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

Recovering an unsaved Word document on a Mac can be a real lifesaver. If you ever face this issue, don’t panic. Mac’s built-in features, like AutoRecover and the Temporary folder, offer remedies to retrieve your lost work. This guide will walk you through each step to recover your unsaved documents efficiently.

How to Recover Unsaved Word Document on Mac

In this section, you’ll learn how to find and restore an unsaved Word document on your Mac using AutoRecover and the Temporary folder. These methods take advantage of built-in Mac tools and Microsoft Word’s features.

Step 1: Open Finder

The Finder is your gateway to accessing all your files on a Mac. You’ll need it to locate the folders where your unsaved Word document may be hiding.

To open Finder, click the blue and white smiley face icon in your Dock. This will open a window where you can start your search.

Step 2: Navigate to the AutoRecover Folder

The AutoRecover folder is where Microsoft Word automatically saves copies of your document as you work on it.

Go to Finder, click "Go" in the menu bar, and select "Go to Folder." Type "~/Library/Containers/" and hit Enter. You should see files saved automatically by Word.

Step 3: Search for Your Document

Locate the file that matches the name or timestamp of your lost document. The files may not look familiar, so check the most recent ones first.

Once you find the right file, double-click it to open it in Word. You can then save it back to its original location.

Step 4: Checking the Temporary Folder

Macs store temporary files, including unsaved Word documents, in a folder that you can access through Finder.

Go back to Finder and select "Go" in the menu bar again. This time, type "/private/var/folders" and hit Enter. Navigate through the folders to find the temporary files related to Word.

Step 5: Use Word’s Recovery Options

Microsoft Word often prompts you with recovery options if it crashes or if you close it without saving.

Open Word and see if it offers to recover any unsaved documents. The AutoRecover feature will often bring up a list of recent unsaved files upon reopening the application.

Once you’ve completed these steps, you’ll either have your document back or know that it may be permanently lost. Always remember to save your work frequently to avoid future issues.

Tips for Recovering Unsaved Word Document on Mac

  • Enable AutoSave: Ensure AutoSave is enabled in Word to minimize the risk of losing your documents.
  • Regular Backups: Use Time Machine or another backup solution to keep copies of your files.
  • Frequent Saving: Make a habit of saving your work every few minutes.
  • Use Cloud Services: Store your documents on cloud services like OneDrive or iCloud, which often have their own recovery options.
  • Check Trash: Sometimes, documents accidentally get moved to the Trash. Always check there first.

Frequently Asked Questions

What if I can’t find the AutoRecover folder?

Make sure you’re typing the path correctly and try again. If it still doesn’t work, you may need to enable the visibility of hidden folders in Finder.

Can I recover files from Word Online?

Word Online has its own AutoSave feature. Check your OneDrive for any unsaved documents.

Is there any software to help with recovery?

Yes, third-party recovery software like Disk Drill can sometimes recover unsaved or lost documents.

What if Word didn’t prompt me with a recovery option?

The document might not have been auto-saved. Check the AutoRecover and Temporary folders manually.

Why can’t I find my document in the Temporary folder?

Temporary files are often deleted automatically. Promptly check for unsaved documents to improve your chances of finding them.


  1. Open Finder
  2. Navigate to the AutoRecover Folder
  3. Search for Your Document
  4. Check the Temporary Folder
  5. Use Word’s Recovery Options


Recovering an unsaved Word document on a Mac doesn’t have to be a nerve-wracking experience. By following these steps, you can often find your lost work quickly and efficiently. Remember to take preventative measures like enabling AutoSave and making regular backups. These simple actions can save you a lot of headaches in the future.

If you frequently work with important documents, becoming familiar with recovery tools and practices is a must. Think of it like having a fire extinguisher in your kitchen—it’s better to have it and not need it than the other way around. Stay proactive, and you’ll minimize the risk of losing your hard work.

For more tips on how to keep your digital life organized and secure, check out our other articles. And if you found this guide helpful, why not share it with others who might benefit? Happy document recovering!