Help! I created a document in MS Word, but now Word doesn’t “see” it anymore. I can go to My Documents folder and it’s there, but when I try to open it in Word, I can’t seem to find it – or any other word document for that matter. What’s going on?

My guess? It’s a filter problem.

No, not the kind of filter you use for e-mail or to keep your fish tank clean. This is a file filter.

When you select ” Open ” and that little dialog box comes up, check the drop box called ” Files of type ” (toward the bottom). It’s my guess that you have something other than Word documents selected. To remedy the situation, just select ” Word Documents (*.doc) ” from the drop down menu.


You should now see all your Word documents, including the missing file.

OK, so why have all the filter stuff in the first place? Why not just show all the files in a folder?

The primary reason for filters in most programs is so you’re not trying to open unsupported formats. Good thing too, I remember one time when I forced a jpeg to open in Notepad. Whew, not a pretty site. I still shudder when I think about it.

Anyhow, the really cool thing about filters is you can use them to select only the type of file you’re looking for.

For example, let’s say I have 300 files in the My Documents folder and they’re an equal mix of word documents, text files, pictures, and html files. Now, if I know that the file I want to open is a text file, I can set the filter in MS Word (or any other word processor) to show me only text files. Now, instead of searching through 300 files, I only have to search through 75.

See? Filters aren’t just for fish tanks anymore.