recover unsaved Word document on Mac

How to recover unsaved Word documents on Mac

First, launch the Microsoft Word Mac version. Next, select the "File" tab and select "Manage Document" from the drop-down menu, then click "Recover Unsaved Documents". A window will show up and display a list of documents that have not been saved yet.

Accidentally close a Word document (.doc or .docx) without saving it on Mac? Do you know how to recover unsaved Word documents on a Mac? According to the unique features of Microsoft Word for Mac, you may find the unsaved item in the AutoRecovery or Temporary folder. If the built-in features of Microsoft Office can't recover unsaved documents, don't be discouraged; you can still use EaseUS Mac data recovery software to restore the unsaved Word document on Mac efficiently. 

Word document loss scenario Ways to recover
✅Word shut down without saving on Mac. I need to recover the unsaved Word document on Mac without AutoRecovery. Recover unsaved Word on Mac with unsaved file recovery software
🔃My Mac shut down and restarted. Word didn't save my changes, and I lost my Word document. Recover unsaved Word files on Mac with AutoRecovery
👊Word crashed and didn't autosave on Mac. Recover Word document that was not saved on Mac in Mac Terminal
📗Accidentally closed Word without saving it on Mac. Recover unsaved Word document on Mac from Recovered Item
🚩I deleted Microsoft Word documents by mistake and emptied the Trash later. How to get back my lost Word files Recover deleted Word on Mac with the EaseUS file recovery tool

Microsoft Word offers standard DOC or DOCX file formats compatible with almost every OS platform. Word 2022, 2020, 2019, 2018...2011 featured auto-saving, which enables us to recover a Word document before we could hit Save. In this article, you will learn four ways to recover Word documents that are not saved when Word is not saving on a Mac

Recover Unsaved Word Documents with Word Recovery Software

Reliable Mac data recovery software - EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard for Mac upgraded with an unsaved document recovery feature that allows any one of you to recover unsaved Word files from Mac with only a few clicks. It supports Mac SD card recovery, USB flash drive recovery, external hard drive recovery, and SSD recovery.

Download this Mac file recovery tool and follow these steps to recover Word and quickly find files that disappeared from Mac.

  1. Step 1. Launch EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard for Mac. Choose the disk where you lost an unsaved file, and click "Search for lost files".
  2. Step 2. On the left side of the scan results window,  click "Type" and "Unsaved Documents". Use filters to choose Word doc files, and you can recover unsaved Numbers documents on Mac.
  3. Step 3. Double-click to preview the selected lost Word files. Then, click "Recover" to recover unsaved Word documents on Mac without auto recovery.

Note: Be careful not to revert to the original location, as this may overwrite the file being recovered.

repair videos on Mac - 1

If you are also interested in how to recover unsaved Word on Windows 10, you can read this article.

recover an unsaved Word file in Windows 10

How to Recover Unsaved Word Documents 2019/2018/2016/2013/2010

This tutorial explains five methods to help you recover unsaved Word from AutoRecover, temporary files, and Document Recovery in Windows 10. Read more >>

If this Mac data recovery program helps you restore the original Word document on Mac, don't forget to share it with your SNS.


Suppose you don't like to use a file recovery program; the three ways below allow you to recover Word on a Mac without software. Based on the features of Microsoft Word for Mac, there are three potential ways to recover lost Word documents on Mac. These methods can also be applied to recover unsaved Excel files on Mac.

Microsoft Word for Mac

Video Tutorial to Recover Unsaved Word on a Mac

Embedded with more useful features in certain collaborative situations than recovering pages of documents, Microsoft Word has become increasingly popular among Mac computers. Office 365 even allows users to create Word files on their Mac. Based on this, more and more Mac users are searching for how to recover unsaved Word.

We provide you with a video tutorial on Mac unsaved Word document recovery. 

  • 00:00 - Options for Word Recovery
  • 00:37 - AutoRecovery file location on Mac in Word
  • 02:04 - Recover Doc from TMP Folder
  • 03:06 - Recover Doc from Mac Trash
  • 03:39 - Mac Recovery Software
Mac unsaved Word document recovery

Perform Mac Unsaved Word Document Recovery with AutoRecovery

The Word for Mac includes an AutoSave option. It is turned on by default. The app will automatically save a copy of an open Word file every a certain minute. Suppose Word freezes while you're working on a document or the computer crashes, but when you open Word again, your document doesn't appear. In that case, you can use the AutoRecovery copy to recover an unsaved Word document with the changes or additions you made in your last Word. The AutoRecovery folder stores the auto-saved Word documents. 

How to recover unsaved Word docs with AutoRecovery

  1. Step 1. Open Finder on your Mac.
  2. Step 2. Select Go from the top Finder menu. Then, go to Folder.
  3. Step 3. Type: ~/Library/Containers/ and hit Enter.
  4. Step 4. Open the AutoRecovery folder, and locate the files that start with the words "AutoRecovery save of". Find the one you want to recover. 
  5. Step 4. Double-click the file. The document now opens in Word for Mac. Click the File menu and select "Save As". 

Recover unsaved Word documents from AutoRecovery folder

Recover Word Documents Not Saved on Mac from the TMP Folder

Accidentally click don't save Word on Mac? The Word for Mac saves a copy of the unsaved document named Word Work File in the Temporary folder. Your Mac also temporarily keeps files in this temporary folder. However, it's not easy for many Mac users to find it.

Steps to recover lost Word documents on Mac by finding Word temporary files on Mac with Terminal:

  1. Step 1. Go to "Applications" > "Utilities" and double-click "Terminal".
  2. Step 2. In Terminal, enter open $TMPDIR, and you will be directed to the TMP folder, which keeps files temporarily.
  3. Step 3. In the TMP folder, find and open the "TemporaryItems" folder. Right-click the desired Word files in it and "Open with..." Microsoft Word.
  4. Step 4. Save the Word file by clicking on "File" > "Save As" and save it to another location.

Recover unsaved Word documents from Temporary items folder

Find an Unsaved Word Document on a Mac from Recovered Items

The Word for Mac temporarily saves documents that the user has not yet saved themselves in a folder named "Recovered items" in the Trash. If there are no recovered files, this folder will not appear.

Steps on how to find unsaved documents on Mac

  1. Step 1. Open "Trash" by clicking its icon on the dock.
  2. Step 2. Look for a folder labeled "Recovered items" and click into it to look for your Word file. If you cannot find it, try the next solution.

How to recover unsaved Word documents on Mac - Recovered items

How to Recover Deleted Word Documents with Mac File Recovery Software

The aforementioned ways are exclusively for saving the file you're working on but suddenly disappear before clicking the Save button. Specifically, the methods will only work for files that are being worked on when they disappear. Hence, if you lost a Word document that already existed by deletion, disk formatting, losing its access, or lost documents because the documents folder is missing on a Mac, you must turn to other ways to recover the original Word document on a Mac.

EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard for Mac is a specialized Mac data recovery software that can scour your hard drive, external hard drive, SD card, or USB flash drive to recover deleted files on Mac. It doesn't matter whether you emptied the trash bin; the deleted file will show up after you use the program to scan your selected drive, and it can even recover an erased hard drive on a Mac.

Note: You can create a backup by clicking the "Disk Backup" on the left first. The software will recover the document from the backup image. It can prevent further damage to your disk and data, making it safer and more reliable.

Step 1. Scan for lost documents

Select the location where your important Word/Excel/PPT/Numbers/Pages documents were lost and click "Search for lost files".

select a location and scan for lost documents on Mac

Step 2. Find lost documents on Mac

EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard for Mac will immediately start a scan on your selected disk volume. Meanwhile, the scanning results will be presented in the left pane. Select "Documents" and you can quickly filter the DOC/PDF/PPT/XLS files you've lost earlier.

choose the lost documents

Step 3. Recover lost/deleted documents

Select the target files and preview them by double-clicking them. Then, click "Recover" to get lost documents back at once.

recover lost documents from Mac

If you found this method helpful enough to recover accidentally deleted Word documents, share it with your friends on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram!


How to Increase the Chance of Recovering an Unsaved Word Document

After suffering from the fear of losing your Word documents, you must not want to experience this kind of situation again. Thus, it's necessary for you to know how to avoid losing Word files. To avoid completely losing your files, you can:

Tip 1. Save the Word Document Whenever You Create a New One

An ever-unsaved Word document exists in the computer's RAM, not on the hard disk. Thus, the chances of saving a Word Document that has never been saved before are slim. Knowing this should give you a hint that you should save the Word document at least once whenever you create a new one.

Tip 2. Change the AutoSave Interval

After you save your Word document, the AutoSave feature will work. To minimize the loss of progress on the file you are working on, you can change the frequency of AutoSave:

Step 1. Open Microsoft Word on your Mac.

Step 2. Go to "Word" > "Preferences" and click "Save" under Output and Sharing.

Step 3. Check all the items under Save Options (Recommended) and change the interval of AutoSave, for example, from every 10 minutes to every 5 minutes.

Following the two tips above will substantially decrease the risk of losing your Word documents. What if you carelessly deleted your important Word files on your Mac? No worry. Try the free method to retrieve permanently deleted Word documents with EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard for Mac.

Recover Unsaved Word Docs on a Mac FAQs

Don't worry if you still have problems on how to recover deleted Word documents or unsaved Word pages on macOS. Read the questions and answers below to get additional help.

1. How to recover unsaved Word documents on Mac without Autorecovery?

There are at least two ways to recover unsaved Word files on a Mac. You can use data recovery software to restore unsaved documents or use Time Machine backup. To restore unsaved documents on Mac with Time Machine:

  • Connect the drive containing your Time Machine backup to your Mac.
  • Click the Time Machine icon and choose Enter Time Machine.
  • Open the folder where the document should be located.
  • Use the arrows on the right side to choose the needed backup version and search for the lost file.
  • Click the needed Word document and click Restore.

2. Can I recover a Word document I didn't save on Mac?

Yes, you can recover an unsaved document as long as other files don't overwrite the Word.

Open its current version and then click Version History to find the earlier version. Try Time Machine or EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard for Mac if this operation fails.

3. Where do I find Autorecover files in Word for Mac?

The AutoRecovery files are in a hidden folder on your Mac. Thus, it is impossible to find such files by simply navigating through Finder. To find the Word documents on your Mac, head to Go > Go to Folder and enter this folder path (replace username with your username):

Users > username > Library > Containers > com.Microsoft > Data > Library > Preferences > AutoRecovery

4. Can I recover an overwritten Word document on a Mac?

Yes, there are multiple ways to recover replaced Word documents on Mac:

  • Use Time Machine backup
  • Turn to iCloud backup
  • Run data recovery software

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Updated by Dany

Dany is an editor of EaseUS who lives and works in Chengdu, China. She focuses on writing articles about data recovery on Mac devices and PCs. She is devoted to improving her writing skills and enriching her professional knowledge. Dany also enjoys reading detective novels in her spare time.

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Written by Tracy King

Tracy became a member of the EaseUS content team in 2013. Being a technical writer for over 10 years, she is enthusiastic about sharing tips to assist readers in resolving complex issues in disk management, file transfer, PC & Mac performance optimization, etc., like an expert.

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