How to Recover Unsaved Word Document Mac

Kyle Wood

Mac, Tutorials

Have you ever experienced the frustration of losing an unsaved Word document on your Mac? It can be incredibly disheartening to put in hours of work only to have it disappear without a trace.

Fortunately, there are ways to recover unsaved Word documents on a Mac. In this tutorial, we will guide you through the process step by step, ensuring that you never lose your important work again.

1. Utilize AutoRecover

If you have the AutoRecover feature enabled in Microsoft Word, you’re in luck.

This feature automatically saves your document at regular intervals, minimizing the risk of data loss. To access your unsaved documents using AutoRecover:

  • Step 1: Launch Microsoft Word on your Mac.
  • Step 2: Click on the “File” tab in the menu bar.
  • Step 3: Select “Open Recent” from the dropdown menu.
  • Step 4: At the bottom of the list, click on “Recover Unsaved Documents.”
  • Step 5: Locate and select the unsaved document you want to recover.

2. Search Temporary Files

If AutoRecover didn’t save your day, don’t worry!

There’s still hope in finding your unsaved Word document by searching for temporary files. Here’s how:

  • Step 1: Open a new Finder window.
  • Step 2: Click on “Go” in the menu bar at the top of your screen.
  • Step 3: Select “Go to Folder” from the dropdown menu.
  • Step 4: Type in “~/Library/Containers/” and press enter.
  • Step 5: Look for files with the extension “.tmp” or “.wbk”. These are temporary Word files that may contain your unsaved document.


If you find any temporary files, make sure to open them in Microsoft Word to check if they contain your unsaved document. If they do, remember to save it immediately to avoid losing your work again.

3. Check Temporary Folder

In addition to searching for temporary files, you can also check the Temporary Folder on your Mac. Here’s how:

  • Step 1: Open a new Finder window.
  • Step 4: Type in “/private/var/folders” and press enter.


The Temporary Folder contains various subfolders with random names. Look for a folder that starts with “Word Work File.”

Open this folder and check if it contains any unsaved Word documents. Again, make sure to save any recovered documents right away.

4. Use Time Machine

If you have Time Machine enabled on your Mac, you can easily recover previous versions of your Word document. Follow these steps to do so:

  • Step 1: Connect your Time Machine backup drive to your Mac.
  • Step 2: Open the folder where your Word document was previously saved.
  • Step 3: Click on the Time Machine icon in the menu bar and select “Enter Time Machine.”
  • Step 4: Use the timeline on the right side of the screen to navigate to a point in time when your document was still available.
  • Step 5: Select the desired version of your Word document and click on “Restore.”


If you choose to restore a previous version of your document, make sure to save it in a different location or with a different name to avoid overwriting any newer versions.

Congratulations! You now have several methods at your disposal for recovering unsaved Word documents on your Mac.

Remember to enable AutoRecover, regularly save your work, and create backups using Time Machine for added security. With these precautions in place, you can minimize the risk of losing important documents and work with peace of mind.

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