How to Recover Deleted or Unsaved Word Documents on Mac?

By Vivian | Posted to Howto on July 17th, 2020 |

Like any other text application, Word files can be lost or accidentally deleted from Mac. Losing files after Word crashed? Word documents just disappeared? Whichever situation you've encountered, you can recover deleted Word documents by following methods:

Method 1: Recover unsaved Word docs on a Mac with AutoRecovery

Microsoft Word for Mac includes an AutoRecovery option that can help you recover unsaved Word files. It is automatically turned on by default and save your opened Word files every 10 minutes. This is especially useful if your computer freezes while you are working on a document, or if your computer crashes.

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".

Recover unsaved Word files from autosaved files

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.

Method 2: Recover unsaved word documents from TMP folder

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".

Recover unsaved Word files from temparory files

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.

Method 3: Recover deleted word documents from Trash

Files that you've deleted are often sent to the Trash. The Trash will hold your deleted files until you empty the Trash. So, if you haven't emptied the Trash, you have two options to get data back.

Option 1: Restore deleted word documents with "Undo Move"

If you haven't done any other operation on this Mac, the file deletion can be cancelled.

Step 1: Open Finder.

Step 2: Click Edit from the menu bar.

Step 3: Click Undo Move of "Your file name" from the drop-down menu.

undo deleted

Now, check the location where you deleted the word documents. You will see the file put back.

Option 2: Restore deleted word documents from Trash

If you have already done other operation after deleting word documents, don't worry. You can also restore them from Trash.

Step 1: Open Trash folder.

Step 2: Locate the file you deleted.

Step 3: Right click one word document and select Put Back from the context menu.

put deleted files back

Method 4: Recover deleted word documents with iBoysoft Data Recovery

iBoysoft Data Recovery is one of best Mac data recovery software. It can recover deleted or lost files from emptied Trash, Macintosh HD, external hard drive, USB drive, flash drive, SD card, etc.

Steps to recover deleted word documents with iBoysoft Data Recovery:

Step 1: Download and install iBoysoft Data Recovery for Mac on your Mac.

Step 2: Launch iBoysoft Data Recovery for Mac.

Step 3: Choose the drive or partition where you deleted word documents

Step 4: Click on Scan button to start the scanning process.

Scan for deleted files with iBoysoft Data Recovery for Mac

Step 5: After the scan completes, you can click Preview to see if your deleted word documents are recoverable.

Recover deleted files with iBoysoft Data Recovery for Mac

Step 6: Click Recover to recover those deleted word documents.