FIXED! How to Retrieve Unsaved Word Document

Are you so focused on meeting up with a deadline while working on a Word document that you mistakenly deleted the latest file while thinking it was the former one or did Microsoft Word itself suddenly crash without any prior notice? This can be very painful and frustrating, especially if you are about to round up the write-up. Relax! Now that you are here, you will find a lasting solution to how you can retrieve unsaved Word document on your device. 

There are several fast and reliable methods by which you can recover unsaved Word documents and we will be discussing them in this article.

Losing an essential unsaved document is unfortunate, even if you rely on Word for personal or business tasks. Once you don’t save your Word document manually, your file may disappear due to an unexpected crash.

If you’ve been a victim of a lost Word document before now, you may be used to pressing the “Save button ” at intervals. However, not all users have that habit. If your system crashes with an unsaved document open, it’s possible to recover it via several options. 

You may need to try different methods before you find the one that will work for you, but it’s better than just giving up and losing the document forever.

Let’s quickly work on how to recover unsaved Word documents and enable Word’s AutoSave feature to prevent losing documents again.Retrieve Unsaved Word Document

How to Retrieve Unsaved Word Document

Although the make-up of a computer and software is complex, it is still possible to retrieve unsaved Word document through several methods. It’s important to note that not all methods will work in all conditions. You can try out one method to another in case the previous one doesn’t work.Retrieve Unsaved Word Document

Search for the actual document in your computer’s file list

Even though you may not recover the most recent additions done to your Word document, you might still be able to access the original version of your document.

If you are using a PC, follow the step below:

  • Open the Search bar by tapping the Windows key and entering the name of your document.

If you are using a Mac, follow the step below:

  • Tap on the Spotlight icon at the upper right corner of your Desktop.
  • If you see your document in the File list, you can open it by double-clicking it.

I hope you were able o retrieve unsaved Word document via this method. If not, proceed to the next fix below. 

Check for Word backup files

You can never be sure if Microsoft Word has already saved a backup version of your file, even without your prompting. It happens at times. You can open the folder where your document was most recently saved and search for a file ending in .wbk or WBK. This is the file type related to Word backup files.

Were you able to retrieve unsaved Word document by checking for Word backup files? If not, try the following method.Retrieve Unsaved Word Document

Search for Word backup files to recover deleted Word document

Since all Word backup file names have a “.wbk” extension. If you have the “backup copy” option chosen in Word, there may be a backup copy of the file on your PC.

To check if this option is on, follow the steps below:

  • Choose File >> Options >> Advanced.
  • Scroll down to the Save section, and click on Always create a backup copy.

You can check these two folder locations for the backup file if you are using Microsoft 365 subscription:

  • C:\Users\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Word
  • C:\Users\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Office\UnsavedFiles

Note that if you use these paths, you can replace <UserName> with your username.

To locate your Word document’s backup copy, follow the steps below:

  • Choose Start >> type .wbk in the Search box >> and press Enter.
  • If you see any file with the name “Backup of” followed by the name of the missing file, that’s your file.
  • Just double-click the file name to open it.
  • Now, you have retrieved your unsaved Word document. 

If you can’t still locate a backup file for the document, you can proceed with the following method.

Check your Computer’s Recycle Bin

Before your deleted files are removed from your computer’s memory, the Recycle Bin is the site where it’s saved initially. The Recycle Bin can be found on your Desktop if you have a PC and on your dock, if you own a Mac. Double-click on the icon to open it and check the contents of your missing document.

Did you find your Word document in the Recycle Bin? If not, you can try the method below.Retrieve Unsaved Word Document

Make use of the Task Manager to trigger Auto-recovery.

If you have a PC, follow the steps below:

  • Press Ctrl + Alt + Delete simultaneously and tap “Task Manager” to open the Task Manager.
  • Scroll through the Processes tab.
  • Once you see Microsoft Word or Winword.exe in the list, tap on that process and select “End Task.”
  • Perform the above steps until you have removed all Word and Winword.exe processes from the list.

In case you have a Mac, follow the steps below:

  • Tap on the Apple icon in the upper left corner of your Desktop and navigate to “Force Quit.”
  • Choose Microsoft Word and then tap on “Force Quit.”
  • Open Microsoft Word again.
  • You will see a tab labeled “Document Recovery” on the screen’s left side.
  • Search for your missing document there.
  • Once you find it, tap on the document to open it and immediately “Save As,” selecting .docx as the file type.

If you cant still retrieve unsaved Word document after following the steps above, then you can proceed to the next fix below.Retrieve Unsaved Word Document

Look for temporary files in your Computer’s File list

This is similar to the first method mentioned earlier; follow the steps below:

  • Enter “.tmp” in the Search bar and tap on the “Documents” tab.
  • Differentiate the dates of the temporary files to your memory of most recently editing your document.
  • Note that .tmp files are not as probable as regular Word documents; therefore, you must be careful when opening them.

Have you been able to retrieve unsaved Word document on your PC or Mac? If not, you can proceed to the next step below. Retrieve Unsaved Word Document

Search for files with ~ sign in the file name

This is similar to the previous method above, except that you will search for “~” instead of “.tmp.”

Use the Recover Unsaved Documents function in Word

Now, you can potentially save your unsaved documents from permanent removal since Microsoft has added it as an option. You can access this function in Word itself by following the steps outlined below:

  • Open Microsoft Word and go to the File Menu using the header interface at the top of your window.
  • Please tap the Manage Document button to extend its options, then select Recover Unsaved Documents from the drop-down Menu.
  • This will open up a different window where you can easily view a list of unsaved documents known to Word.
  • Choose the unsaved file you want to recover from the displayed list, then tap the Open button.
  • Your file will open in Word; then, you can proceed to save it using either the File Menu or the Ctrl + S keyboard shortcut.

I hope you can now retrieve unsaved Word document on your PC. Well, if not, you can proceed to follow the steps on how to auto-recover deleted Word documents to avoid future disappearance.Retrieve Unsaved Word Document

How to AutoRecover Deleted Word Document

Do you know there’s a unique feature known as the Autorecover that can save you from future data loss or files if used accurately? Well, here’s how you can enable the Autorecover feature while working on a Windows operating system:

  • Navigate to the File tab, then choose the Options Menu from the pane on the left side.
  • A new window will be displayed, listing the many settings of Word.
  • Toggle to the Save tab in the left pane.
  • Choose the Save AutoRecover Information every X Minutes checkbox, then manually type the number of minutes you want in between each saves (Most people recommend between 5 and 10 minutes).
  • Ensure that the Keep the Last AutoRecovered Version if I Close Without Saving option has been chosen.
  • These steps will allow you to recover files in the future, even if Word or your computer encounters an unexpected error.
  • Tap on the OK button to finalize the change.

Now, you have the AutoRecover turned on for the future!

  1. Retrieve Unsaved Word Document

    How to Enable AutoSave on a Word Document

    Ensure you have your Microsoft Word’s AutoSave function turned on for future reference, so you don’t lose your work again. Here’s how to enable Autosave on a Word document:

    • Click on the “File” tab while Microsoft Word is open.
    • Tap on “Options,” located toward the bottom of the Menu.
    • Click on “Save” on the left side Menu in the window.
    • Now, you can set specific settings for saving your documents, which may include enabling the AutoSave option.
    • Tap “OK” once you are done.

    That’s all about enabling AutoSave on a Word document.

  2. Retrieve Unsaved Word Document on Mac

    How to Retrieve Unsaved Word Document on Mac

    If you have the macOS versions of Word, retrieving files such as unsaved Word documents is slightly different. The AutoRecover feature is enabled by default for Mac users, unlike some Windows versions.

    This makes the whole process slightly different but more effective as you won’t have to worry about losing unsaved files, except if the feature was manually turned off.

    To recover deleted Word document on Mac, follow the steps below:

    • Open the Finder window on your Mac.
    • Enter “AutoRecovery” in the search bar and click on the enter key.
    • Clicking the enter button will search your device for the default Word AutoRecovery folder.
    • Or, you could click on the Go option from the header and choose Go to folder (shift + ⌘ + G).
    • Paste in the following path and tap the enter button: (Library/Containers/
    • All the files automatically saved by Word will be seen.
    • Choose all the files you want to recover.
    • Right-click on one of the chosen files and tap the Copy option from the context Menu (You can also use the  + C keyboard shortcut).
    • Go to the location where you want to save your restored files.
    • Right-click anywhere inside the folder, then tap the Paste option (You can use the  + V keyboard shortcut).
    • Wait for your files to complete copying.

    That’s it! You have successfully restored your unsaved documents to a safe place. Now, you can open them and work with them again without fearing they will be deleted.

  3. Retrieve Unsaved Word Document

    All the highlighted methods above on how to retrieve unsaved Word document should help you locate your document. We hope this article was helpful, and now you can recover an unsaved Word document on several platforms.

    We don’t wish you to find yourself in this situation soon, but you know we can never tell. You can always refer to this post if your Word documents get lost, and also, feel free to refer friends to our site.


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