Workaround for bug in LibreOffice Writer when text is lost after saving and reopening docx files

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Mon, Mar 03, 2014 at 8:35PM

When editing a docx file in the LibreOffice Writer 3/4, it is possible to lose all the text after a hyperlink after saving and reopening the document because they have an outstanding bug in the software.

I figured out how to fix the underlying xml data format and posted my steps on an existing bug report:
https://bugs.freedesktop.org/show_bug.cgi?id=55143

I have replicated my comment here:

I just encountered this serious bug when re-opening a docx document I was working on. All text after the hyperlinks was mysteriously deleted. I noticed that the file size was still very large despite most of the text missing, and then I tried to figure out a way to decode the docx format and recover the data inside the file somehow. I learned that the docx format is just a renamed zip archive in openxml format. After renaming the .docx to be .zip, I was able to open word/document.xml file and see that all the missing text was still there as a plain xml document. I deleted the xml tags related to the hyperlinks, then I zipped the files again and renamed the .zip to .docx. It worked! I was able to restore the hours of lost work. Hope this helps someone fix the bug and prevent losing their work! Perhaps the software is writing an invalid OpenXML syntax or when it reads it back out, it fails to read it correctly.

Make sure you don't save on top of the broken file, or you may permanently lose the ability to recover the information.

Another comment from Doug on the bug report discusses similar info about libreoffice not supporting hyperlinks the same way Word does, but didn't really explain how to fix it to recover your data.

This saved me from losing several hours of work.

I'm not planning on using the docx format anymore until this problem is confirmed fixed.

Hope this helps someone else!


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