You may be very well familiar with the moment when it hits you. You’ve just accidentally closed a Word file without saving it. You think of all the hours you spent on the text, and blame yourself for not pressing “Ctrl + S” more often.
Whether it was an important college essay or some of the insights from blog EssayPro that you’d just noted down, the feelings are more or less the same. And now, here you are, looking for ways to find your lost file, hoping that Google would have the right answers.
Without further ado, let’s save the situation.
How to Recover Unsaved Documents in Microsoft Word
If you haven’t been manually saving your files, it is likely that autosave did track the progress you made. In this case, try these steps:
- In MS Word, click on the File tab in the main menu.
- Select Manage Document and then, from the drop-down list, choose Recover Unsaved Documents.
- There you can see a list of files. If your file was recent, it would appear there.
- Open the specific document in recovery mode, and click Save As from File tab.
If the system crashed or restarted without warning, you could try this method to search for Word backup files:
- Open the Microsoft Word;
- Check the Document Recovery pane on the left side;
- You should find the recent unsaved documents there. Select your file to open and save it right away.
How to Recover Unsaved Documents in Windows
Method 1: If You Remember the File Name
- Go to the Taskbar and select the Start or Search buttons;
- Type the document name;
- Windows will list all files mentioning a similar title name;
- Alternatively, you can also search for files with .wbk extensions.
Method 2: Auto-Recover the File
- Right Click on the Taskbar, choose the Task Manager;
- Go to the Processes tab, and choose any MS Word Instance;
- Click on End Process of all open MS Word files;
- Close the Task Manager window and reopen the MS Word;
- If there are any unsaved files found, it will automatically appear on the Document Recovery Pane on the left side.
- Open the required file, and save the document with a .docx extension.
Method 3: Perform Manual Search for AutoRecovery files
It is possible that the Document Recovery pane does not open by default when you open the application. Such cases require you to get a bit more creative and manually search for the file.
Here is the instruction for Word 2013 and newer versions:
- Open MS Word. Choose File -> Open -> Browse.
- Locate the folder you last saved the file in, and look for .asd extension.
- If you are unable to find the file there, go to File -> Info -> Manage Documents -> Recover Unsaved Documents.
For Word 2010:
- Go to the File menu -> Recent;
- You should see the file listed there. If not, select Recover Unsaved Documents.
Method 4: Search for Temporary Files
- Go to the desktop and click on the Start button;
- In the search field, enter the file type “.tmp” and press Enter;
- In the toolbar, select documents;
- Look through the list of search results to see if your file is available. You can group the files by the last modified date.
Note: You can also search for hidden temporary files with the tilde character, “~” on the search.
How to Recover Unsaved Documents in macOS
Method 1: AutoRecover
In macOS, the Word will usually recover the file the next time you launch the app, following an unexpected shutdown or a power failure. You can choose to immediately save the file before you edit, in order to keep it safe.
If you are looking for older AutoRecovered files, then follow these steps:
- Open Finder, then click on Go -> Go to Folder;
- Paste the following link – /Users/<username>/Library/Containers/com.Microsoft/Data/Library/Preferences/AutoRecovery
- Open the folder and save the file.
Remember that as AutoRecovery is a hidden folder, you won’t find it with a mere search option. As soon as you save the Auto recovery file, or close it without saving, the file will be deleted as Word assumes that you no longer need it.
Word Recovery Programs
If neither of the options covered above work, you can download a Word Recovery software that might be able to help you find the lost documents.
Update the AutoSave Settings
To avoid such a disastrous situation in the future, you can change the AutoSave settings to save your files more frequently. You can do this in MS Word:
- Click File menu -> Options -> Save
- Adjust the number of minutes to ensure that the changes would be saved while working on the docs.
In the latest versions of Word, if your file is saved to OneDrive or SharePoint, Autosave is enabled by default.
Hopefully, some of these instructions will solve your immediate crisis. Losing a document is not so uncommon as you would think.
Yet, today, with all the AutoSave options, it is possible to avoid such mishaps. Ensure that you update your preferences, so you can focus on the work without worrying about losing the file. Still, remember to click the save button every now and then, just in case.