recover unsaved Word documents

Unsaved Word Documents: How to Recover Your Lost Work Effortlessly for PC and Mac

With the advent of the digital era, the loss of a Word document without saving it is a big problem that can cost you very important documents. It could be as a result of a system breakdown, sudden blackout, or maybe you forgot to save. On the bright side, Windows and Mac have different ways to recover unsaved Word documents which are not saved yet. This guide gives you step-by-step instructions to recover unsaved Word documents across different operating systems.

For Mac Users

Method 1: AutoRecovery

To recover unsaved Word documents, AutoRecover is a native feature in Microsoft Word that allows you to save your documents automatically at a determined frequency. To recover unsaved documents using AutoRecovery:

  • Open Finder.
  • Click on the Go menu at the top and choose Go to Folder.
  • Enter the path: ~/Library/Containers/
  • To find saved files name them with your document title or “AutoRecovery save”.
  • Double-clicking opens the Word.
  • Go to File > Save As and click the button Save.

Method 2: Temp Files

Temporary files can sometimes save your unsaved document:

  • Open Terminal.
  • Launch Terminal from Applications/Utilities.
  • Type “open $TMPDIR” and press Enter.
  • Locate the Temporary Items folder.
  • Find the Word document you have been searching for.
  • Choose Word to open your file and save it.

Method 3: Time Machine

To recover unsaved Word documents use this method if you’ve enabled Time Machine backup:

  • Connect your backup drive.
  • Open the Time Machine either from the System Preferences or the Menu Bar.
  • Go to the date before the document gets lost.
  • Press Restore on the document.

Method 4: Third-party Data Recovery Software

Software such as Disk Drill, Fresh Recovery, or Stellar Data Recovery plays a big part in the process to recover unsaved Word documents. Download and run this type of software on your Mac to get a chance to recover any of your files.

  • Start Disk Drill and choose to scan your Mac hard drive.
  • Click on Recover and be patient until the scan stops.
  • Look for the Word document named ‘Unsaved‘ among the scan results.
  • If the software permits you, please preview the file, then click Recover to save it in a safe location.

For Windows Users

Document Recovery Pane

Often, simply reopening Word will trigger the Document Recovery pane if there are recoverable documents available:

  • Open Word.
  • If the unsaved documents are available for recovery, the Document Recovery pane opens right away.
  • Open the pane for file retrieval.
  • From the menu, choose Save As and make sure your data is secured.

Manage Document Feature

Word’s “Manage Document” feature can help recover unsaved Word documents:

  • Launch Word and make a new document.
  • Go to the [File –> Info] option.
  • Choose the Manage Document, and Recover Unsaved Documents from the menu will show as a dropdown.
  • A dialog window pops up. There, select the unsaved document.
  • Press Open. and Save As to get it back.

AutoRecover Files

AutoRecover saves versions of your document as you work:

  • Open File Explorer.
  • Type or paste %AppData%\Microsoft\Word in the address bar and hit Enter.
  • Search for files with : .asd extension.
  • press File > Open > Browse, select the folder the .asd file is in , and open it.
  • Save the document immediately.

Temporary Files

Sometimes unsaved data is stored in temporary files:

  • Open File Explorer.
  • In the search box, input *.tmp as a keyword to locate temporary files.
  • Switch to Details and sort by Date Modified to find newly created ones.
  • Name the extension of the lost files as .docx and use Word to open them.

Preventive Measures:

  • The shortcut keys are Ctrl+S (Command+S on Mac) which you should use regularly to save your work.
  • Make sure AutoSave is enabled in Word Word especially if you have a Microsoft 365 subscription in order to frequently save changes to documents on OneDrive or SharePoint.
  • Use Time Manage on Mac and File History on Windows to make copies of all your documents.
  • You might turn out to be more productive if you choose cloud services like OneDrive for real-time auto-saving and versioning of documents.

Restoring unsaved Microsoft Word documents might be either simple or complicated, depending on the situation and the steps that were taken in advance. If you strictly follow the strategies mentioned above, you can recover unsaved Word documents and perform the necessary preventive measures to avoid that happening again.

Having AutoSave and AutoRecovery features turned on in Word means you have already covered yourself against the losses that result from careless mistakes. There is a safety net that takes place at regular intervals and which saves your files automatically. Furthermore, creating a habit of hand saving as well as cloud storage like Microsoft OneDrive or Google Drive not only guards documents against undesirable failure of the system but also offers the convenience of accessing work from any device, wherever possible.

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