How to recover an unsaved Word document on a Mac?

We know how disappointing it is to have been printing the report for half a day and press ‘no’ when the computer asks whether or not to save the document. Well, the thing isn’t as black as it appears. There is still a possibility to restore the document, save your time and spare your nerves.

How to recover an unsaved file?

Here is a quick guide on how to restore an unsaved Word document on macOS.

Method 1:

  1. Go to the Documents folder.
  2. Open Microsoft User Data.
  3. Find the file starting with the words: “AutoRecovery save of”. Then, choose the document you wish to restore, and create the new name of this file.
  4. Do not forget to add .doc to the extension of the name of the file.
  5. Double click on your file. Word should open.
  6. Go to the File menu and select Save As
  7. Enter the file name into the relevant field, and after that click on the Save option.

Method 2:

  1. Open Applications, then go to Utilities and click Terminal.
  2. Then type in the following command: open $TMPDIR. Press Enter.
  3. After that, your TMP folder should open.
  4. Open the folder with the name: “Temporary items”.
  5. Your lost document is likely to be here!


You can change the settings on how often the backup copies of documents are saved. For that, find Word, select Preferences, click on Save and type in how frequently you want Word to save the file in the Save AutoRecover box.

autosave word

If you delete a Microsoft Word document from your computer, it cannot be restored using the automatic Word recovery feature.

How to recover unsaved changes to the Word document?

Another frustrating situation you may find yourself in is when your computer suddenly glitched and didn’t save the changes to the edited document. Read below how to recover them.

  1. Check the error message from the Microsoft service. If the computer turns off or Word closes while you are editing the saved document, you receive an error message: “There was a problem, and Microsoft Word was closed. We apologize for the inconvenience”. If you do not see this message, try to restore your file using Library.
  2. Check the “Recover work and restart Microsoft Word” box. It is located in the left bottom corner of the Word window. Microsoft Word will check for any changes made to your file between the moment of the latest save and the moment when Word closed.
  3. Select OK. The button is located in the right bottom corner of the screen. The Microsoft Word program will start up.
  4. Review the file. If the last changes are restored, the document will open. In case the changes are not restored, open the latest version of your document; To do this, click on “Recents”, select the name of the document and click “Open”.
  5. Finally, save your document. For this, press Command+S keyword combination.

To sum up, automatic saving apparently helps you prevent various unpleasant surprises, and the more often it saves, the better. We hope our tips will be useful and will help to protect yourself and your valuable files from all the failures!