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How to Recover Unsaved Word Documents on Windows/Mac/Android/iPhone

February 17, 2023

Thankfully, Microsoft understands that users do not live in an ideal world where accidental deletion and power cuts are not possible. There is an answer to how to recover an unsaved Word document for your use. Hence it comes with auto-recover options to help you recover your files.

But, it can be hard to search in a sea of Word backup files, and one wonders how they could ever recover their desired file. Before you concern yourself with the question, this article is here to help you on your quest.

Recovering Unsaved Documents on Windows

According to research, more than 74% of the population uses Windows. However, that does not mean that Microsoft has yet conquered the problem of panicking people over their lost Word files.

There is not just one reason that contributes to you losing your precious files while using Windows. You may wonder how to recover an unsaved Word document. This terrible situation can be created due to any of the following reasons.

  • Incorrect Saving

  • Windows OS Crashing

  • Accidental Deletion

In any of the above scenarios, even experienced users can panic over a deleted file. Here is how to recover unsaved Word documents and deal with the problem in every situation.

Incorrect Saving

Some users, mostly new to using Word on Windows OS, do not have a habit of saving their files properly. The slightest issues, such as a power cut or a system crash, can lead to a loss of precious data. But the “Recover Unsaved Documents” feature finds the answer to how to recover unsaved Word documents.

Step 1: Open Microsoft Word

Microsoft word default document interface

Step 2: Press on “File” Tab by looking at the top left

Step 3:  Click on the “Info” Menu

Step 4: Press on “Manage Document”

Step 5: Tap on the “Recover Documents” Option

Microsoft Word Info Tab

Step 6: Save the Copy of Your Unsaved Document

Windows OS Crashing

Even with a majority of users by their side, Windows OS is not above crashing without any notice. As a result, Word documents can be lost very easily. In such circumstances, users never find the time or opportunity to save their documents and will worry about how to recover unsaved Word document. These steps can help in case of a sudden crash.

Step 1: Open Microsoft Word

Step 2: Tap “Options” from the “File”

Microsoft Word Options Tab

Step 3: Look for the “Save” Button

Step 4: Find the “Auto Recover File Location”

Microsoft Word Options Tab

Step 5: Click on “Recover Unsaved Documents”

Step 6: Paste the name of the unsafe file ending in .asd

Step 7: Click Open

Accidental Deletion

If you have been using Microsoft Word for a long, you may have experienced the dread of deleting a wrong file by accident. However, just because you deleted it, it does not mean it’s lost forever. You can recover your Word file with a few easy steps.

Step 1: Find the “Recycle Bin” Icon

Step 2: Double-click and look for the deleted file

Step 3: Press right-click on the file

Windows Recycle Bin

Step 4: Select “Restore”

How to Recover Temporary Files on Windows

Many people wonder if it is even possible to recover a temporary file on Windows. Yes, it is possible if you have not cleared the contents of your recycle bin. You can simply locate the desired file in your Recycle Bin and restore it.

Recovering Unsaved Documents on Mac

The Microsoft Word format and its user-friendliness are common amongst users of all operating systems alike. Even besides the presence of Pages, many users still opt to use Office 365 for its universality and ease. You can cut down on your fear of how to recover unsaved Word documents.

Of course, most people worldwide prefer to communicate with DOC or DOCX, and it can be a big problem if you do not have Microsoft Word. Its absence can put your productivity at stake and delay many important things. Many people panic about how to recover unsaved Word documents.

While Mac users love Microsoft Word, they also experience the loss of important files every now and then. However, there is nothing to worry about. You can recover your Word documents on your Mac easily with the right steps after loss for the following reasons.

  • Accidental Deletion

  • Emptied Trash

  • Unexpected Crash

  • Missing Auto Recovery Feature

Accidental Deletion

It is not uncommon to mix one file with another. In such circumstances, it is not uncommon to delete the wrong file. However, all hope is not lost. Accidentally deleted files are the easiest to recover. These steps can help.

Step 1: Find the “Trash” icon on the lower left corner of the screen

Mac Desktop

Step 2: Find the file and click Right

Step 3: Press “Put Back”

Emptied Trash

Some Mac users have the habit of emptying their Trash every now and then. It is a harmless habit unless you have recently deleted a wrong file and are looking for ways to recover it now. There is still hope on how to recover an unsaved Word document with following the right steps.

Step 1: Open the “Time Machine”

Mac Time Machine

Step 2: Locate your document

Step 3: Select the file and retrieve it

Unexpected Crash

Everyone has closed a document that they did not mean to, or sometimes, Mac does the unfortunate trick for you. Unexpected OS crashes are common, and they can shut your document before you get the chance to save it. It can panic you to think how to recover unsaved Word document. These steps can help.

Step 1: Open “Finder” on your Mac

Mac Finder Option

Step 2: Type “library>containers>com.microsoft.word>data>library>preferences>autorecovery”

Step 3: Press “Go”

Step 4: Open the “Auto Recovery Organizer”

Mac AutoRecovery Organizer

Step 5: Rename the file with “.doc” at the end

Mac AutoRecovery Organizer

Step 6: Open the File

Step 7: Use “Save as” option

Step 8: Press Save

Missing Auto Recovery Feature

In the worst-case scenario, you may not be able to find your file in the Trash or through auto recovery. It may seem like the end of hope, but it’s not. There is still hope to recover your unsaved Word document through Temporary Files.

Step 1: Open “Finder”

Step 2: Go to “Applications” then “Utilities”

Step 3: Double Click “Terminal”

Step 4: Open $TMPDIR

Mac Temporary Files

Step 5: Find the document “Temporary Items”

Step 6: Look for your file and open it with Microsoft Word

Step 7: Save the file with your desired name

Need for the Older Version

Sometimes, you may accidentally save a version of the document that may make you panic. After all, it is easy to fail at restoring the older form of your document. However, it is not impossible to think about how to recover an unsaved Word document. A few simple steps can help you on the way.

Step 1: Open the Word Document

Step 2: Select “Browse Version History”

Mac File Options

Step 3: See the right-hand column and see “Version history”

Step 4: Click on “Open Version” to open a copy

Step 5: Click on “Restore”

Mac Document Restoration Options

How to Recover Temporary Files on Mac

Mac OS keeps a lot of temporary folders which contain temporary files for various reasons. Although these temporary folders are usually not meant for use, you may require access to these files to recover a lost Word Document. It is important to think about how to recover unsaved Word documents.

You can access the temporary files on Mac by reaching /tmp and finding your data among a pool of content and caches. Here, you can find many files that may have been accidentally deleted from your folders and Trashed for a temporary period.

Recovering Unsaved Documents on Android

Android devices have made day-to-day life so much easier. Everything you want to access is just one click away. Many people use Android devices to access their Microsoft Word documents. Unfortunately, these files are also easy to lose.

Of course, you can recall a file if it has been backed up by a cloud server. However, not everyone is lucky enough for that luxury. There can be many reasons that your file may not be backed up by your cloud server. It can create a lot of panic. Here are some common reasons for losing Word files on Android.

  • Accidental Deletion

  • System Crash

Accidental Deletion

Android devices do not have a traditional Trash or Recycle Bin. However, there are several ways in which Android Devices offer several backup options to offer security for the data in Android devices. Your Google Drive is one of such amazing facilities. These steps can help you recover your Word document.

Step 1: Open your “Google Drive”

Step 2: You look for “Trash Bin”

Google Drive Trash

Step 3: Find your desired files

Step 4: Click “Restore”

System Crash

The circumstances are not always the best. A sudden system crash is not a surprise in Android devices. In such cases, many people are unable to take the right steps and save their documents in time. Before you fear, here is how you can retrieve unsaved files on Android.

Step 1: Tap on “File Manager”

Android Home screen

Step 2: Access your documents

Step 3: Find Your File

Step 4: Locate the File and Recover

How to Recover Temporary Files on Android

It is easy to recover temporarily deleted or unsaved files on Android. However, many people clear their caches from time to time or let a phone cleaning app do the deed. However, if you are lucky, you can find your temp files in the “Files” folder and recover them easily.

Recovering Unsaved Documents on iPhone

Word documents are used and exchanged by millions of people every day. Many of these people are also iPhone users and often think how to recover unsaved Word document. You may mistakenly forget to save your Word file and lose loads of progress within a few seconds. It can be a terrible feeling.

The best thing to do in such circumstances is to ensure that your iOS device and Word application are updated. In that case, your file may be saved in OneDrive. Here are some reasons that may have been the cause of your loss.

  • Unsaved Document

Unsaved Document

There are countless reasons why one may have forgotten to save a Word file on their iPhone. It is a common problem, especially with new Word users on iPhones. You may feel that your file is lost forever. However, the recovery process is easy with OneDrive.

Step 1: Visit the OneDrive website

Step 2: Select “Recycle Bin”

Step 3: Locate your file

Step 4: Select “Restore”

OneDrive Recycle Bin

How to Recover Temporary Files on iPhone

Fortunately for iPhone users, most apps come with a “recently deleted” folder. These options can help you recover any deleted file within 30 days of deletion. You can retrieve them easily. However, if the files have been deleted from your phone and iCloud, you can log in to the iCloud website and restore your files from the advanced options.

Some Precautions about File Keeping

Losing your precious files can be an irreplaceable loss. You may have lost hours of progress in a few seconds. While the above-mentioned ways can help you recover your file, there are still fair chances that you may never see your file again.

That is why it is best to be careful to avoid loss later and focus on how to recover unsaved Word document. There are a few techniques that can help you keep your Word document safe in every unexpected situation. These practices can save you from many big losses in the future.

Enable Backup during Operation

Taking regular backups is the best way to ensure that you can still access your file if your system hangs or restarts without warning. It can protect you from a lot of panic and hours of work. Take a look at these steps to enable backup on Word during your work.

Step 1: Click the “File” option in Word

Step 2: Press “Options”

Step 3: Press “Advanced”

Advanced section of Word

Step 4: Locate the “Save” feature

Step 5: Use “Always create a Backup” opinion and  and press “OK”

Enable the Auto Save Mode

The auto-save mode is another feature of Microsoft Word documents that prevent users from losing their precious progress. When enabled, the auto-save feature saves your file every few seconds while you work, ensuring that your progress is safe. You can use these steps to turn on AutoSave on your Microsoft Word.

Step 1: Launch “Microsoft Word”

Step 2: Click “File” and select “Open”

Step 3: Look for “OneDrive”

Step 4: Choose the desired subfolder

Save Word File

Step 5: Open the file

Best Alternative to Microsoft Office - WPS Office

Even with all the above-mentioned solutions, the lost file problems with Microsoft Word continue to put hours of work at risk for many people. You can understand the struggle if you have ever faced such a situation. It is best to look for a reliable alternative in such circumstances.

WPS Office is your ideal alternative. It is compatible with multiple platforms and offers many essential tools for free. In addition, WPS Office is also a lot more affordable than Microsoft Office to meet all your productive and creative needs.

Steps to Recover Unsaved Word Documents on Windows/Mac

Step 1: Open the WPS software and click “Menu”

Step 2: Use the “Back and Recover” key

Word backup and recovery with WPS

Step 3: Tap on “Auto Backup”

Step 4: Click on “Local Backup”

Local Backup in WPS

Step 5: Locate the desired file and press “Save”

Steps to Recover Unsaved Word Documents on Android/iPhone

Step 1: Click the folder icon

Step 2: Look for “Retrieve Document” in the “Location” option

WPS home on Android

Step 3: Select the file and press “Save”


Can I recover a document if I closed it without saving it?

It is not uncommon for people to forget to save their document and close it mistakenly. However, people that use the AutoSave feature enjoy a carefree experience while using Microsoft Word. It allows users to restore unsaved documents in unforeseen circumstances.

Fortunately, the AutoSave feature is enabled in Microsoft Word by default. If the feature is disabled, you can still recover the needed Word file through recent documents, manage versions, or temporary files in your device.

Can I recover a document if I deleted it?

It is not uncommon for people to mix one file with another on accident and delete the wrong version. It can make you panic. However, you are in luck if you have not cleared your Recycle Bin/Trash yet. You can easily access your file from there.

You can also locate the Temporary Files in your device to locate the deleted Word Document. Start by looking for “.asd” or “.wbd” extensions in your temporary files. Here on, you can locate your desired file by going through the list.

Can I recover a document if my computer crashes while working on it?

You can expect a lot of hard work in case your computer crashes during important tasks on Microsoft Word. As soon as this happens, many people lose all hope of finding their documents again. However, do not give up on hope yet.

You can access Microsoft Word files from the AutoRecover option. This option lets you decide how often you want your files to be saved. Hence, you will not have to worry about losing your file even if your computer crashes due to unforeseen circumstances.

How to Repair Word Document?

Microsoft Word is used widely, but there are some issues that continue to haunt the users. Corrupted files are one such issue that can hinder your document’s formatting and layout and may annoy you with error messages. These steps can help you fix a corrupted Word file.

Step 1: Click “File,” go to “Open’’, and then “Browse”

Step 2: Select a file and open it

Step 3: Click “Open and Repair”

open and repair option in Word

Recover Unsaved Documents with WPS Office

The above article discusses how you can save hours of work from being wasted due to mistakes or unforeseen circumstances. In such times, you may wonder how to recover unsaved Word document.Yet, it is always better to stay prepared for the worst circumstances with the right platforms and smart steps.

That is why WPS Office is always the first recommendation for users around the world. You can use WPS Office on Mac and Windows to benefit from the best features, free tools, and the carefree bliss of never losing your precious documents.

15 years of office industry experience, tech lover and copywriter. Follow me for product reviews, comparisons, and recommendations for new apps and software.