There’s nothing worse than losing a document you were writing and knowing you can’t recover it.
If you frequently work with Word documents, you probably know how painful it can be to lose your work halfway through. Even if auto-save is turned on in the program, sometimes things go wrong and you’re stuck with an empty Word file. Or, sometimes the power might go out, leading to a system crash in Word…
Fortunately, it IS possible to recover an unsaved Word Document.
No matter if you’re using Word 2019, Word 2016, Word 2013, if you’re on Mac, or some other option. In addition, if you accidentally delete a Word document, you can restore the document from the Recycle Bin or with the help of data recovery programs.
Here’s what we’ll cover:
- Can I Restore Unsaved Or Deleted Word Documents?
- How To Turn On AutoRecovery In MS Word To Recover Unsaved Files Every 5 Minutes
- 3 Ways To Recover Unsaved Word Documents On A Mac
- 3 Easy Ways To Recover Unsaved Or Deleted Word Documents On Windows
- How To Recover Text From A Damaged File In MS Word
- 5 Tips To Avoid Losing Important Word Files And Documents
Can I Restore Unsaved Or Deleted Word Documents?
Various reasons why you might need to recover a Word document include:
- Unintentionally deleting documents from your hard disk.
- The application crashes while you are dealing with a document.
- An injury to your hard drive or storage device that causes files to be corrupted or lost.
- Data loss caused by a virus or malware.
The short answer is that regardless if you use Windows or Mac, there are steps you can take to recover your unsaved Word files.
Below, we’ll cover all methods.
But first things first, you should make sure your Auto Recovery is turned on in MS Word.
How To Turn On AutoRecovery In MS Word To Recover Unsaved Files Every 5 Minutes
Microsoft Word for Mac includes an AutoRecovery feature that can assist you in recovering unsaved Word files.
When you install the application, this option is enabled by default, and it saves a copy of open documents every 10 minutes.
Though, if you want to double-check that Auto Recovery is turned on for your Word document, you can do so here:
- Go to File.
- Click Options.
- Click the Save tab icon.
- If unchecked, click AutoRecover info and add a value next to "minutes". For example, if you want to save your work every 5 minutes.
- Click OK to save the changes.
Note: The same exact steps above work on a Windows machine as well.
If you want, you can change this setting to have the app save at a shorter or longer time interval. If the application or your computer crashes while you're working on a Word document, you can restore it to the state it was in before the last automatic save.
Now, let’s take a look at some other ways to recover unsaved Word files. Starting with Mac.
3 Ways To Recover Unsaved Word Documents On A Mac
Even if you have the Auto Recovery option turned on, here’s how you can find the file manually.
Step 1: Launch the Finder application on your Mac.
Step 2: Assign the location to the entire computer.
That will be searched, and in the Search field, type 'AutoRecovery.' A list of files will be displayed to you. It starts with 'AutoRecovery save of' and then the name of the Word document you're attempting to recover.
Step 3: Double-click the file that needs to be recovered. The file will be opened in Microsoft Word as a result of this.
Step 4: Go to the File menu and select Save As. Choose a new name for the document and a location for it to be saved, then click the Save button.
The other option is to recover your deleted MS Word files from the trash bin.
There is no way to automatically recover a lost or deleted file once you have exited Microsoft Word and saved your document.
If you accidentally delete some files or experience data loss as a result of a faulty disc, there are 3 different methods that may allow you to recover your files.
Method #1. Recover deleted Word documents from the Trash Bin
Deleted files from the folder will no longer be visible in that location. They will not be completely removed from your Mac until you empty the Trash.
- Click the Trash folder icon in the lower-left corner of your Mac's screen to open it.
- Right-click on the file name and select “Put Back”. This will return the file to its original location.
Method #2. Recover deleted Word documents with Time Machine
It is recommended to regularly back up the data of your Mac.
You can use your backup to recover lost Word documents as long as it was created before the file was deleted.
You will need to use the backup media and the program, possibly Time Machine, that you use to back up your computer.
Use the following steps to recover a lost Word file from a Time Machine backup.
- Connect the storage device that contains the backup files created by Time Machine to your computer.
- Open a Finder window in the folder that previously stored the lost Word file.
- Launch Time Machine by clicking the Time Machine icon on the menu bar.
- Search through the snapshots and backups with the timeline and arrows to find the Word doc you want to restore.
- Highlight the file you want to recover and click the Restore button. The doc will be restored to its original location.
Method #3. Recover lost Word docs from the Mac temporary folder
If your Mac system crashed or your MS Word program closed unexpectedly, probably the first place you should check is your Mac temporary folder.
- Open Terminal.
- Typecd $TMPDIR
- Type “ls” to display the files. Look in the Temporary Items subfolder for your document.
- Search for the lost file. If you find the Word doc you are looking for, recover it by saving a copy to a new storage location
Method #3. Restore a previous version of a Word file from within the Word app
One way to restore a previous version of your Word file on a Mac from within the app is through OneDrive.
Use these steps to perform the recovery :
- Open the most recent version of the Word file you want to recover.
- In Word go to File > Browse Version History.
- You will see a panel displayed that shows all previously saved versions of the file.
- Select the previous version you wish to recover and choose Restore to complete the process.
Another option to restore your Word doc is through the Auto Recovery method.
If Word crashes you have not saved the file and AutoRecovery is turned on, simply use these steps to recover the file:
- Restart the Word application.
- The app will automatically retrieve and display the saved document.
Now, let’s take a look at how to recover your Word documents if you’re using Windows.
3 Easy Ways To Recover Unsaved Or Deleted Word Documents On Windows
If you’re using Windows, there are also a few different types of recovery troubleshooting you can do to save your documents.
Let’s take a look at a few different methods, using MS Word features, recovering it from the recycle bin, and through OneDrive.
Here’s what you need to know.