Troubleshoot encoded text files

ShowThe encoded file I opened contains text that isn't readable.

If all the text appears garbled or as question marks, then Microsoft Word may not have accurately detected the encoding standard of text in the file. As a result, Word may have used the wrong encoding (encoding: The byte (or sequence of bytes) representing each character in an HTML or plain text file. Unicode encoding supports all characters in all languages and is readable in at least Microsoft Internet Explorer 4 and at least Netscape Navigator 4.0.) standard.

To have Word use an encoding standard you select:

  1. On the Tools menu, click Options, and then click the General tab.
  2. Select the Confirm conversion at Open check box.
  3. Close and then reopen the encoded file.
  4. In the Convert File dialog box, select Encoded Text.
  5. In the File Conversion dialog box, select Other encoding, and then select the encoding standard you want from the list.

You can preview the text in the Preview area to check whether it makes sense in the encoding standard you selected.

If almost all the text looks the same (for example, all boxes or all dots), the required font may not be installed. You can install additional fonts by running the Microsoft Office Setup program again. On the Advanced Customization screen in the Setup program, expand Office Shared Features, and then expand International Support. Select the font you need, click the arrow next to your selection, and then click Run from My Computer.

ShowWhen I open an encoded file, the File Conversion dialog box doesn't appear.

Microsoft Word can automatically detect the encoding (encoding: The byte (or sequence of bytes) representing each character in an HTML or plain text file. Unicode encoding supports all characters in all languages and is readable in at least Microsoft Internet Explorer 4 and at least Netscape Navigator 4.0.) standard used in a text file. When the file's encoding standard matches the default encoding standard used to save files as plain text in the version of Microsoft Windows you are running, Word opens the file directly.

To make the File Conversion dialog box appear every time you open a file in another format so you can verify or change its encoding standard:

  1. On the Tools menu, click Options, and then click the General tab.
  2. Select the Confirm conversion at Open check box.
  3. Close and then reopen the encoded file.

ShowI lost text when I saved a file as encoded text.

You may have chosen an encoding (encoding: The byte (or sequence of bytes) representing each character in an HTML or plain text file. Unicode encoding supports all characters in all languages and is readable in at least Microsoft Internet Explorer 4 and at least Netscape Navigator 4.0.) standard that doesn't support some characters in your file. Open the original file and resave it using another encoding standard. You can preview the text in the Preview area of the File Conversion dialog box to check whether it makes sense in the encoding standard you select.

The document may contain text formatted in a symbol font. Text formatted in a symbol font is not preserved when you save the file as encoded text. Characters may appear as dots, boxes, or open parentheses.

The document may contain text formatted in field codes. Text formatted in field codes is not preserved when you save the file as encoded text.

ShowChinese or Korean text is displayed incorrectly.

Earlier versions of Microsoft Word were sometimes used in conjunction with third-party language-processing add-in programs designed to support Chinese or Korean on English versions of Microsoft Windows. Use of these add-ins sometimes results in incorrect text display in more recent versions of Word.

However, you can set options to convert these documents so that text is displayed correctly. On the Tools menu, click Options, and then click the General tab. In the English Word 6.0/95 documents list, select Contain Asian text (to have Word interpret the text as Asian code page data, regardless of its font) or Automatically detect Asian text (to have Word attempt to determine which parts of the text are meant to be Asian).

 Note   After successfully opening the file, be sure to reset this option to Open normally; otherwise, correctly stored files may be opened incorrectly.

ShowThe Convert File dialog box appears when I open a file, and I don't know why.

When you open a text file, Microsoft Word attempts to detect the encoding (encoding: The byte (or sequence of bytes) representing each character in an HTML or plain text file. Unicode encoding supports all characters in all languages and is readable in at least Microsoft Internet Explorer 4 and at least Netscape Navigator 4.0.) standard used for text in the file. Word can automatically detect most encoding standards. When the file's encoding standard matches the default encoding standard used to save files as plain text in the version of Microsoft Windows you are running, Word opens the file directly.

If Word cannot detect the encoding standard, or if it detects an encoding standard that doesn't match the default standard used by Windows, you must verify or choose the encoding standard from a list in the File Conversion dialog box. Word then uses the encoding standard you choose to convert the file to Unicode (Unicode: A character encoding standard developed by the Unicode Consortium. By using more than one byte to represent each character, Unicode enables almost all of the written languages in the world to be represented by using a single character set.). You can preview the text to check whether it is readable before you open the file.

ShowI pressed ALT+X and got unexpected results.

When you press ALT+X to switch between a character and its Unicode (Unicode: A character encoding standard developed by the Unicode Consortium. By using more than one byte to represent each character, Unicode enables almost all of the written languages in the world to be represented by using a single character set.) value, and then press ALT+X again to switch back, Microsoft Word works from the insertion point backward to find a valid hexadecimal value. If the hexadecimal value displayed combines with the preceding characters to form a different, but still valid, hexadecimal value, the results may vary from the original character.

You can reverse the results by clicking Undo on the Edit menu or by pressing CTRL+Z. Be sure to undo the action before saving the document.

 
 
Applies to:
Word 2003