How to recover and fix corrupted ODT files

Matthew Adams By: Matthew Adams
4 minute read
fix corrupt oDT file

Home » Fix » How to recover and fix corrupted ODT files

ODT is the file format for OpenOffice and LibreOffice Writer documents. When a ODT document is corrupted, an error message might pop up stating, “The file ‘file.odt’ is corrupt and therefore cannot be opened.” Consequently, users can’t usually open corrupted ODT files by clicking File > Open. Is one of your Writer documents corrupted? If so, check out some of the resolutions below to open or fix corrupted ODT files.

How to solve ODT file corruption issues

  1. Look for a Backup Copy
  2. Update LibreOffice or OpenOffice
  3. Insert the Corrupted File Into a Blank Document
  4. Fix ODT Files With the Repair OpenOffice Writer Document Utility
  5. Repair ODT Documents With Third-Party Software
  6. Convert the ODT to a ZIP File

1. Look for a Backup Copy

First, note that LibreOffice Writer includes an Always create backup copy option. So you might find a backup copy of the corrupted document if the Always create backup copy option is selected. This is how you can open the ODT document backups in Windows.

  • First, open the File Explorer window by clicking its shortcut on the Windows 10 taskbar.
  • LibreOffice users can open their backup folder at this path: C:UsersxxxxxxAppDataRoamingLibreOffice 4userbackup.

  • OpenOffice users can open this path in File Explorer:C:UsersxxxxxxAppDataRoamingOpenOffice4userbackup.
  • That folder might include a .bak file for your corrupted document. Select to open a matching file title from there.
  • If there’s nothing in the backup folder, you can still ensure it includes ODT file backups next time you need them. To do that, open Writer and select Tools > Options.
  • Double-click Load/Save to expand that category of options.
  • Then click General to open the settings shown directly below.

  • Select the Always create a backup copy option.
  • In addition, click the Automatically save the document too check box.
  • Click the OK button on the Options window. Now you’ll have other copies of Writer documents when you can’t open the original ODT files.

2. Update LibreOffice or OpenOffice

The latest LibreOffice or OpenOffice applications might still open only slightly corrupted ODT documents. So check that you’re utilizing the most update LibreOffice or OpenOffice suites. To update the office suite, click Help > Check for updates. The window shown directly below will tell you if there’s a more update suite. If so, press the Download option to get the setup wizard for it.

3. Insert the Corrupted File Into a Blank Document

This is another trick that might open corrupted ODT documents in Writer. Writer includes an Insert menu from which you can select to insert a file in a blank document. Thus, selecting to insert a corrupted file might open it within a blank document. To do that, open a blank document, click Insert > File and select the corrupted ODT file.

4. Fix ODT Files With the Repair OpenOffice Writer Document Utility

To fix a corrupted ODT file, check out the Repair OpenOffice Writer Document utility. That’s a web tool you can open at this page. Press the Choose button to select a ODT file. Then you can press Secure Upload and Repair to fix the ODT.

5. Repair ODT Documents With Third-Party Software

There are a few third-party utilities for fixing corrupted ODT files. OpenOffice Writer Recovery is one of them, and you can try out a demo of that software by clicking Download Now on this webpage. The full version of the software is retailing from $29 on the publisher’s site.

When you’ve opened OpenOffice Writer Recovery, you can fix a ODT in three quick steps. First, click the Browse button to select a file to fix. Then click Recover to initiate the document recovery. Thereafter, select OpenOffice Writer (odt.) File and click Save to choose a path and save the document.

6. Convert the ODT to a ZIP File

This isn’t exactly a fix for a corrupted ODT. However, you might still retrieve the document by converting it to a ZIP. The ZIP archive can include a content.xml file, which retains the document text alongside XML formatting statements. This is how you can open the context.xml file for a ODT file.

  • First, click the File Explorer button on the Windows 10 taskbar.
  • Open the folder that includes your corrupted ODT document.
  • Right-click your corrupted ODT document and select Rename.

  • Replace the ODT file extension at the end of the document title with ZIP, and press the Enter key.
  • Click Yes on the Rename dialog box that opens.

  • If Explorer doesn’t include the file extensions for documents, you’ll need to select the View tab and click Options > Change folder and search options. Click the View tab on the Folder options window, and uncheck the Hide extensions for known file types option.

  • Double-click the newly converted ZIP file for the former ODT document.
  • Press the Extract all button, which opens the window shown directly below.

  • Click Browse to choose a folder path to extract the ZIP to.
  • Press the Extract button.
  • Then open the extracted ZIP folder, which contains a content.xml file.

  • Right-click content.xml and select Open with > Notepad. That will open it in Notepad as shown directly below.

  • The XML includes all the text from the original document along with formatting statements. You can copy and paste the XML into a blank OpenOffice or LibreOffice document by selecting the text and pressing the Ctrl + C and Ctrl + V hotkeys.
  • After pasting the XML file into a blank document, you can delete all the XML statements from it.
  • Click File > Save as to save it as a ODT document.

That’s how you can open and fix corrupted ODT documents. Some of the above tips might also come in handy for recovering corrupted OpenOffice ODB, ODS, ODP and ODG files.


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