How to Recover an Unsaved Word Document on Mac: A Step-by-Step Guide

Have you ever been working on a Word document on your Mac, only to realize you haven’t saved it and it’s now gone? Don’t panic! It’s possible to recover that unsaved document and get back to work without losing all your hard work. In just a few steps, you can find and restore your unsaved Word document on your Mac.

Step by Step Tutorial: Recovering an Unsaved Word Document on Mac

Before we begin, it’s important to note that the steps below will help you recover a document if you have the AutoRecover feature enabled in Word. AutoRecover automatically saves a backup copy of your document at regular intervals.

Step 1: Open Word

Start by opening Microsoft Word on your Mac. This is where you’ll begin the recovery process.

If Word closed unexpectedly or you forgot to save your document, opening Word is the first step to recovering your file. It’s possible that Word will automatically present you with the option to recover unsaved documents when you restart the program.

Step 2: Go to the ‘File’ Menu

Once Word is open, click on ‘File’ in the menu bar at the top of your screen.

The ‘File’ menu contains various options for managing your documents, including the feature to recover unsaved documents.

Step 3: Select ‘Open Recent’

In the ‘File’ menu, choose ‘Open Recent’ to view a list of recent documents.

This list will show documents that you’ve opened or worked on recently, and it may include the unsaved document you’re trying to recover.

Step 4: Scroll to the Bottom and Click ‘Recover Unsaved Documents’

At the bottom of the ‘Open Recent’ list, you’ll find the option ‘Recover Unsaved Documents.’ Click on it.

This option opens a window where Word keeps temporary files, including unsaved documents that were automatically saved by AutoRecover.

Step 5: Choose Your Document

In the window that opens, look for your unsaved document. It will likely have an unusual name, so check the date and time to identify it.

Once you find the document, select it and click on the ‘Open’ button. Word will open the unsaved document, and you can then save it properly to avoid losing it again.

After completing these steps, your unsaved Word document should be open in front of you. Be sure to save it immediately to prevent any further issues.

Tips for Recovering an Unsaved Word Document on Mac

  • Always save your Word documents frequently to avoid losing significant amounts of work.
  • Enable AutoRecover in Word by going to ‘Preferences’ > ‘Save’ and checking the ‘Save AutoRecover info every’ box.
  • Keep Word updated to the latest version to ensure the best performance and access to recovery features.
  • If you can’t find your document using the steps above, try looking in the ‘Trash’ folder on your Mac.
  • Consider using a file recovery program if you’re unable to recover your document through Word.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is AutoRecover?

AutoRecover is a feature in Microsoft Word that automatically saves a backup copy of your document at regular intervals.

This feature is a lifesaver in situations where you may forget to save your work or if Word closes unexpectedly. It allows you to recover documents that have not been manually saved.

How often does AutoRecover save my document?

By default, AutoRecover is set to save every 10 minutes, but you can adjust this interval in Word’s preferences.

The shorter the interval, the less work you’re likely to lose in the event of a program crash or power outage.

Can I recover a document if I didn’t have AutoRecover enabled?

If AutoRecover was not enabled, it’s less likely that you’ll be able to recover an unsaved document, but not impossible. You can still check the ‘Recover Unsaved Documents’ folder or use a file recovery tool.

What if I can’t find my document in the ‘Recover Unsaved Documents’ folder?

If your document isn’t in the folder, check the ‘Trash’ on your Mac. Sometimes files that were deleted or lost can be found there. If it’s not there, a file recovery program may be your last resort.

Can I prevent losing documents in the future?

To prevent losing documents, save your work frequently, enable AutoRecover, and consider setting up a cloud backup system like OneDrive or Dropbox to automatically save and backup your files.


  1. Open Word.
  2. Go to ‘File’ menu.
  3. Select ‘Open Recent’.
  4. Click ‘Recover Unsaved Documents’.
  5. Choose your document and open it.


Losing an unsaved Word document on your Mac can be a nerve-wracking experience, but it doesn’t have to be the end of the world. By following the steps outlined in this article, you can recover your unsaved Word document and get back to work with minimal disruption. Remember, the key to avoiding this situation in the future is to save your work frequently and enable AutoRecover in Word’s settings. Don’t let a lost document derail your productivity—take control of your files and ensure you’re prepared for any mishaps that come your way. Keep calm, recover your work, and carry on!

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