I often use an ArcMap mxd for reference. Sometimes, these mxds gets corrupted in such a way that all map features are removed from the project. If viewing the table of contents using "list by source", all tabular data is still listed and available for use. This has happened to several projects over the past 10 or so years using various versions of ArcGIS Desktop. It is very frustrating!
Other than backing up my projects, how can I avoid this happening again? Can these projects be repaired?
This certainly is frustrating and has happened to me before too. I often save a copy of the mxd from time to time, mainly to reduce the file size of it (not sure why that works but it does).
This is kind of a cop-out answer but I've nearly been using ArcGIS Pro exclusively for about four years and have not had this issue at all. So maybe upgrading to pro would be one solution.
If anything, it is at least comforting to know that I'm not the only one.
Have you tried using the MXD Doctor software that come with the ArcGIS install package?
Yes, I did try the MXD Doctor. Unfortunately, it did not fix the issue...