7 Ways to Recover Unsaved or Deleted Keynote File in 2024

Connie Wisley
February 02, 2024 Preview 30.7K Preview 1
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Keynote has been around since 2003, which is designed to create professional and stylish sideshows. It has its own set of templates and there are a lot of Keynote users today. But when creating or editing a Keynote file, there may arise common issues like leaving a Keynote presentation unsaved or accidentally deleting a Keynote file, what to do?

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

Does Keynote Automatically Save?

Yes, it does.

Though Keynote doesn’t have a AutoSave feature in the app’s general settings, a Mac itself comes with Auto-Save feature that can change the way how you work with your documents on Mac. It saves files on Mac automatically, and applicable for all document-based apps, such as iWork Keynote, Pages, Numbers, Preview, TextEdit, etc. That’s to say, Mac can automatically saves your file in Keynote, Pages, etc, without manually saving it. Basing on this knowledge, we will be able to recover an unsaved Keynote by just waiting for the app to automatically open it.

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

Where is The Keynote AutoSave Location?

You can find autosaved Keynote file by visiting this location:
~/Library/Containers/com.apple.iWork.Keynote/Data/Library/Autosave Information

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 Wait Keynote to Open and Recover Automatically

I just did several tests and found that every time I left a newly created Keynote file unsaved after sudden power off or app crash, the Keynote will automatically open the unsaved presentation and let you save it manually. You just need to wait, and you don’t need to do anything.

  1. In the case a Keynote file is left unsaved after power off, restart your Mac and wait Keynote app to automatically launch;
    In the case a Keynote file is left unsaved after app crash, re-launch Keynote and it will open the unsaved file.open keynote 01
  2. Go to File > Save, rename and save the unsaved presentation on your Mac.open keynote 02

#2 Easiest Way to Recover Unsaved or Deleted Keynote File

If Keynote won’t reopen the unsaved file as mentioned above, we will other solutions for the unsaved Keynote recovery. 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, even from iCloud. 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 unsaved, deleted, formatted and lost files
  • Recover photos, audios, videos, documents, 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
  • Restore files from iCloud
  • 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?

  1. Free download Cisdem Data Recovery, install and launch it on your Mac.
    Free Download macOS 10.9 or later
  2. Choose the location.
    Go to Hardware Disk, choose the location where you want to recover unsaved or deleted Keynote files from. You can also recover from iCloud if you have a backup. Then click Search for lost files to start the scanning.recover keynote cisdem 01
  3. Find or search the unsaved and deleted 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 cisdem 02
  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 cisdem 03

#3 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.

#4 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.recover keynote temp01
  3. Input "open $TMPDIR" to Terminal, then press "Enter".recover keynote temp 02
  4. Now find the Keynote presentations in the folder, open and save it.recover keynote from temporary folder 02

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

How to Recover Deleted 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. 

Notes: If you want a quick and successful way to recover both recently or permanently deleted Keynote files, Cisdem does the job perfectly for you.

#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.

  1. Go to Trash Bin.
  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 trash 01
  3. Put back the deleted Keynote files. Right click on the deleted Keynote file and choose "Put Back".recover keynote trash 02
  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 that you have backed up the Keynote documents to iCloud Drive. This is how to retrieve Keynote files from iCloud.

  1. Log into icloud.com, go to Keynote.recover keynote icloud 01
  2. Select the Keynote backup file and click the 3-dot icon to download a copy to your Mac.recover keynote icloud 02
  3. If you cannot find the Keynote file, go to Recently Deleted and click 3-dot > Recover to restore the deleted Keynote presentation.recover keynote icloud 03

#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.

  1. Go to Finder > Application and launch Time Machine.
  2. Open the folder where you store the Keynote file. 
  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 time machine
  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:

  1. Open the Keynote presentation.
  2. Go to File > Revert To > Browse All Versions.revert keynote versions
  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?

Yet, there are sometimes your 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. 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, Cisdem Data Recovery for Mac.

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.

    1 years ago commonReply

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