How-To Geek

How to Open a Backup File in Word

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By default, Word 2013 does not automatically save backup copies of your documents, but you can easily enable this feature. However, these backup files use the “.wbk” extension. So, how do you open these backup files if you need to access them?

Opening Word backup files is easy. When you open Word without opening a document, the “Recent” list of documents displays on the left and templates you can use as a basis for documents displays on the right.

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At the bottom of the “Recent” list, click the “Open Other Documents” link.

NOTE: If you currently have a blank or existing document open in Word, press “Ctrl +O” (that’s a capital letter “O”, not a zero) to access the “Open” screen or click the “File” tab and then click “Open” in the list of items on the left side of the backstage screen.

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On the “Open” screen, click the place, such as “OneDrive” or “Computer”, where your backup file is located.

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If the folder containing the backup file is available in the “Recent Folders” list, click on it. If not, click the “Browse” button at the bottom of the list.

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NOTE: If you are currently have a blank or existing document open from the same place you selected, a “Current Folders” list displays above “Recent Folders”. You can click the “Current Folder” if your backup file is in the same directory as your currently open document.

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The “Open” dialog box displays. Navigate to the folder containing the backup file you want to open, if necessary. Notice that you only see the original document and not the backup file. The backup file uses the extension “.wbk” and, by default, Word shows only Word documents.

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To show all available documents, select “All Files (*.*)” from the drop-down list to the right of the “File name” edit box.

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Now you should see the “Microsoft Word Backup Document”, or “.wbk” file. Select the file and click “Open”.

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The “.wbk” file opens in Word and you can make any changes you want to it, just like you do in regular Word documents. Click the “File” tab and then “Save As” to save the backup document as a “.docx” file. The “.docx” file type is automatically selected in the drop-down list and the “.docx” extension automatically replaces the “.wbk” extension. Change the “File name” as desired before saving the file.

You can also save the document in the older Word format.

Lori Kaufman is a writer who likes to write geeky how-to articles to help make people's lives easier through the use of technology. She loves watching and reading mysteries and is an avid Doctor Who fan.

  • Published 08/7/15

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