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Recover / Repair ODT File

In this article we will discuss about what is an ODT file, the causes that leads to its corruption and the ways to restore ODT file.

Introduction to Open Document Text File (.odt)

ODT (OpenDocument text) file format is a word processing file used mainly by open source word processors like LibreOffice Writer or OpenOffice Writer. These writers use this file format for their default text document file.The .odt file is similar to DOC/DOCX file of Microsoft Word. The ODT document is an open source document which is XML based. As mentioned above, the .odt file extension is compatible with applications such as LibreOffice and OpenOffice.

Added Information on OpenDocument Text File (.odt)

  • ODT is developed by Sun Microsystems and later re-developed by OASIS
  • OpenDocument Text documents are compatible with AbiWord, NeoOffice, and KWord
  • They can be imported in Google Docs and Google's Web-based word processor
  • Microsoft Word open ODT files by installing 2007 Microsoft Office system Service Pack 2 (SP2)
  • File Signature: 50 4B 03 04
  • Application Category: document file
  • MIME Type : application/vnd.oasis.opendocument.text application/x-vnd.oasis.opendocument.text
  • Supported OS: Windows, MAC, Unix

Problems with ODT Files

The following are the errors faced by the users while they are working with OpenDocument Files:

Error #1:"I am looking for a solution to repair ODT file. I've received a .odt (Open Office) file on an email but I cannot open the file. While trying to open the file, I am getting a message that the file may be corrupted or contains unreadable content. I'm currently using Office for Mac 2008 and unable to access the ODT file using this software. Is there anything that I can do to read or restore the content of the corrupted odt file?"

Error #2:"I have been using and I think the ODT file that I created is somehow got corrupt.The file 'file_name.odt' is broken and therefore cannot be accessed. How should I rebuild or repair odt file?"

Error #3: "I have been working on an ODT file for a very long time and it got corrupted. It has been working fine for me for almost a month. But today when I open the file using, I receive an error saying, "The file-name.odt is corrupt and therefore cannot be opened."

On clicking "yes", it displays the message General Error: General Input/ Output Error. On clicking "no", it gives the message: "The file Name.odt could not be repaired and therefore can not be opened." I have tried every possible solution at my end. I tried opening it with other applications, and nothing has helped me to open the odt file. I am using ver 3.1.1 on Microsoft Vista OS.

Why the User Cannot Open/ View File?

Looking at the above user issues, we can deduce the reasons why users face issues accessing the ODT file data :

  • The odt file corrupts due to unexpected power failure, virus attack, etc.
  • The OpenDocument Text file can only be accessed by limited open source applications like, LibreOffice and OpenOffice. It cannot be opened using Microsoft Word.

How to Recover ODT File ?

In this section, we will discuss the methods to fix the issues faced by the users in the above section and repair ODT file:

Solution #1: The user was unable to access OpenDocument text file on Office for MAC 2008. The solution to this problem would be; using OpenOffice for MAC and then access the ODT file using this utility.

Solution #2: The user was having problem in accessing his .odt file as his file was corrupt. The following steps would help to restore or repair ODT file:

  • The user can restore the content from backup, if it exists.
  • Download & install the latest version of, and try to open the file.
  • Insert the odt file. Open a blank document in OpenOffice. Go to "Insert > File" menu and insert the corrupted odt data file.
  • Find the backup. If you have checked or selected the "Always create backups" option in the OpenOffice settings, saves backups of all your files at this location: repair ODT
    Go to that location and check if your file is present there. It will be your same file name with .bak extension. Copy the document to aonther location & open it with OpenOffice utility.
  • Rename it as a .zip file. Change the extension of the document as .zip. Then open the file using WinZip. You will receive multiple files this Zip file. One of them would be "content.xml". Open content.xml file with any text editor, and you will get your document text. Or you delete "styles.xml" document, rename the document back to .odt extension and try accessing the file as normal.
  • Check your Temp directory. In Windows, browse to this folder: repair ODT
    Select the "Date Modified" option to sort the files in this Temp folder. Check for the last working file & perform Steps 4 & 5 respectively.
  • You may also run a search on your computer. Search all the files, & look for a unique word or phrase you are sure is written in your document text.

Solution #3: General input output error in OpenOffice or LibreOffice Calc can be resolved using solution #2.


In this article, we discussed about what is OpenDocument Text file, the problems with ODT file, the causes of ODT file corruption and the methods to repair ODT file. The solutions given are manual and hence these troubleshooting steps might take a lot of time; so it is preferable to use a trusted third-party tool to fix the issues and repair ODT file quickly and efficiently.