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How to Recover LOST or DELETED Word Documents on Mac

April 2, 2020
how to recover word documents mac

It’s four in the morning, you’ve been up all night on Microsoft Word writing a report when your computer crashes or you accidentally delete the novel that you were working on. Before you have a panic attack or throw your computer out the window, we assure you that there are ways to recover your word document. Here are four fool-proof ways in which to recover lost, deleted, or unsaved word documents on your Mac computer.

There are four ways in which you can recover your Microsoft Word thanks to the unique features of Microsoft Office. They are:

  1. Find the unsaved item in the AutoRecovery Folder
  2. Retrieve the documents from the Temporary Folder
  3. Recover from the Recover Item in the Trash
  4. Use a FREE Word file recovery software

Here is a step-by-step guide using these four techniques.

1. How to find an unsaved document in the AutoRecovery Folder

Step 1: Open “Finder” on your Mac, then head to “Go” > “Go to Folder”.

Step 2: Type: ~/Library/Containers/com.microsoft.Word/Data/Library/
Preferences/AutoRecovery and click “Go”.

Step 3Open the AutoRecovery folder, find all the files that start with the words “AutoRecovery save of”. Choose the file you want to recover, rename the file, then add the “.doc” filename extension.

How to recover lost documents in Word for Mac: Word for Mac AutoRecover feature

Step 4Double-click the file. The document should now open in your Word application.

Step 5: Click the File menu and select “Save As“‘. Re-name your file and select a location for the file. Click the “Save” button.

2. Retrieve the Word documents from the Temporary Folder on your MAC

Lucky for MAC users, Word saves a copy of the unsaved document in the Temporary folder. It may be a bit difficult to find it, but with these steps, you are assured to find the document you are looking for.

Step 1Go to “Applications” > “Utilities” and double-click “Terminal”.

Step 2: In the Terminal application, type “open $TMPDIR“. You will now be taken to the Temporary (or TMP) folder. This is where MAC temporarily keeps files.

Step 3Once in the TMP folder, find and click on the folder called “TemporaryItems”. In it, right-click (command+click) your unsaved Word file and “Open with…” Microsoft Word.

Step 4Save your Word file by clicking on “File” > “Save As”. Make sure to save the file in another location!

3. Recover from the Recover Item in the Trash

If the previous two ways did not work, there’s a third way to find your document! On Mac, Microsoft Word temporarily saves documents that you haven’t saved in a folder called “Recovered items”. This folder is located in the Trash. Note that the folder will only appear if there are “Recovered items”.

Step 1: Open “Trash” by clicking its icon on the dock (usually on the bottom right).

Step 2Find a folder named “Recovered items” and select it to find the unsaved Word file. If you cannot find the folder, then you’ll have to try our next solution.

4. Use a FREE Word file recovery software

EaseUS tips and solutions for better working from home - save 30%

The previous three ways that we have outlined can be used for unsaved word files or accidentally deleted files. For any other reason, we recommend using EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard for Mac. This software inspects your external hard drive, hard drive, SD card, or USB flash drive to find any lost document on Mac OS X/macOS. You don’t have to worry if you emptied your trash bin because your file will show up when you use the software.

You can download the FREE version of this software to find your document.

Step 1: Download the FREE software for MAC

Step 2: Select the location where your important Word documents were lost and click “Scan” button.

select the location where your documents lost and click scan

Step 3: EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard for Mac will perform both a quick scan and a deep scan on your selected disk. In the meantime, the scanning results will be presented in the left pane.

scan the selected drive to find lost documents

Step 4: By Path and Type, you can easily filter the Word documents that you lost. Select the desired files and click the Recover Now button to recover them. It’s that easy!

click the recover now button to recover lost documents on your Mac

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If you’ve lost or accidentally deleted a Word document, thankfully, it’s not the end of the world. The steps above are sure to find your document and prevent a disaster.