How to Recover a Previous Version of a Word Document on Mac

On this page, you'll learn how to recover previous versions of documents/files on Mac in 5 ways: [1]. Browse File History; [2]. Use EaseUS Mac recovery software; [3]. Use Auto Recovery; [4]. Use TemporaryItem folder; [5]. Use Time Machine backup. Pick one method and follow it to restore a previous version of the lost file on Mac now.

Table of Contents

Apples to: recover previous versions of documents or files on Mac that were lost by replacement, saved over, or not saved.

Workable Solutions Step-by-step Troubleshooting
1. Browse File History On your Mac, open the document (be it a Word...Full steps
2. EaseUS Recovery Software

 Launch EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard for...Full steps

3. Use AutoRecovery

Click "Finder", select "Go" and click "Go...Full steps

4. Restore via Temporary Folder

On Finder, go to Applications> Utilities >...Full steps

5. Time Machine Backup Connect the Time Machine backup disk...Full steps

How do I restore a previous version of a file on Mac? Don't worry if you accidentally replaced file or can't browse the previous version of a saved document on Mac. On this page, you'll find 5 respective ways that work to restore a previous version of Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Pages, Keynote, etc., on Mac immediately.

5 Ways to Recover Previous Version of Documents or Files on Mac

  1. 1. Browse File History
  2. 2. EaseUS Mac File Recovery Software – Easiest & 100% Working
  3. 3. AutoRecovery
  4. 4. Temporary Folder
  5. 5. Time Machine backup

For Your Information:

  • Except for EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard for Mac, the other 4 methods are source from Apple and Microsoft support team.
  • To avoid unnecessary file loss, save and back up your current editing file in advance.
  • For the easiest and the most efficient way to restore a previous version of a lost or saved over document on Mac, you can turn to Method 2 for help.

Method 1. Browse File History to Recover a Previous Version of Document

When you accidentally replaced a file and didn't have a Time Machine backup, you may first try to use the File History.

Here are the steps (source from

Step 1. On your Mac, open the document (be it a Word, Excel, PowerPoint, iWork Page, or Keynote).

Step 2. Go to Apple Menu, click "File" > "Revert To" > "Browse All Versions".

Open previous version of lost file

Step 3. Click the tick marks along the timeline to browse versions of your lost document.

Step 4. Display the version that you want, check its content, and click "Restore".

Restore previous version of lost document on Mac from File History

Step 5. Browse or navigate a new location to save the restored document file on Mac.

After this, you can view and reuse the replaced, not saved, or saved-over document from its previous version again.

Method 2. Recover Previous Versions of Files with File Recovery Software

It doesn't matter if you see no history version of your lost file on Mac in Method 1. Here, third-party & reliable EaseUS Mac file recovery software - Data Recovery Wizard for Mac with its Unsaved Document feature can easily find your historical versions of lost files. See what you can do with this software:

EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard

  • Recover lost or deleted files, documents, photos, audio, music, and emails effectively.
  • Recover files from emptied recycle bin, memory card, flash drive, hard drive, and digital camera.
  • Support data recovery for saved over or unsaved files, like unsaved Word documentsunsaved PagesExcelKeynoteNumbers, etc.

Let's start restoring the previous version of your document on Mac now:

Step 1. Select the disk

Launch EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard for Mac, hover the mouse over the device where you lost an unsaved file, and click "Search for lost files".

select a location and scan for unsaved documents

Step 2. Choose unsaved documents

After the scan, click "Type", and expand "Unsaved Documents". Click the exact file type - Word, Excel, Powerpoint, Keynote, Pages, or Numbers you lost without saving.

choose the unsaved documents

Step 3. Preview and recover unsaved files

Double-click to preview your unsaved file, select the right version and click "Recover" to save the file to another secure location on Mac.

recover unsaved documents on Mac

Method 3. Use AutoRecovery to Find Previous Version of Unsaved/Saved-Over File on Mac

AutoRecovery is a local folder of the AutoSave feature which is enabled by default on Mac. It automatically saves the previous version of Office Word, Excel, PowerPoint, iWork Keynote, Pages, Numbers, TextEdit, etc. files on Mac.

Therefore, when you lost a file or failed to save a document, or only want to restore a previous version of a file, you can follow the below steps to restore the file on Mac:

Step 1. Click "Finder", select "Go" and click "Go to Folder".

Open Folder to find AutoSave folder

Step 2. Type the right-path and click "Go" to find the lost document in the AutoRecovery folder:

  • Word: ~/Library/Containers/
  • Excel: ~/Library/Containers/ Support/Microsoft
  • PowerPoint: ~/Library/Containers/com.Microsoft.Powerpoint/Data/Library/Preferences/AutoRecovery
  • Numbers: ~/Library/Containers/ Information
  • Pages: ~/Library/Containers/ Information
  • Keynote: ~/Library/Containers/ Information

Open AutoRecovery folder

Step 3. Browse to find the previous version of your file, open it in the respective application to check its content.

Find previous version of Word on Mac from AutoRecovery folder

Step 4. Once confirm the content is all right, click "File" and select "Save" to navigate to a secure location on Mac for the file.

Method 4. Restore a Previous Version of a Word Document via TemporaryItems Folder

Similar to AutoSave, the TemporaryItems folder is a local spot that is used to save currently editing documents and caches on Mac. When you closed a file without saving or lost a file, you can try to find it in the TemporaryItems folder.

Be quick as it only keeps the cache files for a while. Here are the steps that you can try:

Step 1. On Finder, go to Applications> Utilities > Terminal.

Open Terminal

Step 2. Type open $TMPDIR in Terminal and press "Return".

Type command in Terminal to find the TemporaryItems folder

Step 3. Find and open the TemporaryItems folder.

Open the TemporaryItems folder.

Step 4. Find the files with ".tmp" extension, and change their extension to ".doc", ".docx", ".xls", or other formats of your lost files.

Step 5. Then open the file in its respective application, like a Word or Excel application, to check its content.

Method 5. Recover a Previous Version of a Word Document on Mac with Time Machine

If you've created a backup of your files on Mac via the Time Machine application, congratulation. You can always survive whenever you are in a file loss issue.

You can also use the backup to revert your document to a previous version on Mac. And here are the steps:

Step 1. Connect the Time Machine backup disk to your Mac computer.

Step 2. On the Apple menu, click "Go" and select "Applications".

Step 3. Locate and open Time Machine.

Open Time Machine backup.

Step 4. Scroll the Timeline to find the date and time that you did a backup through Time Machine. 

Use timeline to find the previous version of lost files from Time Machine backup

Step 5. Double-click a specific file or folder to check if the files are the previous versions that you want to restore.

Step 6. Select the items of the lost document and click "Restore" to retrieve the old versions of files.

Restore previous version of lost document from Time Machine backup.

Note that the selected files will be restored to the original location on your Mac computer. And you can view and make use of the restored files again.


Don't Worry about the Saved Over or Unsaved File, You can restore it from the previous version! On this page, we collected 5 practical ways to help you recover saved over, replaced, or even unsaved documents on Mac.

For the easiest and most effective way out, EaseUS Mac file recovery software deserves your trust.

Don't worry if you replaced or overwritten a Word, closed an Excel file without saving it, or only want to open an old version of your file on Mac. You can all restore them from the previous versions with the methods shown above. Take steps and bring back your lost files now.

Mac Restore Previous Version of File FAQs

You have learned the way to recover the previous version of the word document on Mac. It's time to get additional help. read the questions and answers below.

1. How do I recover a previously saved version of a Word document?

Steps to see the available previous versions of your document:

  • Open the latest version of the document you want to recover.
  • Go to File > Browse Version History from the menu bar.
  • On the Office website, go to File > Info > Previous Versions.
  • Choose Restore to recover the previous version you want.

2. Why can't I browse the version history on Word?

You can't browse the version history of your Word document because:

  • You deleted the document and its backups by mistake
  • You forgot the location where you saved the document
  • Your Mac got infected with a virus that caused data loss
  • Word or your Mac unexpectedly crashed, and you didn't save the document before that

3. Can I recover previous versions of Mac Notes?

Yes. When Mac Notes disappeared, you can follow the steps below to recover them.

  • Follow the path to sidebar > View > Show Folders
  • Find the Recently Deleted folder
  • Check the deleted notes and restore them to a certain folder

4. Does Word save previous versions?

If the AutoRecover option is turned on, you can automatically save versions of your file while you're working on it. If you turn off AutoSave, you can't recover them.

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Updated by Cedric

Cedric Grantham is one of the senior editors of EaseUS who lives and works in Chengdu, China. He mainly writes articles about data recovery tutorials on PC and Mac and how-to tips for partition management. He always keeps an eye on new releases and loves various electronic products.

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Written by Tracy King

Tracy joined in EaseUS in 2013 and has been working with EaseUS content team for over 10 years. Being enthusiastic in computing and technology, she writes tech how-to articles and share technical solutions to resolve Windows & Mac data recovery, data backup, partition management, data transfer, Windows update issues, etc.

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