Word experienced an error trying to open the file [Full Fix]

Matthew Adams
by Matthew Adams
Windows & Software Expert
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  • The Word experienced an error trying to open the file error that arises for some users when they try to open Word documents.
  • This troubleshooting guide includes some of the best fixes for this Word issue, so keep reading.
  • To fix other software errors, check out our extensive and easy-to-follow Fix Hub.
  • Don't hesitate to explore our How-To section for more useful guides on a variety of topics.

Some Word users have encountered an error message that states, Word experienced an error trying to open the file.

This error arises for some users when they try to open MS Word document files.

As a consequence, documents don’t open when Word displays this error message:

There are a few confirmed fixes for this issue, and in this guide we will discuss them all.

How can I fix the Word experienced an error to open the file?

1. Unblock your Word file

  1. Right-click the document file that the error arises in.
  2. SelectProperties.
  3. Press the Unblock button on the General tab if you can see it.
  4. Click the OK button to close the window.

2. Disable Word’s Protected View options

  1. Click onWord’s File tab.
  2. Next, click Options on the left of the File tab.
  3. Select the Trust Center tab.
    Trust Center tab word experienced an error trying to open the file
  4. Press the Trust Center Settings button.
  5. Click Protected View to open the options shown directly below.
    Protected View options word experienced an error trying to open the file
  6. Deselect all three of the selected Enable Protected View checkboxes.
  7. Press the OK button to close the Trust Center window.
  8. Click OK to exit Word Options.

3. Add the files to a trusted folder location

  1. Open File Explorer with its Windows key + E hotkey.
  2. Move all the document files the Word experienced an error issue arises for, to an alternative folder.
  3. Open the Word application.
  4. Click the File tab and choose Options.
  5. Press the Trust Center Settings button on the Trust Center tab.
  6. Select the Trusted Locations tab shown directly below.
    Trusted Locations tab word experienced an error trying to open the file
  7. Press the Add new location button.
  8. Click the Browse button.
  9. Select the folder that you moved the Word documents to.
  10. Click the OK option.
  11. Select the Subfolders of this location are also trusted checkbox.
  12. Finally, click OK on the Microsoft Office Trusted Location window.

4. Repair the MS Word document

  1. Open MS Word.
  2. Click Open on Word’s File tab.
  3. Select the Browse option.
  4. Select the Word document the error arises for.
  5. Click the Open button’s small arrow to open the submenu in the shot directly below.
    Open and Repair option word experienced an error trying to open the file
  6. Select the Open and Repair option.

For more details on how to repair MS  Word documents, you can always check out this thorough guide.


5. Open the document with an alternative word processor

The Flip Writer word experienced an error trying to open the file

This resolution is more of a workaround than a fix. However, your MS Word document might open fine with other software that supports its file format.

Lots of word processors support MS Word file formats. So, try opening the file the issue arises with alternative software.

Then you can view and edit the document as required if it opens ok in alternative word processors.


The above resolutions will probably fix the Word experienced an error issue for most users, and if you are included in that group, feel free to share you experience with us.

You can do so by using the comment section below this guide.

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