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 lose, delete, or format 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 Documents

#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
#4. Run EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard...Full steps

Recover Deleted Word Documents #5. Recover with Word file recovery software...Full steps

How to Recover Unsaved Word Documents on Mac (4 Ways)

Embedded with more useful features in certain collaborative situations than recovering Pages documents, Microsoft Word has become increasingly popular among Mac computers. Office 365 even allows users to create Word files on their Mac. On the one hand, Microsoft Word offers standard DOC or DOCX file formats that are compatible with almost every OS platform; On the other hand, Word 2022, 2020, 2019, 2018...2011 featured 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 Mac.

Microsoft Word for Mac

Before you are going to recover an unsaved word document on Mac, watch this video first. It provides you with more details on Mac document recovery.

  • 00:00 - Options for Word Recovery
  • 00:37 - AutoRecovery in Word
  • 02:04 - Recover Doc From TMP Folder
  • 03:06 - Recover Doc From Mac Trash
  • 03:39 - Recovery Software

#1. Recover Unsaved Word Documents 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 an unsaved Word document with the changes or additions you made in your last Word for Mac session.

Guide: How to recover an unsaved Word document

Unlike recovering unsaved Word documents in Windows 11/10/8/7, 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/ and click "Go".

Step 3. Open the AutoRecovery folder, and 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 Word Work File in the Temporary folder. Your Mac also temporarily keeps 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 Documents with Word Recovery Software

Reliable Mac data 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.

Download this data recovery software and recover unsaved documents for free.

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

#5. Recover Deleted Word Documents with 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 being worked on when they disappear. Hence, if you lost a Word doc that 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 recover deleted files on Mac that vanish without a trace on Mac OS X/macOS. It doesn't matter whether you emptied the trash bin, and 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 data recovery software for Mac. 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 straightforward, and we'll show you how it works.

Guide: How to recover a Word document on Mac

Step 1. Scan for lost documents

Select the location where your important Word/Excel/PPT/Numbers/Pages documents were lost and click "Search for lost files".

select a location and scan for lost documents on Mac

Step 2. Find lost documents on Mac

EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard for Mac will immediately start a scan on your selected disk volume. Meanwhile, the scanning results will be presented in the left pane. Select "Documents" and you can quickly filter the DOC/PDF/PPT/XLS files you've lost earlier.

choose the lost documents

Step 3. Recover lost/deleted documents

Select the target files and preview them by double-clicking them. Then, click "Recover" to get lost documents back at once.

recover lost documents from 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 of saving 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 work. To minimize the loss of progress on the file you are working on, 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.

Following the two tips above 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.

Unsaved Word Document Recovery on Mac FAQs

Don't worry if you still have problems recovering unsaved/deleted documents on macOS. Read the questions and answers below to get additional help.

1. How to recover unsaved Word documents on Mac without Autorecovery?

There are at least two ways to recover unsaved Word documents on Mac. You can use data recovery software to restore unsaved documents or use Time Machine backup. To restore unsaved documents on Mac with Time Machine:

  • Connect the drive containing your Time Machine backup to your Mac.
  • Click the Time Machine icon and choose Enter Time Machine.
  • Open the folder where the document should be located.
  • Use the arrows on the right side to choose the needed backup version and search for the lost file.
  • Click the needed Word document and click Restore.

2. Can I recover a Word document I didn't save on Mac?

Yes, you can recover an unsaved document as long as the Word isn't overwritten by other files.

Open its current version and then go to Version History to find the earlier version. If this operation fails, try Time Machine or EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard for Mac.

3. Where do I find Autorecover files in Word for Mac?

The AutoRecovery files are in a hidden folder on your Mac. Thus, it is impossible to find such files by simply navigating through Finder. To find the unsaved Word documents on your Mac, head to Go > Go to Folder and enter this folder path (replace username with your username):

Users > username > Library > Containers > com.Microsoft > Data > Library > Preferences > AutoRecovery

4. Can I recover an overwritten Word document on Mac?

Yes, there are multiple ways to recover an overwritten Word document on Mac:

  • Use Time Machine backup
  • Turn to iCloud backup
  • Run data recovery software

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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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