Cannot Save docx file - "A File Error has Occurred"

This applies to Word 2007.

Ok so I've been working on this document for days. Everything'ss gone ok so far. But I just went to save and it told me "A file error has occurred." It will not let me save in the docx format, however it will let me save as a Word 2003 doc file. Luckily I manually save almost every minute. What is causing this? Can I get it resolved? Docx is preferred here.

 

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Last updated October 14, 2018 Views 137,519 Applies to:
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I also encounter this problem from time to time and it's very frustrating. It has happened to me several times over the last year or so with Word 2010 and always with documents with track changes on. What tends to happen is that I am working on a document that I have been working with for some time (weeks, say). I'll leave my computer for a while - enough time for it to have autosaved - which may be important, and then come back and make some more changes and find that it wont save. Instead it just says "A file error has occurred".

The above answer isn't really a solution.
  • Turning off track changes doesn't allow me to save the document.
  • Track changes are a crucial part of the document, and so removing them is not a solution.
  • Closing Word and opening it in safe mode is not an option either, since all unsaved changes are lost.
I have tried saving under a different filename, but this also doesn't work.

The only solution that has worked for me in the past is as follows:
  1. create a new document based on the same template as the one which wont save,
  2. turn off track changes on both the new and corrupt documents,
  3. copy and paste the entire contents of the corrupt document into the new one, and
  4. turn track changes back on on the new document
  5. save the new document under a new name.

... but just now I had Word crash on me when I tried to save the new document at stage 5. In this case the corrupt file had compatibility mode off and the new one had it on when I first attempted a save so pressed cancel and turned off compatibility mode and then tried to save - at which point Word crashed.

After the crash I reopened the autosaved corrupt version of the document - which is still corrupt, retried the procedure on a new document which had compatibility mode off from the start - and am now in a situation where "A file error has occurred" happens when I try to save the new document too. So, the corruption appears to have got copied across.

I had a  suspicion is that this is a bug related to modification of tables (such as deleting a column or cells - which prompts the "this modification wont be marked as a change" message) in documents with track changes.

Has anyone else been modifying tables when this has happened to them?

I seem to have been able to confirm this suspicion since I was just able to save a copy of the document without error by following the procedure above, except I copied over everything except the table that I had just modified including deleting a row.

So, in summary, here is what I think Microsoft need to investigate: Problem related to modification of tables (and table structure in particular) for documents with track changes on, possibly related to autosaving.

Hope that helps Microsoft and others with the same problem.

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Answer
I've found a solution to this, still not a great one but better than what others have been suggesting.

Word should still be able to autosave, so simply wait until the next autosave, then go to Task Manager - Processes and end winword.exe. This shuts down word in the 'non safe way'. Next time you open word, you will have a list of the autosaved files, and the your ability to save as .docx will be restored.

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