Mac Word Recovery 2023: How to Recover Unsaved, Lost, Deleted Word Document on Mac

Rosa Reyes
time January 09, 2023 Preview 56.3K
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When working with files on a Mac, nothing can be as disastrous as leaving a Word document unsaved or deleting Word documents by mistake, especially after several hours’ even days’ work on it. Though Microsoft Office 365 for 2022, MS Word 2021, 2019, 2016 and 2011 Mac versions offers AutoRecover feature to restore an unsaved Word document that was not saved on a Mac, the AutoRecovery may not be activated or won't recover sometimes. Is there any possibility to recover unsaved Microsoft Word documents on Mac without AutoRecovery?

Yes, there are. In this article, we will introduce all the fixes on Mac word document recovery, no matter you want to recover unsaved Word document on Mac with or without AutoRecovery, or restore lost even retrieve a previous version of Word document on mac in Microsoft Office 2016 , 2019, 2021 or Office 365 for 2022.

Basic: How to Recover Unsaved Word Document on Mac with AutoRecover

AutoRecover is a feature of Microsoft Word series helping users to save the files automatically when working (editing or modifying) on a Word document. By default, Microsoft Word automatically saves the files every 10 minutes. Here, we need to make sure if the AutoRecover is ON.

How to Check if AutoRecover is Enabled?

  1. Open Word for Mac.
  2. Go to Word menu>AutoSave and check if it is ON or OFF. If it is OFF, turn it ON.word autorecover

Where to find AutoRecover Files in Word for Mac?

For Office Word 2016/2019/2021/Office 365

/Users//Library/Containers/com.microsoft.Word/Data/Library/Preferences/AutoRecovery

For Office Word 2011:

/Users//Library/Application Support/Microsoft/Office/Office 2011 AutoRecovery

How to Recover Unsaved Word Document on Mac with AutoRecover?

  1. Go to Finder, find the unsaved files in the above-mentioned AutoRecover location.
    Or Go to Finder>Go to Folder, input the AutoRecover location to find the files.autosave location
  2. Open the AutoRecover word document with Office Word on Mac, then save the file.

Alternatively, You Can Open a Word Document to Recover Unsaved Word on Mac

If you have turned the AutoRecover feature ON, there is an extra simple but easily over-looked method to recover the word document that wasn’t saved due to force quit or power off on mac---to open a Word document.

Situation 1: The unsaved word document is caused by force quit, program or system crash, but the Mac is not powered off.

Solution 1: Open any one of your word documents, then the Office Word will be launched, and all the previously opened Word documents will be opened. Find the Word document, go to File>Save.

Situation 2: The unsaved word document is caused by sudden power off.

Solution 2: Restart your Mac immediately, once you see the desktop, you will find all the word documents left unsaved are opened. Then, go to File>Save and make your word documents saved. 

Advanced: How to Recover Unsaved Word Document on Mac without AutoRecover

If you haven’t enabled AutoRecover, or you have tried AutoRecover but it didn’t work, you can use dedicated Mac Word data recovery software, or launch Terminal on Mac to restore unsaved Word document on Mac after crash from Temporary Folder.

Way #1. Best Way to Recover Unsaved (Deleted) Word Document on Mac without AutoRecovery

There may be multiple ways to recover word document on mac, but the best way to do a Word recovery with high success rate is using a professional data recovery software. To make things easier, here I will recommend you the best word document recovery tool for Mac– Cisdem Data Recovery

The Data Recovery for Mac is designed to safely get all your deleted, lost, formatted even unsaved word documents and other files like photos, videos, audios, archives back from your Mac hard drive and other storage devices.

  • Deal with different data loss situations: deletion, formatting, system crash, virus attack, etc.
  • Repair corrupted videos in virtually all formats
  • Support all kinds of internal or external storage devices
  • Recover more than 200 types of files
  • Preview files before recovery
  • Filter files to find lost document quickly
  • Recover files to local drive or Cloud
  • Recover files in a high success rate
  • Compatible on macOS Monterey and eariler, M1 support

Follow these steps to recover unsaved word document on Mac.

  1. Free download the Cisdem Data Recovery below.
    Free Download
  2. Open the word document recovery tool and go to Disk Data Recovery, choose the hard drive where you lost the Word document.recover word mac cisdem
  3. Click on Search for lost files button, you can use the filter to find your files during or after the scanning. Go to Unsaved Documents folder to restore your unsaved Word files, or go to Documents>Doc or Docx folder to locate an unsaved/deleted Word document.recover word cisdem 01
  4. Recover word documents on Mac.
    Select the word documents you want to recover, hit "Recover" button to recover the word document to your mac or Cloud.recover word cisdem 02

YouTube Tutorial Video to Recover Word Document on Mac

Way #2. Recover Unsaved Word Document on Mac Using Terminal

  1. Open Terminal by going to Finder>Application>Terminal.open terminal
  2. Enter “open $TMPDIR” in the window and press “Enter”.
  3. Open the “Temporaryitems”.
  4. Open the ~Word Word files with TextEdit application, then copy and paste the text to Office Word.

YouTube Video Tutorial to Recover Unsaved Word Document on Mac

In this video, you will learn how to recover an unsaved word document on mac using AutoRecover and Temporary folder.

How to Recover Lost or Deleted Word Document on Mac 

There are some times we just lost or accidentally deleted a Word document, here we recommend 2 ways to recover lost or deleted word documents on mac.

Way #1. Recover Lost or Deleted Word Documents in Mac Trash

When the word document is lost or deleted, the first thing you should do is to check the Trash bin. Since, all the removed items are transferred to Trash Bin by default on mac.Here are the steps to recover from Mac Trash.

  1. Go to Trash Bin.
  2. Click on the “change the item arrangement” to fast find the deleted Word document by “Added Date” or “Kind”.
  3. Right click on the Word file, choose “Put Back”, then the word document will appear in the popped folder.mac find trash

Way #2. Recover Lost or Deleted Word Document on Mac from Backup.

In fact, if you have a good habit to back up files via online storage services, that would be much easier to get the lost or deleted word document back. Though there are many online storage services, such as Microsoft OneDrive, Google Drive, iCloud, Dropbox, the steps to recover Word documents from these backups are quite easy and similar. And much probably, you may have backed your Word document in OneDrive or iCloud, here we take these 2 tools to demonstrate how to do the online Word recovery.

Via One Drive

  1. Go to OneDrive website, login into your Microsoft account.
  2. Go to My Files in the navigation pane, find Word documents that you lost or deleted on your Mac.
  3. Download and save the copy to your Mac.
  4. (Optional) If you cannot find the Word document in My Files folder, go to Recycle bin, select the deleted Word docs and click Restore.recover from onedrive

Via iCloud

  1. Go to iCloud website or app, login into your iCloud account.

  2. Find and click on the Word file you want to restore to your Mac and click the Download icon to move it.

  3. (Optional) If you cannot find the deleted Word document, go to Settings>Advanced>Restore Files, choose Word document you want to recover, then click “Restore File” to recover.icloud restore

How to Recover Previous Version of Word Document on Mac (Office 2016 & 2019 & 2021 & 365 for 2022)

We all know that Mac Preview builds in the feature allowing users to revert to previous versions, but unfortunately, Office Word on Mac is not able to do so.

According to Microsoft Office, “Version history in Office only works for files stored in OneDrive or SharePoint Online”. So, Office itself doesn’t help to recover previous version of Word document on Mac 2016/2019/2021/Office 365 in 2022, but we still have some trick to restore a previous version of a word document on mac.

#1. Manually Find the Previous Version  

If the Word document is not created by you, go ask for the original word document from the sender;

If you are the one created the Word document, it is much likely that the current Word document has went through different versions, so track down to see if you have sent out previous version before via emails/iCloud, or deleted in Trash Bin, if yes, get them back and rename it.

#2. Use Time Machine on Mac

If you have turned the Time Machine ON, your Word documents will be well backed up and you are able to get a previous version of your Word document.

Steps to Recover Previous Version of Word Document on Mac

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

Final words

Mac Word AutoRecover offers the easiest solution to restore unsaved Word document, but if you still cannot get the Word documents back with AutoRecovery, using Cisdem, it can find and restore unsaved, deleted, lost documents fast.

Free Download

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Rosa Reyes
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Rosa has worked in Mac software industry for more than eight years. She believes that the purpose of software is to make life better and work more productively. In addition to writing, Rosa is also an avid runner.

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Comments (3) Leave a Reply

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  • Ashlin Brown

    AutoRecover didn't work. Still I have no backups. Any other possible solutions to recover my deleted word document without the need of third-party tool? Please help.

    0 months ago Reply

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  • Nick Bruce

    So far, the fullest guide to recover a word document, I managed to recover the docx file in my icloud backup. Thanks.

    3 years ago Reply

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  • Shawn Thomas

    Awesome. This really helped me and I appreciate your work. Happy New Year 2018!

    5 years ago Reply

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