How to Recover Unsaved, Lost and Deleted Word Document Mac

In this article, you will learn 4 effective ways to recover unsaved, lost and deleted Word document on Mac with detailed steps: [1]recover with AutoRecovery; [2]Recover from Temp folder; [3]Recover from Recovered item in Trash; [4]recover with Word file recovery software.

Table of Contents

Accidentally closed Word without saving on Mac? Do you know how to recover unsaved Word documents on Mac? According to the unique features of Microsoft Word for Mac, you may find the unsaved item in the AutoRecovery folder, Temporary folder or Recovered item in Trash. Besides, if you unintentionally lost, deleted or formatted your Word document, you can recover a Word document on Mac with EaseUS Word file recovery software.

Workable Solutions Step-by-step Troubleshooting
Recover Unsaved Word Document

#1. Recover from the AutoRecovery folder...Full steps
#2. Recover from the TMP folder...Full steps
#3. Recover from the Recover item in Trash...Full steps

Recover Deleted Word Document #4. Recover with Word file recovery software...Full steps

How to Recover Unsaved Word Document on Mac

Embedded with more useful features in certain collaborative situations than Pages, Microsoft Word becomes increasingly popular among Mac computers. Office 365 even allows users to create Word files on their Mac. On one hand, Microsoft Word offers standard DOC or DOCX file formats that are compatible in almost every OS platform; On the other hand, Word 2021, 2020, 2019, 2018...2011 is featured with auto-saving, which enables us to recover a Word document before we could hit Save.

Based on the features of Microsoft Word for Mac, there are three potential ways to recover your unsaved Word documents. These methods can also be applied to recover unsaved Excel files on your Mac.

Microsoft Word for Mac

#1. Recover Unsaved Word Docs on Mac with AutoRecovery

The Word for Mac includes an AutoRecovery option. It is turned on by default. The app will automatically save a copy of an open Word file every 10 minutes. If Word freezes while you're working on a document, or if the computer crashes, you can use the AutoRecovery copy to recover unsaved Word document with the changes or additions that you made in your last Word for Mac session.

Guide: How to recover an unsaved Word document

Unlike recovering unsaved Word document in Windows, the file recovery on Mac from the AutoRecovery folder is different.

Step 1. Open "Finder" on your Mac, then head to "Go" > "Go to Folder".

Step 2. Type: ~/Library/Containers/com.microsoft.Word/Data/Library/Preferences/AutoRecovery and click "Go".

Step 3. Open the AutoRecovery folder, locate all the files that start with the words "AutoRecovery save of". Select the one you want to recover, rename the file, then add the ".doc" filename extension.

Recover unsaved Word documents from AutoRecovery folder

Step 4. Double-click the file. The document now opens in Word for Mac.

Step 5. Click the File menu and select "Save As"'. Type a new name for the file into the Name field, select a folder for the file and click the "Save" button.

#2. Recover Unsaved Word Documents on Mac from TMP Folder

The Word for Mac saves a copy of the unsaved document named as Word Work File in the Temporary folder. Your Mac also temporarily keep files in this folder. Though for many Mac users, it's not easy to find it.

Guide: How to recover an unsaved Word document on Mac

Step 1. Go to "Applications" > "Utilities" and double-click "Terminal".

Step 2. In Terminal, enter open $TMPDIR and you will be directed to the TMP folder which is used to keep files temporarily.

Step 3. In the TMP folder, find and open the folder named "TemporaryItems". In it, right-click the desired unsaved Word files and "Open with..." Microsoft Word.

Step 4. Save the Word file by clicking on "File" > "Save As" and save it to another location.

Recover unsaved Word documents from Temporary items folder

#3. Recover Unsaved Word Document on Mac from Recovered Item

The Word for Mac temporarily saves documents that the user has not yet saved themselves in a folder named "Recovered items", located in the Trash. If there are no recovered files, this folder will not appear.

Guide: How to find unsaved Word files on Mac

Step 1. Open "Trash" by clicking its icon on the dock.

Step 2. Look for a folder labeled "Recovered items" and click into it to look for your unsaved Word file. If you cannot find it, try the next solution.

How to recover unsaved Word documents on Mac - Recovered items

#4. Recover Unsaved Word Document with Word Recovery Software

Reliable Word file recovery software - EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard recently upgraded with an unsaved document recovery feature that any one of you can recover unsaved Word files from Mac with only a few clicks.

Step 1. Launch EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard for Mac, hover the mouse over the device where you lost unsaved file, and click "Scan".

select a location and click scan

Step 2. After the scan, click "Type", and expand "Unsaved Documents". Click the exact file type - Word, Excel, Powerpoint, Keynote, Pages, Numbers you lost without saving.

Click a type of file

Step 3. Double-click to preview your unsaved file, select the right version and click "Recover" to save the file to another secure location on Mac.

Click Recover button

#5. Recover Deleted Word Document with EaseUS File Recovery Software

The aforementioned three ways are exclusively for saving the file you're currently working on but suddenly disappear before clicking the Save button. To be specific, the methods will only work for files that are in the process of being worked on when they disappeared. Hence, if you lost a Word doc that is already existed by deletion, disk formatting or losing its access, you need to turn to other ways to recover a Word document on Mac.

EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard for Mac is third-party specialized Mac data recovery software that can scour your hard drive, external hard drive, SD card, or USB flash drive to find all the lost data that vanishes without a trace on Mac OS X/macOS. It doesn't matter whether you emptied the trash bin or not, the deleted file will show up after you use the program to scan your selected drive.

For the first attempt, we strongly recommend you download its free version. It won't cost you a penny to search for your missing files. And since your problem is only for a few lost Word files, the 2GB recovery limit should be more than enough. The scan & recovery process is very simple, we’ll show you how it works.

Guide: How to recover a Word document on Mac                  

Step 1. Select the location where your important Word documents were lost and click Scan button.

select the location where your documents lost and click scan

Step 2. EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard for Mac will start immediately a quick scan as well as a deep scan on your selected disk volume. Meanwhile, the scanning results will be presented in the left pane.

scan the selected drive to find lost documents

Step 3. By Path and Type, you can quickly filter the Word files you've lost earlier. Select the target files and click Recover button to get them back at once.

click the recover now button to recover lost documents on your Mac

How to Increase the Chance of Unsaved Word Data Recovery

After suffering from the fear of losing your Word documents, you must not want to experience this kind of situation again. Thus, it's necessary for you to know how to avoid losing your Word files. To avoid completely losing your files, you can:

Tip 1. Save the Word Document Whenever You Create a New One

An ever unsaved Word document exists in the computer's RAM, not on the hard disk. Thus, the chances to save a Word Document that has never been saved before are slim. Knowing this should give you a hint that you should save the word document at least once whenever you create a new one.

Tip 2. Change the AutoSave Interval

After you save your Word document, the AutoSave feature will begin to work. To minimize the loss of the progress on the file you are working, you can change the frequency of AutoSave:

Step 1. Open Microsoft Word on your Mac.

Step 2. Go to "Word" > "Preferences" and click "Save" under Output and Sharing.

Step 3. Check all the items under Save Options (Recommended) and change the interval of AutoSave, for example, from every 10 minutes to every 5 minutes.

If you follow the two tips above, you will substantially decrease the risk of losing your Word documents. What if you carelessly deleted your important Word files on your Mac? No worry. Try the free method to retrieve permanently deleted Word documents with EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard for Mac.

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Updated by Gemma

Gemma is member of EaseUS team and has been committed to creating valuable content in fields about file recovery, partition management, and data backup etc for many years. She loves to help users solve various types of computer related issues.

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Written by Roxanne

Roxanne is one of the main contributors to EaseUS and has created multiple posts on digital devices like PCs, Mobile phones, tablets, Mac, etc. She loves to share ideas with people of the same interest.

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