hold of the lady who sent me the file to see what version of Word she is using and then do some testing to see if we can pin down what the actual problem is.

    Right now my staff and she are using a pdf version of the document to continue their work.

  12. #12
    MS Word 2011 won't open MS Word file, but every other Word app does
    MacInWin's Avatar
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    Jan 01, 2009
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    Your Mac's Specs
    MBP 15" Mid 2015, iPhone XS, an iMac, plus ATVs, AWatch, MacMini
    Did you see this thread: Can't Open .doc Word files in "MS Word for Mac 2011"

    Don't know if it applies or not.
    Jake

  13. #13
    No, I had not seen that thread.

    But there the problem seems to have been that the word documents that would not open were very old ones created with Word '97
    The document I'm having trouble with is very recent.

  14. #14
    MS Word 2011 won't open MS Word file, but every other Word app does
    Rod Sprague's Avatar
    Member Since
    Jun 12, 2011
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    Have you tried saving it as a Word document in Libre Office then opening it in Word? That “should” preserve your formatting. Pages is not good at that.


    Sent from my iPhone
    I used to be conceited but now I'm perfect.

  15. #15
    Quote Originally Posted by Rod Sprague View Post
    Have you tried saving it as a Word document in Libre Office then opening it in Word? That “should” preserve your formatting. Pages is not good at that.


    Sent from my iPhone
    No, I had not.
    But I just tried it and I end up with the same issue.
    The document when opened with Libre Office and then saved as a .docx file will not open in MS Word 2011.

    However, if I try to open this latest saved document in Pages I get this "very useful" message I included below.
    Thanks Apple for pointing me in the right direction.

    PS: The original document did open in Pages fine (at least I think so, I didn't check all the pages), however I just noticed that the .docx version I exported when the original document was opened in pages is only 830K whereas the original MS Word document is 1.6M, so it seems Pages is missing some of the document.
    The .docx version saved when I opened the document with Libre Office is 1.4M, that sounds much more reasonable.
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