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

Lost your unsaved Word document on Mac? Don’t panic! It’s possible to recover it using a few simple steps. After reading this paragraph, you’ll have a good idea of how to get your document back.

Step by Step Tutorial to Recover Unsaved Word Document on Mac

When you’re in the middle of crafting the perfect document and suddenly your computer crashes or you accidentally close Word without saving, it can feel like all is lost. But fear not, Mac users! There’s still a chance to recover that unsaved Word document. Let’s walk through the steps together.

Step 1: Open Word

Start by opening Microsoft Word on your Mac.

When you open Word after a crash or accidental closure, the program will typically display a panel on the left side with the heading "Document Recovery." If you see your document listed there, simply click to open it.

Step 2: Check for AutoRecovery

Go to "File" in the menu bar, select "Open," and then click "Recent."

AutoRecovery is a lifesaver! It automatically saves a copy of your document every 10 minutes by default. So, if you’ve had AutoRecovery enabled, there’s a good chance your unsaved work is stored there. In the "Recent" section, scroll down to find and click "Recover Unsaved Documents."

Step 3: Use Time Machine

If Step 2 doesn’t work, and you use Time Machine, open it from the Applications folder or System Preferences.

Time Machine is the built-in backup feature of your Mac. If it’s set up, it will back up files every hour. You can use it to go back in time and retrieve a previously saved version of your document.

Step 4: Check Temporary Folder

Open "Finder," hold down the "Option" key, and select "Go" from the menu bar. Then, click "Library" and navigate to the "Containers" folder.

Sometimes, when all else fails, your unsaved document might be lurking in the Temporary folder. This is a bit like the lost and found of your computer—worth checking if you’ve exhausted other options.

After completing these steps, you should be able to breathe a sigh of relief as you recover your unsaved Word document. Remember to save frequently to avoid future scares!

Tips for Recovering Unsaved Word Document on Mac

  • Always check the "Document Recovery" pane when you restart Word after an unexpected shutdown.
  • Make sure AutoRecovery is turned on by going to "Word" > "Preferences" > "Save" and checking the "Save AutoRecover info" box.
  • Regularly back up your Mac with Time Machine or another backup service to prevent data loss.
  • Consider saving your document to a cloud service like OneDrive or Dropbox for an extra layer of security.
  • If you still can’t find your document, search for it using Spotlight or by typing ".docx" or ".doc" in the Finder search bar.

Frequently Asked Questions

How often does AutoRecovery save documents?

AutoRecovery saves a copy of your document every 10 minutes by default, but you can adjust this timing in the Word preferences.

Can I recover a document if I haven’t enabled AutoRecovery?

If you haven’t enabled AutoRecovery, your chances of recovering the document are slimmer, but you can still check the Temporary folder or your Time Machine backups.

What if my document doesn’t appear in the Document Recovery pane?

If your document doesn’t show up in the Document Recovery pane, try looking for it in the "Recover Unsaved Documents" section under "File" > "Open" > "Recent."

Can I use Time Machine to recover a document if I don’t have it set up?

Unfortunately, Time Machine won’t be able to help you recover documents if it hasn’t been set up and backing up your files prior to the loss.

Is it possible to prevent losing unsaved documents in the future?

Absolutely! Frequently saving your document, enabling AutoRecovery, and regularly backing up your Mac with Time Machine or a cloud service are all great ways to prevent the loss of unsaved documents.


  1. Open Word
  2. Check Document Recovery pane
  3. Access Recent under File for AutoRecovery
  4. Use Time Machine if set up
  5. Explore Temporary Folder in Library


We’ve all been there—working tirelessly on a Word document when, out of the blue, something goes wrong, and we’re left staring at a blank screen. The sinking feeling is all too familiar. But as you’ve seen, all hope is not lost. Recovering an unsaved Word document on Mac is often just a matter of knowing where to look. Whether it’s the handy Document Recovery pane, the trusty AutoRecovery feature, the reliable Time Machine, or even the obscure Temporary Folder, your work might just be a few clicks away from being restored.

Having backup systems like Time Machine in place is a game-changer. It’s a bit like insurance for your digital life—a safety net for when things go awry. And let’s not forget the power of saving frequently; it’s the golden rule for anyone who’s ever felt the sting of lost work.

So, take a deep breath, follow the steps outlined, and with a bit of luck and some digital detective work, you’ll be back on track with your document. Remember to keep these tips in mind to avoid future mishaps, and may your words never be lost again.

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