Recovering permanently deleted text in Microsoft Word

Making the critical mistake of deleting data from a Microsoft Word document and then saving it is perhaps the worst nightmare for all of us. For all practical purposes we would believe that the data is lost forever. However, as it turns out, Microsoft Word keeps a track of the data even when you have deleted it and saved a new version on top of the old version of the document. Quite sneaky – but you can use this sneakiness to your advantage.

This article will teach you how to retrieve lost data from Word – even when you thought you have deleted it permanently. The discussion will use Microsoft Word 2003 for illustrating the point.

  1. First, run Microsoft Word to get a blank document.
  2. Navigate to Tools -> Options.
  3. In the Options dialog, click on the General tab.
  4. Under the heading General Options, select the check-box right next to Confirm conversion at Open.
  5. Click on OK.

The above action means that you have enabled the file conversion option at opening of a Microsoft Word document – i.e. whenever you open a Word document, you will be prompted to convert a file from a given list of options. This is what you will do next.

  1. Open the file in which you had deleted the text permanently.
  2. You will get a prompt of Convert File containing a list of options. Select the option for Recover Text from Any File, and click OK.
  3. At first, the document that is opened will seem to be entirely junk, with a lot of typographic symbols, strange characters, and the like. However, in their midst, if you scan the document thoroughly, you will find your deleted text. All you have to do is copy this portion of text and then paste it in your original document.

This useful trick might seem a bit involved, but it is invaluable at those times when you desperately thought that all (data) was lost.


  1. Margherita, the example was given for word 2003. Obviously your word is from a later date. In that case when you are in the general options go to advanced in the left section of the page. Then scroll down to the last group of options where you will find ‘confirm conversion …..”
    To be frank that is how far I got , using word 2010 in windows 10, because when I open the document from which I lost the text I get no further prompts of how to proceed…
    Can Someone help?

  2. I lost stome text and tried to recover it by following the instructions but whe I go into Tools then Options then Gener I do not get Confirm coverstion at open. What do I do now

  3. I lost some text today and I keep seeing that if you do this, you can get it back. I tried but when I open the File I don’t get a prompt for File Converter, what do I do?


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