How to Recover Unsaved Word Document on Mac: 2022 Guide and Tutorials

Microsoft Word is among the most commonly used word processors for both Windows and Mac computer users. But Word for Mac is prone to losing unsaved progress if you forget to save the documents you created or if the Mac shuts down unexpectedly when we are working.

Here in this article, we are going to show you how to recover unsaved Word document on Mac to minimize your losses. Apart from that, you might also need to recover a deleted, lost, or unsaved Word document caused by accidental deletion, unintentional file replacement, or malware infection. The methods we demonstrate in this post include the native Word functionality, Time Machine backup, third-party software, and so on.

Solution 1. Recover an Unsaved Word Document from AutoRecovery [Windows Guide]

If you have the AutoRecover feature turned on Microsoft Office apps, they will automatically save old versions of your Word documents every 10 minutes and give you to chance to recover unsaved files.

Here is a tip for you to quickly know if the AutoRecover feature is enabled on Mac. Go to the Word -> Preferences, and click “Save” under the Output and Sharing tab, then check if the “Turn on AutoSave by default” checkbox has been ticked (see details in the picture below).

C:\Users\Alice Yang\AppData\Roaming\Tencent\Users\776025760\QQ\WinTemp\RichOle\23T0P9_DEBMDI_39~4(`(18.png

There are two methods to find AutoRecover files in Word for Mac.

#1 Find AutoRecover files from Finder search.

Open the Finder on your Mac, and enter “autorecovery” in the top-right search box, the Finder will show you all files containing the word instantly.

#2 Find AutoRecover files using the Folder path.

Step 1. In the Finder on your Mac, select the Go menu and then click “Go to Folder”.

Step 2. Enter the correct file path depending on the Word version you are using.

The file path for Microsoft Office 2019/2016/Office 365 in 2020/2021:


The file path for Microsoft Office 2011:

~/Library/Application Support/Microsoft/Office/Office 2011 AutoRecovery

The file path for Microsoft Office 2008:

/Documents/Microsoft User Data/Office 2008 AutoRecovery

Follow the two steps to recover unsaved Word document Mac 2021/2020/2019/2016/2011 and 2008.

Step 1. Find the unsaved Microsoft Word files you want to recover, and double-click to open them.

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Step 2. Then click File -> Save As and save it to a new location with your desired file name.

Solution 2. How to Recover Unsaved Word Document from Temporary Folder on Mac

macOS has several temporary folders that contain temp files, which are intended for advanced Mac users. You can follow the steps in this tutorial and try.

Step 1. Navigate to Finder -> go to Applications -> click Utilities -> choose Terminal, then type in “open $TMPDIR”, and press Enter.

Step 2. Then open the Temporaryitems folder and find the files beginning with ~Word Word. Optionally, you can open the file with TextEdit, then copy the text and then paste it into a new Word document.

Step 3. Decide which unsaved Word document you need, click File -> Save As to save it to your desired location with a new file name.

How to Recover Deleted Word Files on Mac – Three Methods Provided

Method 1: Recover Word document from the Trash on Mac

Users can quickly get back the Word document moved in the Trash within 30 days.

  • In Mac’s dock, you can see the Trash icon, click on it.
  • In the trash, you need to carefully search the files and find the Word document(s) you want.
  • Right-click on each file and tap on “Put Back”. The recovered Word document will be saved to its original location.

If you cannot get your file back using this method, keep reading for other methods of recovering Word files on Mac.

Method 2: Recover an Unsaved Word Doc with Time Machine

Time Machine is the modern Mac’s native incremental backup that stores backup regularly for users to restore files, folders, system files, or the whole computer to an earlier date. As long as you have activated Time Machine before the data loss incidents, you can restore your Word document from the backup with four simple steps.

Step 1. Check that the Time Machine backup disk is connected to your Mac properly.

Step 2. Now open the specific folder that contained the deleted Word file(s).

Step 3. Launch Time Machine this way: navigate to Launchpad > Other > Time Machine.

Step 4. Use the timeline and arrows to check out the deleted Word files, find what file you want to restore, select that file and click “Restore”.

Method 3: Get back deleted Word documents with Data Recovery for Mac

In some cases, you find your Microsoft Word documents are no longer present in the Trash folder and do not have an actual Time Machine backup to rely on. The best option is using a third-party data recovery tool like iBoysoft Data Recovery for Mac. The professional software is powerful enough to perform an in-depth scan of your file system to discover all recoverable files you cannot see with the naked eye.

To increase the success rate of recovering the deleted Word file, you are highly recommended to stop storing any new files on your Mac. The top priority is getting back the files as soon as possible. The tutorial below shows you how to recover a deleted Word document using iBoysoft Data Recovery software.

  1. Download iBoysoft Mac Data Recovery software and install the software (T2 chip, M1, M1 Pro, M1 Max, macOS Monterey Supported).

Here is a tip: It’s advisable to prepare an external storage device like a USB flash drive or an external hard drive to save the recovered files to avoid overwriting the disk that contains the deleted Word files.

2. Launch iBoysoft Mac Data Recovery and select your Mac hard drive or the partition that stored your Word file, then click “Search for Lost Data” to begin the data scanning process (see picture below).

C:\Users\Alice Yang\Desktop\picture.jpg 3. When the data scanning process is completed, you can use the filters or the search bar to narrow the results and find the lost or deleted Word documents you wish to recover.

4. Finally, press the Spacebar to preview each file, choose the file you need, and click “Recover” to recover the lost Word document to a new location right away.