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

Roxanne updated on Dec 11, 2020 to Mac File Recovery | How-to Articles

Lost your Word document because you accidentally clicked don't save Word on Mac? Never mind. Here are three ways you can try to recover unsaved Word 2016, 2011 or 2007 on Mac: [1]Recover Word from AutoRecovery; [2] Recover from the Temporary folder; [3] Download Mac file recovery software. Anytime when you lost a copy of a Word document by deletion or disk formatting, EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard for Mac is the most optimal choice for an instant and complete Word file recovery.

Problem - Accidentally Clicked Don't Save Word Mac

I accidentally clicked "Don't Save" while closing a document in MS Word 2016 on my Macbook. As a result, I lost 10+ pages of work!  Please help me recover unsaved Word documents. I'll take whatever cost to bring the lost files back.

Do's and Don'ts when you closed Word before saving the file:

  • Dos: Reopen your Word application, including Word 2016/2011/2007 or other Word versions, see if the closed file was showing up in the Recently closed area or not. You can directly restore the recently closed item and restore it back.
  • Don'ts: Never try to start a new round of editing in Word, which will usually result in data overwriting and reduce the chance of full recovery. It's smart to calm down, take a breath, and find solutions to recover unsaved Word files on Mac as soon as possible.

In case you are one of the Mac Word users who unintentionally pressed the don't save button while working with a Word file, read this tutorial carefully and try to recover unsaved Word document on Mac with the three instant solutions. 

Related Post: Recover unsaved PowerPoint on Mac

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

Solution 1. Recover Unsaved Word Document from AutoRecovery

Due to the default setting, Microsoft Office automatically creates backup copies of the Word, Excel, and PowerPoint files you're currently working on with a certain time interval. In general, the autosave function works to save your files every 10 or 5 minutes.

In most cases when you accidentally closed a Word file before clicking Save (Ctrl+S), there is a chance to find the autosaved copy in the AutoRecovery folder on your Mac computer.

  • 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: Go the Word AutoRecovery location: ~/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 AutoRecovery***, marked with other extensions, open it with Word.

Step 5: You'll be able to view your lost Word file, then save it on Mac Desktop.

Solution 2. Recover Unsaved Word Document from the Temporary Folder

As you see, the AutoRecovery seems to be effective in retrieving a Word file that you didn't save. However, it works only when you turned the feature on. For people who disabled the autosave function on Mac but unfortunately lost Word files due to not saving, try to look for the temporary files.

Mac also has a feature that contains a TemporaryItems folder which saves all temporary files of Word. 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. Open it in your Word application and this time hit the Save button!

Solution 3. Download Word File Recovery Software for Mac

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. Though it's specialized for deleted file recovery and hard drive recovery, when you cannot find the AutoRecovery and temporary Word files, it can also be a backup solution. Download the Mac hard drive recovery software, let it scan the drive, and find the missing temp files of Word 2016/2011/2007... that you didn't save.

As a matter of fact, it retrieves not only your lost Word documents, but also Office Excel/PowerPoint files, music, photos, videos and all types of files you can name. 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

Tips to Avoid Losing Word Files Before Saving

There are third-party Mac file recovery programs as well as the inbuilt recovery options to recover a Word that you've accidentally deleted, not saved or formatted. However, it's not always the 100% guaranteed way to make up for your loss. Chances are that you fail to recover unsaved Word file, or the recovered file won't open after recovery.

Hence, to minimize your chance of losing your hardworking days in Word, keep those tips in mind when you editing in Word the next time and in the future.

1. Always save and save often. Click the Save button in Word, press Ctrl+S, it's up to you.

2. Close unused programs that may freeze your computer, slow down your system and cause the Word freezing

3. Change the autosave frequency. A helpful thing to know is that you can reduce the gaps between autosaves on Word for Mac. By default, they are set at 10-minute intervals, but it's easy to make them more frequent.

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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.

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