Recover a Word File After Accidentally Clicked Don't Save on Mac

Abby Haines updated on Feb 21, 2020 to Mac File Recovery | How-to Articles


When a Word document got lost without saving by clicking Don't Save without awareness, you may risk a file loss on Mac. You can follow solutions here and restore 'unsaved' lost Word files on Mac from the Temporary or AutoRecovery folder. And as for lost Word file recovery, professional Mac file recovery software - EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard can easily help.

This page presents two practical methods and one reliable Mac file recovery software that can help you bring unsaved or deleted, lost Word document on Mac with ease. If you happen to lose Word document on Mac, check out the exact fix and bring it back on your own.

Workable Solutions Step-by-step Troubleshooting
Fix 1. Use AutoRecovery Go to Finder > "Go" > "Go to Folder" > Type "~/Library/Containers/" ...Full steps
Fix 2. Use Temp Folder Go to "Applications" > "Utilities" > "Terminal" > Enter open $TMPDIR > Open TMP folder...Full steps
Fix 3. Use Recovery Software Run EaseUS Mac filer recovery software > Scan device > Restore lost Word file...Full steps


Problem - Accidentally click Don't Save in MS Word 2016

"I accidentally clicked "Don't Save" while closing a document in MS Word 2016 on my Macbook. It makes me lost several pages of work. Is it possible to get it back?"

"Can I recover a file after I accidentally click Don't Save in MS Word?"

Solution - The issue mentioned above has happened to more than one users. And the solutions are various.

If you are one of those people who want to know how to recover unsaved Word document on Mac, follow on and you will find several possible ways for lost Word file recovery by clicking 'Don't Save', deleting, etc.

Once you lose files on Office Word 2016 for Mac, stop use the application and follow the solutions here to find your lost file as soon as possible.
If you continue using the tool, your lost file may get overwritten by new files.


We collected two major solutions and a bonus trick here to help and find lost Word file on Mac. Follow on and restore your lost Mac Word file immediately.

Recover unsaved Word document from AutoRecovery files

MS Office automatically creates backup copies of the Word, Excel, PPT etc files that you're working automatically. And these files are saved every 10 or 5 minutes.

  • If you click Save while closing the document, Word will record the file(s) with all the changes you have made. The next time when Word starts up, you'll be able to easily view and open it at the "Recent" column.

Recent files on Mac of Word 2016 with savings.

  • And if you accidentally click "Don't Save" while closing a Word document, Word will not recover the file automatically. Office Word will take it as that you don't want to keep the file or save all the changes.

In this case, you can try to recover lost Word document without saving from AutoRcovery folder manually:

Step 1: Go to Finder, then click "Go", then Go to Folder

Open AutoRecovery Folder.

Step 2: Type in the following: ~/Library/Containers/ and click "Go".

Locate and open AutoRecovery folder.

Step 3: Check the AutoRecovery Folder.

Check and find lost Word files.

Step 4: If you find the saved file named as AutoRecovery***, marked with other extensions, open it with Word.

You'll be able to view your lost Word file, then save it on Mac Desktop.

Find lost Word file in TemporaryItems folder

Mac also has a feature that it contains a TemporaryItems folder which saves all temporary files of Word, Excel, PPT and other files. It may contain your lost Word document with a TMP format. 

Step 1: Go to Applications> Utilities > Terminal.

Open TemporaryItem folder.

Step 2: Once in Terminal, enter the following command and then press enter: open $TMPDIR.

Type command line to open Temporary foder.

Step 3: You have now opened your TMP folder, open the folder named TemporaryItems.

Find lost Word file in Temporary folder.

If you're lucky, your document should be there! Sometimes a temporary file of your lost Word doesn't show up in the TemporaryItem or AutoRecovery folder, a bonus tip is to use professional Mac data recovery software to scan and find them on your Mac hard drive.

If the above two solutions fail to find your lost Word file, you can go to Microsoft and find a cool answer of recovering unsaved Word document on Mac:

Bonus Trick: Find temp files or recover lost/deleted Word with Mac data recovery software

If you lost Word documents or other items, files on your Mac computer due to deletion, emptying the Trash, formatting, etc, you can partially restore them from the Trash. But if the Trash doesn't contain the lost files, Mac data recovery software is the best choice.

Here, we'd like to recommend a try-before-buy tool -  EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard for Mac which scans the Mac drive, finding missing temp files of Word 2016 and your lost data, and retrieves your lost Word documents, Office Excel files, music, photos, videos, etc.

You don't need to pay before it actually finding and you deciding to retrieve your lost Word or other files. Feel free to download the trial version and give it a try:

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 Now button to get them back at once.

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


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Frequently Asked Questions

1. Why choose EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard?

"EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard is the best we've seen. It's far from perfect, partly because today's advanced disk technology makes data-recovery more difficult than it was with the simpler technology of the past, but it's fast and efficient..."PCMag

"The first thing you'll notice about EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard Pro is that its interface is very clear and uncluttered, with only a small collection of self-explanatory controls. You won't find lots of extra options hidden in a system of hidden menus, either; what you see really is what you get."techradar

"Recover lost files, even after deleting a partition or formatting your drive."Macworld

2. Why cannot I recover 2GB data for free?

It is recommended to check the version installed is Free or Trial because they are different versions.

Trial has data preview function but cannot save any files, while the Free version enables to recover 2 GB files. The default free space is 500 MB and you may share the product on social media to get another 1.5 GB.

3. Why cannot the recovered files be opened?

A file is saved as 2 parts on the storage device: directory info (which is comprised by file name, time stamp and size info, etc.) and data content.

If the files with original file names and folder structures cannot be opened, one possible reason is the corrupted directory info. There is still a chance to recover the data content with the RAW Recovery method in our software.

4. Why isn't it suggested to recover the files back to the original drive?

The storage structure of the lost files would be altered or damaged by any changes on the drive. If you save the recovered files back to the same drive, the original data structures and data content would be corrupted or overwritten, which causes permanent data loss. So you should prepare another disk to save the files.

5. How can I check whether my data is recoverable or not before purchase?

The Free version helps you save 2GB files, so verify the recovery quality of our product before purchase.

6. How long does it take to scan the drive?

It strongly depends on the capacity of your hard drive and the performance of your computer. As reference,most drive recoveries can be completed in around 10 to 12 hours for a 1-TB healthy hard drive in general conditions.

About Data Recovery Wizard

It's super easy to recover 250+ types of files after deletion, disk formatting and virus infection. Click the links and compare the difference of each version.