How to Recover Unsaved Word Document on Mac


Welcome, Mac users! Have you ever experienced the frustration of accidentally losing all your progress on an important Word document? It could be due to a sudden power outage, an unexpected shutdown, or just a simple mistake like hitting the wrong button. Whatever the reason, losing an unsaved Word document can be a real headache. But don’t worry, we’re here to help! In this article, we’ll provide you with 12 easy steps on how to recover unsaved Word documents on a Mac. So, without further ado, let’s get started!


Step 1: Check for AutoRecovery

When you open a Word document on Mac, it automatically creates a temporary AutoRecovery file. This file is designed to save your work periodically, so if anything goes wrong, you can retrieve your most recent AutoRecovery save. To check for AutoRecovery, go to the “File” menu, select “Open Recent,” and look for the file with the label “AutoRecovery save of…” If you see your missing document, click on it and select “Restore.”

Step 2: Look for the Original Document

If the AutoRecovery file isn’t available, the next step is to check for the original document. Look for the file in your “Documents” folder or any other folder you saved it in. If you can’t find the original file, go to the Trash folder and see if it’s there. If it is, drag it back to your preferred location and open it.

Step 3: Use Time Machine

Mac users have the advantage of having Time Machine, a built-in backup system that automatically saves your work periodically. If you have Time Machine enabled, you can easily recover unsaved Word documents by using it. First, launch Time Machine by clicking on the Time Machine icon in your menu bar or by going to “System Preferences > Time Machine.” Then, use the timeline to search for the missing document and click “Restore.”

Step 4: Check for iCloud Backup

If you have iCloud enabled on your Mac, your missing Word document may be stored there. Open your web browser and go to, sign in with your Apple ID, and click on “iCloud Drive.” Look for the Word document in question and click on it to download it onto your Mac.

Step 5: Try Recent Documents

Word for Mac has a feature called “Recent Documents,” which stores a list of the most recent files you’ve accessed. To see this list, click on the “File” menu and then click on “Open Recent.” Scroll through the list to see if your missing document is there and click on it to open it.

Step 6: Search for the Document Name

If none of the above steps work, you can try searching for the name of your missing document using Spotlight. Click on the magnifying glass icon in the top right corner of your screen, type in the name of the document, and wait for Spotlight to search for it. If it’s found, double-click on it to open it.

Step 7: Use Terminal

Terminal is a command-line interface that allows you to access your Mac’s system files. If you’re comfortable using Terminal, you can try using it to recover unsaved Word documents. Open Terminal and type in the command “cd ~/Library/Containers/” and press enter. This will take you to the AutoRecovery folder where you can search for your missing document. If you find it, copy the file to another location and rename it with the .docx extension.

Step 8: Try Recovery Software

If none of the above steps work, you can try using recovery software designed specifically for Mac. Some popular options include Disk Drill, Data Rescue, and EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard. These software programs use advanced algorithms to scan your Mac for deleted or lost files and recover them for you.

Step 9: Contact Microsoft Support

If you’re still having trouble recovering your unsaved Word document, you can try contacting Microsoft Support for assistance. They may be able to provide you with additional solutions or walk you through the recovery process.

Step 10: Don’t Panic!

Although losing an unsaved Word document can be frustrating, it’s important to remember not to panic. Take a deep breath, stay calm, and follow the steps in this article. There’s a good chance that you’ll be able to recover your missing document with a little bit of effort.

Step 11: Learn from Your Mistake

Once you’ve successfully recovered your unsaved Word document, take some time to reflect on how it happened in the first place. Were you saving frequently enough? Did you have a backup system in place? Learning from your mistakes can help prevent similar situations from occurring in the future.

Step 12: Save and Back Up Your Work

Last but not least, make sure to save frequently and back up your work regularly. This way, even if something unexpected happens, you’ll always have a recent version of your document available.


Recovering unsaved Word documents on a Mac may seem like a daunting task, but with the right steps and a little bit of patience, it’s definitely doable. The steps listed above cover a range of different options, from checking for AutoRecovery to using recovery software to contacting Microsoft Support. By following these steps in order, you’ll increase your chances of recovering your missing document. If one method doesn’t work, move on to the next until you find the solution that works for you.

Tips and Tricks

1. Use a Cloud Service

Storing your Word documents in a cloud service like OneDrive, Dropbox, or Google Drive can help prevent data loss in case of an unexpected event.

2. Set Up AutoSave

Enabling the AutoSave feature in Word for Mac will save your work every few seconds, minimizing the risk of losing progress.

3. Create Multiple Versions

Creating multiple versions of your Word documents can provide an additional layer of protection. You can create a new version every time you make significant changes to your document.

4. Save to External Drives

Saving your Word documents to external hard drives or USB drives can help protect them from physical damage or technical failures.

5. Use Recovery Software Regularly

Regularly using recovery software can help identify and recover lost or deleted files before it’s too late.

6. Keep Your Mac Up to Date

Staying up to date with the latest software updates and security patches can help prevent technical failures and data loss.

7. Back Up Your Data Regularly

Backing up your data regularly to an external drive, cloud service, or other storage system can help ensure it’s always safe and accessible.

8. Avoid Force-Shutdowns

Avoiding force-shutdowns or sudden power outages can reduce the risk of unsaved documents and data loss.

9. Close Programs Properly

Closing programs properly can help prevent technical errors and data loss.

10. Stay Calm and Patient

When faced with a data loss situation, staying calm and patient can help you think clearly and make the right decisions.

And that’s it! By following the steps and tips outlined in this article, you’ll be well-equipped to recover unsaved Word documents on your Mac. Remember to save frequently, back up your data, and stay calm when the unexpected happens. Happy writing!

Advantages and Disadvantages


1. Recovering an unsaved Word document on Mac can save a lot of time and effort, as it can help to retrieve important work that would otherwise be lost.

2. It is a relatively simple process that can be carried out quickly and easily, even by users with limited technical skills.

3. Recovering an unsaved Word document on Mac can help to reduce stress and anxiety, as it can prevent the loss of important and valuable work.

4. It is possible to recover unsaved documents from a range of different locations, including the auto-recovery folder and Time Machine backups.

5. This process can also be used to recover files that have been accidentally deleted or lost due to other system errors or malfunctions.

6. It can improve overall productivity, as it allows users to continue working on important projects without losing any progress or data.

7. Recovering unsaved documents can help to prevent the need to start all over again from scratch, which can be time-consuming and frustrating.

8. It can be especially useful in situations where a user has been working on a long and complex project for an extended period of time, as it can help to prevent the loss of hours or even days of work.

9. This process can also be used to recover files that have been corrupted or damaged due to system issues, allowing users to restore valuable data and resources.

10. Recovering unsaved documents on Mac can also be used as a backup solution for important files and projects, providing an extra layer of protection and security.


1. There is no guarantee that all unsaved Word documents can be recovered, and some files may be lost permanently.

2. Depending on the complexity of the file and the underlying system issues, it may not be possible to fully restore the document to its original state.

3. Recovering unsaved documents may require a significant amount of time and effort, particularly if the files are stored in multiple locations or the system has experienced significant issues.

4. This process may also require the use of third-party software or tools, which can be expensive and may not be readily available to all users.

5. If the document was unsaved due to power failure or other hardware issues, it may not be possible to recover the file due to physical damage to the computer or storage device.

6. In some cases, users may need to modify or update their system settings in order to recover unsaved Word documents, which can be confusing or difficult for some users.

7. Recovering unsaved documents may also require a significant amount of system resources and memory, which can slow down other processes or applications.

8. There is also a risk that attempting to recover unsaved documents may cause further damage or corruption to the file or the underlying system, leading to additional problems and issues.

9. This process may not be available or compatible with all versions of Microsoft Word or Mac operating systems, which can limit its usefulness for some users.

10. Finally, while recovering unsaved documents can be a useful solution for accidental loss or damage, it is always preferable to have a robust backup system in place to prevent data loss in the first place.


1. Why did my Word document get unsaved on Mac?

There can be various reasons for losing your Word document on Mac. It can be due to a sudden power outage, file corruption, system crash, accidental closure, or mistakenly clicking on “Don’t Save” while closing the document.

2. Is it possible to recover an unsaved Word document?

Yes, it is possible to recover an unsaved Word document on Mac. You can use the AutoRecover feature or search for temporary files to retrieve your lost document.

3. How can I recover an unsaved Word document using AutoRecover?

You can open Word on your Mac and click on “File” in the menu bar. Select “Open Recent” and then click on “Recover Unsaved Document.” You will then be able to see all the unsaved documents and can select the one you want to recover.

4. Can I retrieve an unsaved Word document from the Temporary folder?

Yes, you can retrieve an unsaved Word document from the Temporary folder. Open Finder on your Mac and select “Go” from the menu bar. Click on “Go to Folder” and type “/private/var/folders” in the search bar. Find the folder starting with “” and search for your document in the Temporary folder.

5. How do I recover an unsaved Word document on Mac using Time Machine?

You can recover an unsaved Word document on Mac using Time Machine by following these steps:

  1. Connect your Time Machine backup drive to your Mac.
  2. Open Finder on your Mac and select the folder where the lost document was saved.
  3. Click on the Time Machine icon in the menu bar and select “Enter Time Machine.”
  4. Select the backup date and time when the document was saved.
  5. Find the lost Word document and click on “Restore.”

6. What if I can’t find the unsaved Word document in the Temporary folder?

If you can’t find the unsaved Word document in the Temporary folder, you may try searching for it in the Trash or Downloads folder. It’s also a good idea to check with Word’s “Manage Document” feature or try searching for temporary files using Terminal.

7. Is it possible to recover a deleted Word document on Mac?

Yes, it is possible to recover a deleted Word document on Mac using Time Machine backup or third-party data recovery software.

8. What should I do to avoid losing my Word document on Mac?

You can avoid losing your Word document on Mac by regularly saving your work and creating backups. It’s also a good idea to use a power backup device to prevent data loss due to power outages.

9. What are the best data recovery software for Mac?

Some of the best data recovery software for Mac are EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard, Disk Drill, Stellar Data Recovery, and Data Rescue.

10. Can I recover a Word document from a corrupted file on Mac?

Yes, you can recover a Word document from a corrupted file on Mac using data recovery software or trying to repair the file using the built-in repair utility of Microsoft Word.

11. How can I access the backup of my Word document on OneDrive?

You can access the backup of your Word document on OneDrive by logging into your account on the web or using the OneDrive app on your Mac. You can then locate the document in the “Versions” or “Recycle Bin” section and restore it to your computer.

12. Can I recover an unsaved Excel or PowerPoint document using the same process?

Yes, you can recover an unsaved Excel or PowerPoint document using the same process as for Word document recovery.

13. What if I still can’t recover my unsaved Word document on Mac?

If you still can’t recover your unsaved Word document on Mac, you may need to try using a different data recovery software or seek professional help.


In conclusion, losing an unsaved Word document on Mac can be a frustrating experience, especially when you’ve spent a lot of time and effort creating it. However, with the above recovery methods, you don’t have to worry about losing your data permanently. Remember to always save your work regularly, use the AutoRecovery feature, and search for temporary files to recover your unsaved documents. By following these tips, you can avoid losing your valuable data and remain productive.


Thank you for taking the time to read this article on how to recover unsaved Word documents on Mac. We hope that this information has been helpful to you and that you can use it to retrieve any unsaved documents that you may have lost. If you have any other tips or suggestions on how to recover unsaved documents on Mac, please share them with us in the comments section below. Until next time, happy computing!