How to Recover Word Documents
This wikiHow teaches you how to recover an unsaved Microsoft Word document, as well as how to restore unsaved changes to a saved document. You can do this on both Windows and Mac computers. If you can't recover your Word document using...
Method 1 of 4:
Recovering an Unsaved Document on Windows
- Open Microsoft Word. The Word app icon resembles a white "W" on a dark-blue background.
- Click . This option is in the bottom-left side of the window.
- Click . It's at the bottom-center of the window. Doing so opens the Word recovery folder, in which you should see a list of recently backed-up files.
- Select a document to recover. Click the document that you want to restore.
- Click . It's in the bottom-right side of the window. The document will open in Word.
- Click . This is a grey tab near the top of the Word window.
- Select a save location. Click a folder on the left side of the page.
- You can also enter a name for the document in the "File name" text field here.
- Click . It's in the bottom-right corner of the window. Doing so saves the recovered document.
Method 2 of 4:
Recovering an Unsaved Document on Mac
- Click . It's a menu item at the top of the screen. A drop-down menu will appear.
- If you don't see the Go menu item, open Finder or click the desktop to make it appear.
- Hold down the ⌥ Option key. Doing so prompts the Library folder to appear in the Go drop-down menu.
- Click . It's in the Go drop-down menu. Doing so opens the hidden Library folder.
- Open the "Containers" folder. Double-click the "Containers" folder, which is in the "C" section of the Library folder.
- Click the search bar. It's in the upper-right side of the window.
- Search for the Microsoft folder. Type in com.microsoft.Word and press ⏎ Return.
- Click the tab. It's to the right of the "Search:" heading near the top of the Finder window.
- Open the "com.microsoft.Word" folder. Double-click this folder to open it.
- Open the "Data" folder.
- Open the "Library" folder.
- Open the "Preferences" folder. You may have to scroll down to see this folder.
- Open the "AutoRecovery" folder. Doing so will bring up a list of files that Word automatically saved for you.
- Select the file that you want to restore. Click the file to select it.
- If you don't see any files here, your Word file wasn't backed up.
- Click . It's a menu item in the top-left corner of the screen. A drop-down menu will appear.
- Select . This option is near the top of the File drop-down menu.
- Click . It's in the Open With pop-out menu.
- Save the document. Press ⌘ Command+S, then enter a file name, select a save location in the "Where" menu, and click Save.
Method 3 of 4:
Restoring Unsaved Changes on Windows
- Open Microsoft Word. If your computer turned off or closed Word in the middle of editing a saved document, Word will save a temporary copy of the document for a limited amount of time.
- Click . It's in the upper-left side of the Word home page.
- Select a file. In the pane on the left-hand side of the window, click the name of the document that you want to restore. Doing so will open it in the Word main window.
- If you accidentally select the wrong file, you can select a different file here instead to replace the current file.
- The easiest way to tell which document to restore is by looking at the time at which the document was last saved. The most recent time is probably the one that you want.
- Click . It's a grey tab near the top of the Word window, just below the toolbar. Doing so opens the Save As window.
- Enter a file name. Type the name of the Word file into the "File name" text field.
- You can also select a save location by clicking a folder on the left side of this window.
- Click . It's in the bottom-right corner of the window. This will save your Word recovery file as a Word document.
Method 4 of 4:
Restoring Unsaved Changes on Mac
- Look for a prompt from Microsoft Error Reporting. If your computer shut down or Microsoft Word stopped working in the middle of editing an existing document (e.g., one that you've saved before), an error window with the phrase "There was a problem and Microsoft Word was closed. We apologize for the inconvenience." will appear.
- If you don't see a prompt from Microsoft, you'll need to try recovering the file via the Library folder.
- Ensure that the "Recover work and restart Microsoft Word" box is checked. It's near the bottom of the window. This option will help Microsoft Word find any changes that were made to the document between the last save and the time at which Word closed.
- Click . It's in the bottom-right corner of the window. Word will open.
- Review your document. If the document's changes were recovered, it will open automatically.
- If the document's changes weren't saved, you can open the most recent version of the document by clicking Recents on the left side of the window, clicking the document's name, and clicking Open.
- Save the document. Press ⌘ Command+S to do so.
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