How to Recover Unsaved Word Document on Mac?

We all know that MS Word document is the most commonly used application to create documents like assignments, letters, brochures, learning activities, etc. In simple, Word documents have become part of our work-life.

What if you don’t find the document that recently worked on or you accidentally deleted it unsaved? Well, Windows users might not encounter many of the challenges to locate and recover the Word documents. If you are a Mac user, you might confront trouble in recovering the unsaved Word document.

Be it deleted, lost or unsaved, with the help of this article you will be able to recover Word documents without any hassle.

Can I retrieve a Word document that wasn’t saved?

Yes, you can retrive a Word document that wasn’t saved in most of the cases.  There are few cases like corruption in the file, application damage and etc, that completely damage your documents. In such cases, you need to repair Word documents initially and try recovering the files.

Before it gets too late to recover the document,  let us dive into the methods to recover Word documents on Mac.

How to Recover Unsaved, Deleted, Lost Word Document in Mac?

Below- mentioned are the 5 different ways to recover lost, deleted or unsaved Word documents from Mac:

  1. Restore Deleted Word Files from a Backup or the Trash
  2. How to Recover Unsaved Word Document on Mac with Time Machine
  3. Recover Unsaved Word Docs on a Mac with AutoRecovery
  4. Retrieve document from Temperoray folder

Let’s get into each method to recover lost, unsaved, deleted word file from the Mac drive:

Method 1: Recover Deleted Word Files from a Backup or the Trash

When you accidentally deleted a Word file, they can be found in the Trash. All you have to do is, Go to Trash, locate the files and restore the required file from the trash.

Recover Word files using a Trash

What if your trash is empty?  Or files are permanently deleted from the drive? No worries, you can still try to recover data from the Time Machine backup. The prominent built-in tool that every macOS users have on their computer.

Method 2: How to Recover Unsaved Word Document on Mac with Time Machine

To access your unsaved Word file in Time Machine, you will need to follow the steps given below:

Note: Time Machine saves the backup only if you have enabled it. If you have not enabled the Time Machine Backup, you can skip the process and move on to the next method.

  1. Use Spotlight to find the Time Machine. To use Spotlight, press cmd + spacebar together. Start typing Time Machine. Once it appears, launch the application.
  2. Locate the lost Word file from the timeline and restore it.

Method 3: Recover Unsaved Word Docs on a Mac with AutoRecovery

AutoRecover is a built-in feature of the Microsoft Office application that helps you to recover files lost due to system crash or application crash. It does this by periodically saving a copy of the file in the background. By default every 10 minutes a backup copy is saved by AutoRecover feature. 

Note: This method works only when the disappeared files are in the process of being worked on.

Follow the steps given below to recover Word documents using AutoRecovery

Step 1. Open a Finder window on your Mac.

Step 2. Select the entire computer as the location.

Step 3: Enter AutoRecovery in the Search field

Recover Word Documents using AutoRecovery

You will be able to see the list of files that begins with “AutoRecovery save of” followed by the name of the Word document you are trying to recover.

Step 4:  Double-click on the file to be recovered. This will open the file in Microsoft Word.

Step 5: Now save the document with the new name and click on Save button

Method 4: Recover Word document from Temperoray folder

The process recovering lost Word files from the temp folder is a bit tricky and tedious process as the files stored in this folder will be saved in a different name. Follow the below-mentioned steps to recover files from temp files. 

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

Step 2: In Terminal, type open $TMPDIR and you will be directed to the TMP folder that stores the file temporarily.

Step 3: In the TMP folder, locate and open the TemporaryItems folder. 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.

If you have failed to recover the Word documents using the above-mentioned methods and wondering how to recover the unsaved or permanently deleted Word files,  do not worry! You can easily recover deleted or lost Word files using a data recovery tool for Mac.

SFWare data recovery tool for Mac is one of the most trusted software to recover data from Mac computers. Be it deleted, lost or formatted from the drive, you can easily retrive it back without any hassle. The quick scan feature of the software can easily scan the sector by sector to locate the lost files from the disk.

Free Download for Mac


It is always rewarding to keep backup regularly to prevent the data loss situations in future. The article speaks about 4 different manual methods to recover unsaved, deleted or lost files from Mac computers with which you should be able to recover Word documents.  

If you have successfully recovered the Word documents using the above-discussed methods, please share your thoughts in the comment section below.


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