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How to recover an unsaved Word document

Does your doc need a little revive?

Published onMarch 8, 2023

Losing written work can be disheartening, especially if you’ve spent a lot of time on it. While it’s a good habit to continue saving your Word document as you work on it, not everybody remembers to do so. If you’ve found yourself in a situation where you’ve closed your document before saving it or have accidentally deleted it, worry not. There are several ways to recover your Word documents. Let’s go over how to recover an unsaved Word document.


To recover your unsaved Word document, go to File > Info > Manage Document > Recover Unsaved Documents. From there, look for your unsaved document and restore it.


How to recover unsaved Word documents

Upon program startup

If you close Word without having a chance to save your work — for example, if you shut down your computer — AutoRecover (if enabled) will automatically save a copy of your work. In this case, when you next startup the Word program, it will open into the AutoRecovered document and you will have a chance to save it.

recover unsaved file example

Within the File section

Click the File tab at the top of Word.

file tab from word document

From the Home tab, scroll down to the bottom of the page. The Recover unsaved documents button appears at the bottom.

recover unsaved documents button from the home tab in word

How to enable AutoRecover in Word

Go to the File tab in Word.

file tab from word document

From the tabs along the left, click Options.

go to options word

In the subsequent dialog box, go to Save. Under Save documents, use the AutoRecover options to customize the frequency of AutoRecovers and where they’re saved to.

How to recover unsaved Word documents from the temporary files folder

Within Word, go to the File tab at the top.

file tab from word document

From the options along the left, go to Info.

visit the info tab in word

Click the Manage Document dropdown.

click manage document word

Select Recover Unsaved Documents.

recover unsaved documents from manage documents

Select and open the AutoRecovery save of the document you wish to recover.

open autorecovered document

How to recover a deleted Word document

From the Recycle Bin

Click the Recycle Bin icon from your desktop. If it isn’t there, go to the Start menu and look for “Recycle Bin.”

go to recycle bin

Within the Recycle Bin, locate the Word file you deleted. Select it.

click on file you wish to recover

In the pop-out dialog box, click Restore.

restore file

By using the Mac Time Machine

macos time machine backup started

Mac Time Machine, for the uninitiated, uses separate hard drive storage to create regular backups of files that weren’t part of the original MacOS installation. For more information, check out our beginner’s guide to Apple Time Machine.

If you deleted your Word document on a Mac and emptied your trash, it can be difficult to recover it. That said, if you have Time Machine active, you may have a backup of the deleted file. Use the media on your Time Machine backup to restore your deleted Word file.