How to Recover Unsaved Word Document on Mac: A Step-by-Step Guide

If you’ve ever lost an unsaved Word document on your Mac, don’t panic! You can recover it using a few straightforward steps. First, check the AutoRecover folder, then look in the Temporary folder, and lastly, try using the Recent Documents feature. Each of these methods can help you find your lost work with minimal stress.

How to Recover Unsaved Word Document on Mac

Losing your work can be terrifying, but recovering an unsaved Word document on your Mac is easier than you think. Follow these steps to get back your precious document.

Step 1: Check the AutoRecover Folder

Open Finder and navigate to the AutoRecover folder.

Microsoft Word automatically saves your document at regular intervals. These saved versions are stored in the AutoRecover folder. To find it, open Finder, then press Command + Shift + G, and type ~/Library/Containers/ Press Enter, and you should see your unsaved document there.

Step 2: Look in the Temporary Folder

Open Terminal and navigate to the Temporary folder.

Sometimes, Word saves temporary files that can be recovered. Open Terminal by going to Applications > Utilities > Terminal. Type open $TMPDIR and press Enter. This will open the Temporary folder. Look for a folder called "TemporaryItems" and check if your document is there.

Step 3: Use the Recent Documents Feature

Open Word and check the Recent Documents list.

Microsoft Word keeps a list of all recently opened documents, which can be a lifesaver. Open Word and click on File, then select Open Recent. Look through the list for your unsaved document. If you find it, open and save it immediately.

After you complete these steps, you’ll either find your unsaved document or be certain it’s lost. Either way, you’ll know you’ve tried all the possible recovery methods available.

Tips for How to Recover Unsaved Word Document on Mac

  1. Save Frequently: Make it a habit to save your work every few minutes to avoid data loss.
  2. Enable AutoSave: This feature can automatically save your document every few seconds.
  3. Use Cloud Storage: Save your documents in the cloud for easy recovery from any device.
  4. Backup Regularly: Use Time Machine or another backup service to keep copies of your files.
  5. Check Trash: Sometimes, you might delete a document by mistake, so always check the Trash.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I recover a Word document I accidentally deleted?

Yes, you can often find deleted documents in the Trash. Go to the Trash, look for your document, and drag it back to your desired location.

Is there a way to recover older versions of a document?

Yes, if you have Time Machine enabled, you can find older versions of your document by going through the backup history.

What if AutoRecover didn’t save my document?

If AutoRecover didn’t save it, try checking the Temporary folder or use the Recent Documents feature in Word.

Can cloud storage help in recovering unsaved documents?

Yes, if you save your documents to a cloud service like OneDrive or iCloud, you can recover them from any device connected to the internet.

How often does AutoRecover save my document?

AutoRecover typically saves your document every 10 minutes, but you can adjust the frequency in Word’s settings.


  1. Step 1: Check the AutoRecover Folder
  2. Step 2: Look in the Temporary Folder
  3. Step 3: Use the Recent Documents Feature


Losing an unsaved Word document on your Mac can feel like the end of the world, but it’s not. With these simple steps, you can often find your lost work and breathe a sigh of relief. Make sure to utilize Word’s built-in features like AutoRecover and the Recent Documents list, and don’t forget to check the Temporary folder.

Additionally, adopting good habits like saving frequently, enabling AutoSave, using cloud storage, and regular backups can save you a lot of trouble in the future. If you still can’t find your document, it might be worth considering other software or professional help for data recovery.

Remember, the key to preventing data loss is to be proactive rather than reactive. So take these steps to safeguard your work and make sure you never have to endure the panic of losing an unsaved Word document on your Mac again.