7 Ways to Recover Unsaved or Deleted Keynote File in 2023

Connie Wisley
July 26, 2023 Preview 27.6K Preview 1
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Keynote, a simple yet beautiful Apple utility that functions as similarly as Microsoft PowerPoint, is designed to create sideshows. It makes your presentation easily understood and more creative. But when creating or editing a Keynote file, there may arise a problem --- we may accidentally delete or leave a Keynote Presentation unsaved on Mac, what to do?

No worries, here we list 7 ways to recover unsaved Keynote presentation or restore accidentally deleted/lost Keynote files easily, also include some tips you need to know about Keynote recovery.


Get to Know the Basics about Keynote AutoSave

1. What is Auto Save?

Auto-Save helps to save files on Mac automatically, it is applicable for all document-based apps, such as iWork Keynote, Pages, Numbers, Preview, TextEdit, etc. It is a part of macOS, instead of a standalone program comes with macOS, also there are quite little information about Auto-Save revealed by Apple.

2. Does Keynote Have AutoSave?

Yes, Keynote AutoSave is ON by default, automatically saving the new versions of your file every 5 minutes.

3. Where does Keynote AutoSave?

You can find autosaved Keynote file by visiting this location:

~/Library/Containers/com.apple.iWork.Keynote/Data/Library/Autosave Information

4. Reasons That Caused Keynote Not Saving

When Keynote app is launched, the AutoSave feature is also enabled by default, but if your Keynote file won’t save on Mac, you can refer to following reasons and find your own solutions to restore AutoSave feature:

  • AutoSave is accidentally turned off. You need to turn it on again.
  • Keynote is not updated to the latest version. Check for update and upgrade to the new edition.
  • macOS is not updated to the latest version and causes compatibility issues. Go to AppStore and install the latest macOS version.
  • Keynote file is locked and prevents from editing. You need to unlock the file first.
  • Keynote file is corrupted. Find the original copy for editing.

5. Can Keynote AutoSave be Turned Off?

Users can choose not to use AutoSave feature by turning it off as following:

  1. Go to Apple Menu > System Preferences.system preferences
  2. Choose “General”, you can check or un-check the box before “Ask to keep changes when closing documents” to turn OFF or turn ON the Auto-Save feature.auto save 02

How to Recover Unsaved Keynote Presentation?

Actually, if you are working with Keynote file on a Mac, it is unlikely that you will leave Keynote unsaved, since the Auto-Save feature is always working behind to save your files every time when there is a change done to the file.

But in case that your Keynote is quit without saving, here are 4 ways to recover the Keynote presentation that wasn’t saved.

#1 Easiest Way to Recover Unsaved or Deleted Keynote File

Ways to restore lost Keynote files are multiple, but the easiest and most efficient way is using an expert to do the job.

While, Cisdem Data Recovery is a good choice. It is a premium program helping users to recover unsaved or deleted iWork Pages, Keynote, Numbers, Microsoft Office files, photos, videos and other files from internal or external device. With advanced scanning engine, Cisdem Data Recovery can smartly dig out the lost files and restore them successfully.

Main Features of Cisdem Data Recovery

  • Support to recover deleted, formatted and lost files
  • Recover photos, audios, videos, document, archive and others
  • Repair videos that are corrupted, damaged, unplayable
  • Recover files from Hard Drive, USB Drive, SD Card, Digital Camera, Mobile Phone, MP3/MP4 Player, iPod, etc
  • Apply both quick and deep scan
  • Fast scanning
  • High recovery rate
  • High compatibility on macOS 14, 13, 12, 11, 10.15, 10.14,10.13, 10.12 or earlier

How to Recover Unsaved or Deleted Keynote Presentations on Mac?

  • Step 1. Free download Cisdem Data Recovery, install and launch it on your Mac.
    Free Download macOS 10.11 or later
  • Step 2. Choose the location.
    Go to Hardware Disk, choose the location where you want to recover unsaved or deleted Keynote files from.recover keynote mac02
  • Step 3. Click on Search for lost files button to locate Keynote files.
    Go to Type > Unsaved Documents folder to look for your unsaved Keynote presentations. If you can’t find the wanted files in this folder or you need to retrieve deleted Keynote, go to Type > Documents > Key, or you can enter keyword to search.recover keynote mac 03
  • Step 4. Preview and recover the unsaved or deleted Keynote document.
    Double click on the Keynote file to preview, select and click on Recover to get it back.recover keynote mac 04

#2 Recover Unsaved Keynote from AutoSave Folder

As we mentioned above, Auto-Save is enabled by default on a Mac to save files automatically. Therefore, we can use Keynote AutoSave to recover unsaved Keynote presentation after crash or for other reasons.

  1. Open Finder.
  2. From the top menu, select “Go” > ”Go to Folder” and enter the Keynote AutoSave location: ~/Library/Containers/com.apple.iWork.Keynote/Data/Library/Autosave Information, then click “Go”.recover keynote autosave
  3. Now find the unsaved Keynote presentations, open with iWork Keynote and save it.

#3 Recover Unsaved Keynote from Temporary Folder

If the Keynote presentation not saved is not available in AutoSave folder, try to locate its temp files in Temporary File folder.

  1. Go to Finder > Applications > Utilities.
  2. Launch Terminal on your Mac.
  3. Input “open $TMPDIR” to Terminal, then press “Enter”.recover keynote from temporary folder 01
  4. Now find the Keynote presentations in the folder, open and save it.recover keynote from temporary folder 02

#4 Find Keynote Files in Library on Mac

The final option to get back unsaved Keynote presentations is searching them in Mac Library. Few people know that macOS system saves copies of unsaved files at times, which might be found through this path:

~/Library/Autosave Information/(hexstring).genstore.index

  1. Press Shift+Command+G.
  2. Input the path mentioned previously into the box > click Go.find keynote in library
  3. From the specific directory, since the Keynote files here won’t have the same names as before, use the recent filter to find them.

Or you can refer to following YouTube video to recover deleted or unsaved Keynote files on Mac.

How to Recover Deleted or Lost Keynote Presentation on Mac?

To recover deleted or lost Keynote presentations, here are 3 ways for your option, you can choose to do the Keynote recovery with or without software.

#1 Recover Deleted Keynote Files from Trash Bin

In fact, when we delete files on Mac, we just move the files to Trash Bin, they are not permanently deleted, we can still recover the files from Trash Bin there.

  • Step 1. Go to Trash Bin.
  • Step 2. Find the deleted Keynote files. To fast find the deleted files, you can click on the icon “change the item arrangement” to put deleted files in your preferred order.recover keynote from trash
  • Step 3. Put back the deleted Keynote files. Right click on the deleted Keynote file and choose “Put Back”.recover keynote from trash02
  • Step 4. Check the recovered Keynote file. Once you have put the Keynote file back, the folder where your deleted Keynote was originally saved will be opened, and you can now work on the Keynote file.

#2 Recover Lost Keynote Files from iCloud

Alternatively, another solution is seeking cloud service for help. In case you have backed up the Keynote documents to iCloud Drive, Keynote recovery can be easily achieved within 30 days after deletion. This is how to retrieve Keynote files from iCloud.

  • Step 1. Log into icloud.com > scroll down to click on Data Recovery to enter it.recover keynote from icloud 01
  • Step 2. Choose Restore Files section to look for and recover your deleted Keynote presentations.recover keynote from icloud 02

#3 Recover Deleted or Lost Keynote Files with Time Machine

Yet, if you have permanently deleted the Keynote file and want to recover deleted or lost Keynote files for free, you can use Mac Time Machine.

As we all know, Time Machine is a Mac utility helping users to back up files from Mac to a hard drive. If you have turned Time Machine ON, you will be able to recover lost or deleted Keynote files from Time Machine backup.

  • Step 1. Go to Finder > Application and launch Time Machine.
  • Step 2. Open the folder where you store the Keynote file. Or you can go to Finder > All My Files, then find the Keynote file by choosing an arrangement type.
  • Step 3. Find the Keynote document to recover. You can use the timeline on the edge of the screen to check Keynote documents backup, then select and press Space Bar to preview.recover keynote via time machine
  • Step 4. Click “Restore” to recover the deleted Keynote file from Time Machine backup.

Extended: Recover Previous Version or Damaged File in Keynote

How to Recover Keynote Previous Version?

In fact, there are 2 great services macOS offers to enhance the convenience on working with documents: Auto-Save and Versions. Auto-Save helps to save any change of a document immediately after a change done to the file; while Versions offers a way to access and compare all previous versions of a document. Basically, on any Mac, the Auto-Save and Versions feature is ON by default.

So, if you want to recover a Keynote previous version, use the Versions feature:

  • Step 1. Open the Keynote presentation.
  • Step 2. Go to File > Revert To > Browse All Versions.revert keynote versions
  • Step 3. Click on the Up and Down icon to choose your preferred version, then click “Restore” to recover Keynote previous version.restore previous keynote

How to Recover Damaged Keynote?

I just finished a 60 slides Keynote, then I tried to open it in my iPhone to practice. The macOS Keynote says "the file is damaged and can't be opened."---Raphshu from Apple Discussion

Yet, there are sometimes we will run into a similar problem, the Keynote file is damaged and cannot be opened. In this case, there are 5 solutions.

Solution 1. Send the Keynote file to a friend that using a different Keynote version, check if the file can be opened, if yes, you’d better switch to a workable Keynote version on your Mac.

Solution 2. Use the backup. You may have backed up the file via Time Machine or iCloud service, use these services to find back you last updated Keynote presentations.

Solution 3. Open the file with Mac Preview, then copy and paste the contents to a new Keynote file. 

Solution 4. Convert Keynote to PDF with online free service. The file will be saved in PDF format and you can open the file with Mac Preview. If necessary, copy and paste the PDF contents to a new Keynote file.

Solution 5. Use a piece of Data Recovery software such as Cisdem Data Recovery, to find and get your Keynote file back.


Speaking of recovering Keynote presentations, no matter it is unsaved, deleted, lost even damaged, we have several possible ways to get it solved. But the best (easiest and most efficient) way is always getting you an expert, let’s say, a Mac Data Recovery Software.

Connie Wisley
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Connie has been writing for Mac productivity and utility apps since 2009. Each review and solution is based on her practical tests, she is aways energetic and trustworthy in this field.

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  • Connor Wilson

    Seems the most complete guide about Keynote presentations recovery so far. I managed to recover my keynotes using Cisdem. Awesome.

    0 months ago Reply

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