Hopefully, this is the right site for this. I am using a 2020 MacBook Pro and Word 2016. I am having issues opening a document sent by a friend. He is able to open it, and this problem does not occur when I try to open files that originated on my computer. When I try to open the document, I get the following error message:

Word experienced an error trying to open the file. Try these suggestions.
* Check the file permissions for the document or drive.
* Make sure there is sufficient free memory and disk space.
* Open the file with the Text Recovery converter.

To resolve this, I tried having my friend paste the contents of the document into a new document, but I also wasn't able to open that file. Here's what I tried regarding the specific suggestions.

Check the file permissions for the document or drive.

I checked and the file is totally accessible, read-write enabled, Word has access to the folder it's in (just the Desktop), etc.

Make sure there is sufficient free memory and disk space.

I just got a new computer and have 1.88 terabytes of space left, so definitely not a problem here.

Open the file with the Text Recovery converter.

In Word, I went to File>Open and selected the document. In the bottom-right corner of the window, I went to the drop-down that said "Open Original" and instead selected "Open Recover Text." The file it produced is blank except for the words "Error serving file." I also tried the "Open Repair" option in the drop-down menu, but that gave the same error as before.

Something else that might be relevant is that the files were sent through Slack, and the Slack preview worked on the document, but the Mac QuickLook preview does not work on the document (it just shows the document icon instead of a preview of the contents).

Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!

  • Have him save it down a version as a .doc file "Word 97 - 2003)" document. Often people use features in Word that don't translate well across platforms. MS has gotten better with this over the years but it still happens Commented Jul 1, 2020 at 21:01
  • In case you need it, the dedicated Word forum is at answers.microsoft.com/en-us/msoffice/forum/… Commented Jul 1, 2020 at 21:27
  • Any funny fonts you don't have? Commented Jul 2, 2020 at 0:04

2 Answers 2


I figured out the issue. The file from my friend was not corrupted, and upon receipt in Slack, it was still not corrupted (which allowed me to use the Slack preview to view it). However, when I downloaded the 165kB file, it only showed up as 19 bytes on my Desktop. The issue is with the Slack download process, not Word, the document, or my computer.


Is it possible that the file is being corrupted on the computer of the individual sending it to you? You could try:

  1. Creating a Word doc, sending it to them, having them edit it, save, and sending it back. See if that opens?
  2. Download a Word doc from the internet and try to open it. You can literally pick anything, just Google anything with filetype:docx. Like trying the first result from this search

If #1 above fails, and #2 above succeeds, the problem is likely not with your computer but the other individual's.

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