Have you ever deleted your saved Word documents by accident? Have you ever lost your important Word files for work out of blue? Have you ever closed the Word program without saving the page you created?
It is expected that many of you have experienced one of the situations above. It could result from your carelessness or system/program not responding suddenly. That was an extremely annoying moment. You must be mad at yourself and wish you could turn back the clock.
You are not able to turn back the clock, but you are able to get back your unsaved/lost/deleted Word documents without a time machine.
Buckle up and let's get started to retrieve your important Word files and other Office files.
- Table of contents
- 1. Can you retrieve a Word document that wasn't saved?
- 2. How to recover an unsaved Word document on Windows?
- 3. How to recover an unsaved Word file on Mac?
- 4. How to recover deleted/lost Word files?
- 5. Conclusion
Can you retrieve a Word document that wasn't saved?
To be straightforward, yes you can in most cases, but nobody can guarantee that unsaved Word files can be recovered completely. Even so, it is worth trying to minimize the loss.
The good news is that operating system creates temporary files when you are creating or completing a task on a computer. These temporary files automatically store and save information as you go along with the software or programs. They are supposed to delete themselves (sometimes they don't) once the task is completed.
Therefore, when you are creating or editing a Word document, the operating system usually saves it into a folder of temporary files. Moreover, the Word program usually has a folder of autosaved files for Word documents recovery too. Thus, even though you close your Microsoft Word without saving the document, you can recover them either from the Temp files or from Word autosaved files. However, if your unsaved Word documents happens before the newest update, you can't recover the document that you just modified. You can recover the document of the last saved version.
It also depends on how soon you take action on recovering unsaved Word documents from the folder of temporary files. As mentioned above, the temporary files will delete themselves for new temporary files. So perform document recovery as soon as you didn't save it before temporary files get deleted. What's more, stop using any software on the computer immediately to avoid creating more temporary files.
Let's move on to how to recover unsaved Word documents on a computer.
How to recover an unsaved Word document on Windows?
When you are using Microsoft Word 2019/2016/2013/2010/2007/2003/office 365, the three most common situations you might find yourself in:
- Accidentally closing the Word document you created without saving it.
- Closing a previously saved Word document but failing to save the latest changes.
- The Microsoft Word suddenly closed out when you were editing the document, resulting losing the file or the content you added.
Many people don't have the habit of saving the Word by clicking Save button or by pressing Ctrl + S constantly. Probably you prefer to save the Word file only when you finish editing the whole content. This is risky especially when you are editing a piece of work of many pages. Once you somehow close the Word without saving it, it is very possible that all the changes you have made to that piece of work will be gone forever.
Therefore, the best way to avoid unsaved Word documents is to save your work constantly. Additionally, you can also minimize the loss by setting up Autosave properly.
Follow the guide below to set up how often the Word autosaves your work:
Step 1: Open Microsoft Word.
Step 2: Go to File > Options > Save.
Step 3: Select both Save AutoRecover information every x minutes box and Keep the last autorecovered version if I close without saving.
If the recovery file is saved every 15 minutes, it means the recovered file won't contain your last 14 minutes of work before power failure or other sudden shutdown problems. You want to feel more secure and you can put small numbers in the minutes box like 5 or 10. However, it will make Word run slower.
But what can you do if you have already closed the Word program without saving the content?
Here are three solutions for you to recover unsaved Word documents on Windows:
Note: The following operations are performed on Word 2016 edition in Windows 10. The steps might be slightly different on other Word editions or Windows versions.
Solution 1: Recover from temporary files (or Temp files)
Microsoft Word has a very helpful feature to store temporary Word documents. Sometimes you can see the temporary unsaved Word documents at left side when you reopen the document, especially after the Word or Windows crashed.
If the temporary unsaved documents don't appear on the left side after you reopen the document, you can recover unsaved Word documents with a few clicks:
Step 1: Open Microsoft Word.
Step 2: Click File and then choose Manage Document.
Step 3: From the top down list, select Recover Unsaved Documents.
Step 4: You will be directed to a folder with a list of your unsaved recoverable Word documents. Right-click the Word file you want to recover and select Open.
Step 5: The selected Word file is now open and a banner appears on the top "RECOVERED UNSAVED FILE This is a recovered file that is temporarily stored on your computer." Click on Save As button to save it.
Solution 2: Recover from AutoRecover files
Another effective way to recover unsaved Word documents is to use the Word's AutoRecover tool. If you are using Microsoft Word 2019/ 2016/2013/ 2010/Office 365, this feature is very handy.
Here is how to locate autosaved files and find the unsaved Word documents:
Step 1: Go to File > Options > Save.
Step 2: Find the AutoRecover file location path. Paste it to File Explorer to open the path.
Step 3: The AutoRecover file names end with .asd extension. Find the unsaved document and copy the .asd file.
Step 4: Go back to Word program, and go to File > Open > Recover Unsaved Documents at the bottom.
Step 5: Paste the .asd file in the File name box and click Open.
Step 6: A banner "RECOVER UNSAVED FILE This is a recovered file that is temporarily stored on your computer." shows up. Click Save As to recover the unsaved Word document.
Solution 3: Search for Word backup files
The third option is to find unsaved Wor documents in Word backup files. Before you try to recover unsaved Word documents on your Windows computer, you have to make sure the Always create backup copy option is on in your Microsoft Word.
If the backup option was not on, you can't recover the unsaved Word files from the backup copies.
To find the backup copies of the file, follow these steps for Word 2016:
Step 1: Go to File > Options > Advanced. Scroll down to Save section and select Always create backup copy.
Step 2: Click Ok to exit the dialog box.
Step 3: Type ".wbk" (The Word backup file names end with .wbk extension.) in the search box and all backup files will be displayed.
Step 4: Double-click it to open in Microsoft Word.
Warning: Before a backup copy is created, you must save your Word document at least once. Each document can only have one backup copy for latest modification. Every time you save the document, the .wbk file will be renamed and updated.
What if you are using Microsoft Word for Mac? keep reading to know how to recover unsaved Word documents on mac.
How to recover an unsaved Word document on Mac?
Microsoft Word for Mac works as well as Microsoft Word for Windows. Mac users also have experienced the same problem of unsaved Word documents.
There are three ways you are able to find your unsaved Word documents on a Mac:
Solution 1: Recover from the Recovered files folder in Trash
Probably most of you didn't notice there was a folder that contained some recovered files in the Trash. It should be the first place you can take a look if you can find the unsaved documents.
It is easy:
Step 1: Open Trash by clicking the icon on the dock.
Step 2: Find the folder Recovered files and open it.
Step 3: Look for the unsaved Word files there and drag them to the desktop. If you can't find the folder or the Word documents in the folder, try next solution.
Solution 2: Recover from the TemporaryItems
Like Windows, Apple Mac operating system created temporary files when running programs. It is worthy checking those files to see if you want to find your unsaved Word files.
In order to find this folder, you have to use Terminal to open it:
Here is how to find autosaved files:
Step 1: Go to Finder > Applications > Utilities > Terminal.
Step 2: In Terminal, type in "open $TMPDIR" and hit Enter.
Step 3: You will be directed to the folder which contains temporary files. Look for a folder labeled "TemporaryItems".
Step 4: Open the folder to see if you can find your unsaved Word documents. Right-click the desired Word file and select Open with Microsoft Word.
Step 5: Click on File and Save As… the Word document to another location.
Solution 3: Recover from the AutoRecovery folder
Like AutoRecover tool in Windows, Microsoft Word for Mac also provides file recovery from the folder of autosaved files.
Follow the steps below to recover unsaved or missing Word documents from AutoRecovery folder:
Step 1: Open Finder, and click on Go at the top menu bar.
Step 2: Choose Go to Folder.
Step 3: Type in "~/Library/Containers/com.microsoft.Word/Data/Library/Preferences/AutoRecovery" and click Go button.
Step 4: You will be directed to AutoRecovery folder and all autosaved documents will be listed in the window with a prefix of "AutoRecovery save of".
Step 5: Select the Word document you want to recover and right-click it to Open with Microsoft Word.
Step 6: Click File and Select Save As… to another location if you like.
Hopefully, the solutions above have walked you through the unsaved Word documents problem either on Windows or Mac.
Let's move on how to recover deleted/lost Word documents that were saved on a computer or on a removable driver such as a USB flash drive, an SD card or an external hard drive.
How to recover deleted/lost Word files?
With regard to the Word documents that were saved but accidentally deleted or lost, check the solutions below to recover them.
Solution 1: Recover deleted/lost Word files without software
Both Windows and Mac have built-in features for deleted or lost files recovery.
1. Deleted or lost files on TRIM-enabled SSD are unrecoverable.
2. Stop editing, transferring or moving any files onto the drive which once contained the deleted or lost documents to avoid data overwriting.
Method 1: Recover deleted files from Recycle Bin or Trash
If you deleted a saved Word document just now on your PC, go to take a look at the Recycle Bin on the desktop:
- Step 1: Right-click the deleted Word document.
- Step 2: Select Restore.
If you deleted a saved Word document on a Mac, check the Trash:
- Step 1: Right-click the deleted Word document.
- Step 2: Select Put Back.
If you can't find the deleted Word files in the Recycle Bin or the Trash, you can recover deleted or lost Word files from backup copies.
Method 2: Recover deleted or lost files from backup copies
Windows provides three backup options called Backup and Restore, File History and Previous Versions. The backup feature on Mac is Time Machine. If you have set up a drive, either a computer internal hard drive or a portable drive, for backing up the copies of your files, you will be able to recover deleted or lost Word documents from the Windows backups or Mac backups.
Solution 2: Recover deleted/lost Word files with free software
If you have gone though all the methods aforementioned but can't get back your deleted or lost Word documents, you can turn to professional data recover software.
Recover deleted/lost Word files with iBoysoft Data Recovery
iBoysoft Data Recovery is one of the free Office documents recovery software for Windows in the market. It specializes in deleted/lost Word file recovery. It is also capable of recovering deleted or lost data from other Micrsoft Office programs including Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, OneNote, Access, Publisher, etc. It is a powerful tool to recover files of various formats: XLSX, PPTX, PUB, DOCX, ONE, DOC, VSDX, ASD, MPP, XLSM, XLS, etc.
Besides documents recovery, iBoysoft Data Recovery is also photo recovery software, video recovery software and email recovery software. As an all-in-one data recovery program, iBoysoft Data Recovery is able to recover various deleted or lost files from USB flash drives or other storage devices like SD memory cards, external hard drives, computer internal hard drives, etc.
Free Office documents recovery software - iBoysoft Data Recovery
- Recover Word files from Word 2019/2016/2013/2010/2007/2003/Office 365
- Recover deleted/lost MS Office files from Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, OneNote, Access, etc.
- Recover files from formatted/corrupted/inaccessible drives
- Support OS: Windows 10/8/7/Vista/XP and Windows Server 2019/2016/2012/2008/2003
Read-only & risk-free
Here is the step-by-step guide about how to use iBoysoft Data Recovery for recovering deleted or lost Word documents:
Step 1: Download, install and launch iBoysoft Data Recovery on your PC.
Step 2: Select the drive or partition where you deleted or lost your data. (Connect the removable drives to the computer if you want to recover data from them.) Click Next to start the scanning process.
Step 3: Preview the file by double-clicking them at the left scanning results menu.
Note: This software provides two scan modes - Quick scan (default) and Deep scan. If you don't see your deleted or lost files after Quick scan, click Back to the home window and check "Deep scan". It will restart the scanning process for more files. If you want to get back deleted/lost documents from an SD card, please check "Deep scan" first before the software scans for them.
Step 4: Select the document you want to recover and click on Recover button.
Hopefully you have recovered the deleted or lost Word files so far successfully.
If you lost the latest content of a Word document, you may find it and recover it from temporary files on a computer or from the Word autosaved files. This article has introduced multiple ways for you to find your unsaved Word documents either on Windows or Mac.
Alternatively, if you accidentally deleted or lost saved Word documents and couldn't find them in Recycle Bin or Trash, recovering them with data recovery software, like iBoysoft Data Recovery, is a reasonable option.
To avoid unsaved Word documents issue, do save the documents constantly when you are editing it. To avoid deleted/lost saved Word documents issue, do remember to back up your files often.