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<firstimage=”http://www.makeuseof.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/05/word.jpg” />recover word documentThe general consensus is that most mishaps on our working with computers occur because of carelessness and an itchy trigger happy finger. It’s a bitter lesson that’s taught to us while working on documents like MS Word, MS Excel, or any other like MS PowerPoint. The lesson says – save and save early.

Even with the right MS Office etiquette in place, documents disappear from the screen before you can save them. The notorious Windows system crash or your house power on the blink could cause you to lose your work before you can click on save. Lot of times we also tend to close an unsaved document after taking a printout. So, how can you recover that unsaved MS Office document and restore your work (and also save yourself from a hair-tearing apoplectic attack)?

We turn to a little Microsoft Office 2010 feature that lets us recover document drafts in a second.

Bringing Back The Draft

Here’s my open MS Word document that will be taken through some deliberate steps to demonstrate the ‘life-saving’ feature that’s present in MS Word, MS Excel, and MS PowerPoint (MS Office 2010 only).

recover word document

After closing the Word file unwittingly, open up a new MS Word document again. Go to File – Info – Manage Versions. Click on the little dropdown and select Recover Unsaved Documents. In Excel 2010 click on Recover Unsaved Workbooks or Recover Unsaved Presentations if you are in PowerPoint 2010.

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recover word 2010

MS Word opens the location where a copy of the draft resides.

recover word 2010

Now, it’s just a matter of selecting the draft, opening it up as a fresh MS Word document and saving it properly using the Save As button on the business bar at the top of the document; something which we ‘forgot ‘to do the last time around. Copies of unsaved documents are kept for four days and then they are automatically deleted.

recover word 2010

While opening the unsaved document, you can also make use of the Open& Repair feature for troubleshooting documents that might have got corrupted or damaged.

recover word 2010 document

You can browse to the following file locations to open the file manually, depending on your operating system:

Windows 7/Windows Vista: C:\Users\<username>\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\<Application_Name>

Windows XP: C:\Documents and Settings\<username> \Application Data\Microsoft\<App Name>

Saving of drafts takes place automatically in all applications within MS Office. The Auto Recover option kicks in if the document has been open for some period of time. You can easily change the Auto recover interval by going to File – Options – Save. The default is 10 minutes as indicated under – Save AutoRecover Information. I prefer setting it to a more frequent 3 – 5 minutes. Remember that AutoRecover may be a lifesaver, but it is not a substitute for the good habit of regularly saving your file while you are working on it.

recover word document

AutoRecover is a feature to rely on and more often than not it will help save you from all that can go wrong while working on a long document. Microsoft Office 2010 makes it slightly easier to get back an unsaved document than the earlier versions of Office. If you are still on MS Office 2007, check out how you can use AutoRecover How To Autosave Docs with AutoRecover in MS Word 2007 How To Autosave Docs with AutoRecover in MS Word 2007 Read More to come to your rescue. We have a substantial lineup of other MS Word tips for you. Were you aware of this one?

  1. Cybershield
    November 24, 2016 at 1:59 am

    You can also open the *.asd files with MS Word, it will ask how do you want to open this document and select MS Word. Then all of the unsaved files will show up to the left under "Document Recovery" in a column "Available Files".

    I had about 12 open documents and all are recovered fine.

    If you are like me, and have so many documents open at the same time with about 30 Internet tabs open, start using products like OneNote. There's a free app similar to OneNote to use but regardless of crashing, I never lose my data with OneNote. Just back it up

    • Saikat Basu
      November 30, 2016 at 6:44 am

      Many modern app are building this in. There's an editor called Write. And then there's Google Docs of course.

  2. Dorothy
    November 15, 2016 at 6:14 pm

    THank you so much for this post. I was distraught over losing a file that I accidently did not save. It was impossible to recreate it or remember what I wrote. I found this post and followed the directions and after a few tries, VOILA!, I was able to retrieve the file. Whew!Thank you.

    • Saikat Basu
      November 22, 2016 at 5:56 am

      I am always happy to see the effectiveness of this simple post. Thanks for the comment Dorothy.

  3. Dena
    November 14, 2016 at 8:52 pm

    THANK YOU!!!

  4. Kimberley Johnson
    November 11, 2016 at 10:07 pm

    Thank you so much! Working on large school project, thought I lost a large part of it.

  5. kRISTEN
    October 12, 2016 at 2:59 pm

    I CANNOT FIND THE INFO TAB IN MICROSOFT WORD HELPPP?

  6. cheree
    September 27, 2016 at 8:44 am

    THANK YoU THANK YOU THANK YOU !!!!!! YOU saved me
    !!!!

  7. jupitersmoonlanding
    August 18, 2016 at 6:16 pm

    omg annalee851014 you save lives
    thank you :')

  8. annalee851014
    July 26, 2016 at 6:46 am

    Take a deep breath. Everything’s going to be ok.
    Open Finder.
    Mouse up to the main menu bar and select Go.
    Hold down Option on your keyboard and select Library from the drop-down menu when it appears.
    In the finder window, browse to Library > Containers > com.microsoft.Powerpoint > Data > Library > Preferences > AutoRecovery
    Select the file you’re looking to recover and rename with a .ppt extension.
    Move the file to the desktop, or another handy location.
    Reopen, and pick up where you left off.
    Maybe you can try uFlysoft Data Recovery for Mac, it can recover LOST DATA on Mac only in three steps:
    Step 1. Launch the software to scan the device where your files deleted
    Step 2: Preview the scan result files and make mark if it is the one you find
    Step 3: Recover files

    • Saikat Basu
      July 26, 2016 at 3:03 pm

      Taking a deep breath always works :)

      Thanks Anna Lee.

  9. Anne
    July 9, 2016 at 8:10 am

    My document just seems to be lost for ever :'(

  10. Joanne
    July 6, 2016 at 12:21 am

    A lifesaver! Thank you!!!

  11. Central Gospel
    July 4, 2016 at 10:55 am

    I am using MS Word for Mac. I am not able to access the "info" from my file to get access to the "manage version."

  12. confidential
    June 16, 2016 at 5:15 pm

    I will love you for this forever.
    Sometimes life gets really down and when you search through the internet you just trawl through it for ages, you are a life saver...
    ...I never believed in God, but I am guessing that you are him

  13. fahd
    June 9, 2016 at 11:03 am

    it didnt work, i am told there is no file

    • Saikat Basu
      June 12, 2016 at 6:05 am

      Tweak your auto-save interval. Your Word might have crashed before auto-save set in.

  14. Gt
    May 22, 2016 at 6:24 am

    thankssssssss alot!

  15. Pete
    May 2, 2016 at 1:01 am

    Thank you to the power of infinity

  16. kim
    April 4, 2016 at 3:25 pm

    You Saved My A$$!!!! THANK YOU!

  17. Joshua D Lagarde
    March 27, 2016 at 10:27 pm

    I need help locating my document. Following these steps I was still unable to acquire them! PLEASE HELP

  18. EditorSEM
    March 17, 2016 at 7:46 pm

    I was actually aware of this... in fact, I have a shortcut to this folder on my desktop because Word crashes So. Darn. Much.

    Today, however, the strangest thing happened.

    I had 4 documents open--not unusual...One was a log in which I was charting the work I'd done, one was the active document, and the other two were documents I was having to pull other data from. I'd been going along with my work, saving frequently because Word has been particularly tricky lately and I didn't want to lose anything *again* when BAM, out of nowhere, Word hung trying to call one of my AutoText entries. Normally when this happens, it restarts all of the documents and gives me a full list of Document Recovery options. Not this time.

    The only window that closed and restarted was my active document. And because the whole program didn't restart, I wasn't given Document Recovery options at all. Not cool, Word. Not cool. But okay, fine. I clicked over to my desktop and found the shortcut to this folder, complete with 10 versions of the document from this morning (like I said, I was saving often). I opened the most recent one and had still lost about 170 words. Frustrating, but not devastating. I went on with my work, closed out all the documents, and as I closed the final one, I got a notice that I had some unsaved recovery documents I could either save or delete.

    How interesting.

    I told it to save, closed Word, and then reopened it. Lo and behold, there was my document with a more recent time stamp for 'created during autorecovery'. And wouldn't you know, it had those missing 170 words in it.

    I still can't find where that particular file is on my system, though. It's not in this folder, that's for sure. This folder was nothing but a shortcut to the last time I saved the file myself.

  19. Jonah
    March 17, 2016 at 4:08 pm

    you saved my life

  20. fatima noor
    February 16, 2016 at 4:58 pm

    thank youuu so much. you guys made my day. and saved me from working all over again

  21. Roshan Zaid
    January 30, 2016 at 10:58 am

    Thank you soooo much!!!! :*

  22. Danielle
    January 26, 2016 at 2:28 pm

    Awesome! I got distracted by a co-worker while working on something for my supervisor and I closed the document before saving it. Thanks to your directions I was able to recover document! You saved me an hour of retyping and formating!

    • Saikat Basu
      January 27, 2016 at 12:12 pm

      This post is definitely earning its money and what you have described above is a very very common scenario. Probably, next to getting up and going to the water cooler.

  23. Dale Post
    December 16, 2015 at 12:32 am

    This one didn't help, because although I had saved the file just b/4 closing out, it was all messed up with things missing when I re-opened the document. I was hoping this tool would help me recover an older "autosave" version. Oh well.

    • Saikat Basu
      December 16, 2015 at 11:05 am

      Maybe, your auto-save interval needs a bit of tweaking.

  24. Mohemos
    December 14, 2015 at 3:03 am

    Thank you so much!!!!!! You just saved me a huge headache.

  25. justin
    December 9, 2015 at 9:00 pm

    not there... i've been working on a midterm assignment and left it open over night. the next morning it was gone. I seen it auto saving so i wasnt realy worried about it. Of course its gone and no trace of it anywhere...

    windows 10

    • Belle
      January 10, 2016 at 11:13 pm

      had the same issue :(. not there either

    • David Hepburn
      January 22, 2016 at 9:34 am

      Same here. It's disappeared down the Swannee

  26. Kirstine
    December 8, 2015 at 11:41 am

    Thank you for this!!!
    You helped me retain my dignity at work, I almost cried when realising I'd hit the "Don't Save" ;)

  27. casey
    December 1, 2015 at 1:49 am

    THANK YOU SO MUCH! YOU LITERALLY SAVED ME AND MY HISTORY HOMEWORK :)

  28. Isser Sanders
    November 22, 2015 at 5:39 pm

    Good Lord I thought I lost the last 3 freaking hours after an accidental delete without saving

    FYI Those with Word 2013 just go to Info on a blank document and click "manage Versions"

    which is the third square box on the left side. Wow!

  29. Kolby Wade
    October 13, 2015 at 2:33 am

    You are a lifesaver thank you SO MUCH

  30. Alahjandro Dagrate
    September 26, 2015 at 4:48 am

    Another method:
    1. go to the search bar in your folders
    2. type in "%appdata%"
    3. click on "microsoft"
    4. Click on "word"
    5 go to every document on this file to try to find your unsaved document

    • John Nelson
      October 29, 2015 at 7:44 pm

      This is outstanding. Thank you.

      (FYI - I find that with Word 2016, within the "%AppData%\Word" folder are subfolders corresponding to different documents I had been working on. This helps to distinguish between files with similar names.)

    • Usman Mirza
      November 24, 2015 at 3:34 pm

      Very helpful! thank you very much.

    • Tes
      December 22, 2015 at 7:16 am

      You are a life saver, thank you.

    • faiz
      July 19, 2016 at 6:17 pm

      THANKKKK GODDDD YOU'RE MY LIFESAVER!!!

  31. Joe Balian
    September 14, 2015 at 7:18 pm

    Thank you so much! That just saved my debate 1AC!!!!!

  32. Niamh Josephine Hunter
    July 22, 2015 at 4:05 pm

    THANKS DUDEEEEEEEE!!!!! XXX <3

  33. Au Nuñez
    June 30, 2015 at 10:06 am

    holy crap !! thank you freaking so much it really save my report !!! Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious :))

  34. Carlos Vazquez
    June 29, 2015 at 1:58 am

    Hi!!! Thanks a lot!! Iwas doing a work for my Master degree...I was about finish and Word got freeze!! I did recovered my last..last progress of my work,

  35. msavage2000
    June 24, 2015 at 8:18 pm

    BAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAZIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIINGAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!
    Dude, you have saved my company a monitor, keyboard, chair, and a few stitches! Thanks for the one thing I couldn't find online right away about recovering an unsaved file!!
    MANY THANKS and a Beer on me if your ever in Louisville!

    • Saikat Basu
      June 25, 2015 at 8:37 am

      Quick frankly one of the best comments I have read in some time. That could be the beer :)

  36. Dennis O'Neal
    June 23, 2015 at 3:37 am

    Didn't work. Any other suggestions?

  37. Shelley
    May 14, 2015 at 2:24 pm

    thank you so much - you saved my sanity today!

  38. H
    May 11, 2015 at 6:32 pm

    OMG this just saved my life!! All my exam notes gone with a click of a button and back within the hour. Phew!!!!!

  39. Phil
    May 6, 2015 at 11:55 am

    Saikat, thanks so much. I found my unsaved document finally using C:UsersAppDataRoamingMicrosoft .

  40. Marc
    May 4, 2015 at 4:54 pm

    My turn! Thanks so much. I was just one page, but now I will remember. And I bookmarked this web page.

    Cheers!
    M.

    • Saikat
      May 5, 2015 at 3:01 am

      Thanks Marc. Glad it helped.

  41. Olaf Burch
    April 11, 2015 at 4:00 pm

    Definitely will work to recover an unsaved MS Word 2010 document. But if I face the same problem in higher or below version of MS Word then there will be any recovery option available to sort out this problem. I faced inaccessible Word document problem in Microsoft Word 2003 and follow this http://www.mytechlogy.com/IT-blogs/7045/how-to-open-inaccessible-document-in-microsoft-word-2003 to access my corrupted file. If you know any others please suggest me.

  42. jobyk
    April 10, 2015 at 11:25 am

    wow, this was so helpful! Thank u for putting this out there! I couldn't get the manage version option but I found the file through the user/app data option. You saved me!

  43. Pratima
    April 10, 2015 at 4:18 am

    I was sent a word doc by mail. when I opened it I noticed it said read only, but word allowed me to make edits. In the meantime my computer froze and I had to completely power down. Si is there any way for me to recover those edits? I don't see any files with the recovered unsaved documents button...

    • Saikat
      April 10, 2015 at 1:45 pm

      If you don't see the files, then unfortunately no. Probably, the auto-save didn't have time to kick in before the computer shut down.

  44. JFisher
    March 26, 2015 at 5:53 pm

    "Was the “Keep the last autosaved version” check box selected?"

    Yes

  45. JFisher
    March 25, 2015 at 5:54 pm

    I have tried and tested this 8 ways from Sunday... and still have yet to find a recovered document or any previous versions of the document I started with. Using Word 2010 .

    I set auto save timer to 1 min, began typing, minimized for several minutes, typed a few more lines, repeat for a good 15 minutes. Close doc, answer no to saving. Open Word, no trace of the draft I started with.

    Is there some other mystical procedure required to trigger the autosave feature? What am I missing here?

    • Saikat
      March 26, 2015 at 5:26 am

      Was the "Keep the last autosaved version" check box selected?

  46. Primvon
    March 25, 2015 at 3:09 pm

    THANKS A TON MY SAVIOR
    YOU CAN FREELY USE MY BODY
    to be your pillow, cushion or something
    THANKS A LOT

  47. Melissa
    March 18, 2015 at 11:14 pm

    This just saved me from losing a days worth of work. Thank you so much! So much love for you right now

  48. elizabeth
    March 17, 2015 at 4:48 am

    i kind of love you right now. thanks a billion :-)!

  49. Princess Williams
    March 13, 2015 at 7:21 pm

    THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU!!!!!! I CAN KISS YOU!!! THANK YOU!!!

  50. lillian
    February 26, 2015 at 12:54 am

    bless your soul this worked for me! i though i lost everything, highly appreciate it.

  51. funmi
    February 24, 2015 at 7:32 pm

    Hhmmm
    Glad to see I am not alone.
    I almost cried when it happened to me today.
    A legal opinion I sent hours editing and writing wasn't saved cos I thought I had saved it earlier.
    I was literally sweating and opening anything that looked similar to it but nope! It was gone.
    However thanks to google I got s solution.
    So relieved.
    But isn't four days a bit small.
    What if you don't discover it until later?

    • Saikat
      February 25, 2015 at 4:21 am

      The way to avoid those tears is to just get into a habit of saving those documents! Isn't it. But then this article wouldn't have got so many clicks :)

      Four days is quite a lot in my opinion. Usually, when we don't save a document it stays on the top of our minds. Doesn't it.

  52. X
    February 21, 2015 at 5:13 am

    Thank You! It Works!

  53. Shark
    February 20, 2015 at 1:33 am

    THANK YOU SO MUCH I WAS TYPING A PAPER AND ACCIDENTILY PRESSED CTRL INSTEAD OF SHIFT AND THEN PRESSED W AND I WAS LIKE FOCK IM SCREWD

  54. Jeremy
    February 19, 2015 at 5:04 am

    Thank you so much.

  55. Elle
    February 9, 2015 at 7:14 pm

    Wow, thank you--you just saved me an hour's worth of work!

  56. hc
    February 4, 2015 at 4:35 pm

    There's a place for you in heaven broth.

  57. manny
    January 30, 2015 at 9:45 pm

    i mistakenly clicked the don't save bottom on work i have done for hours. it has no file name. I'm using a MAC
    Any help?

    • Saikat
      January 31, 2015 at 2:27 pm

      The process is similar. I am unsure about the exact path in a Mac. Maybe, you can ask in our Answers section.

  58. manny
    January 30, 2015 at 9:44 pm

    i mistakenly clicked the don't save bottom on work i have done for hours. it has no file name.
    Any help?

  59. Leon
    January 25, 2015 at 11:21 pm

    thanks so much. saved my life. accidentally exit word without saving the exam notes i prepared for hours.

    • Saikat
      January 26, 2015 at 6:51 am

      You are welcome Leon. There are some tips that are must-haves in our emergency toolkit. This is one of them.

  60. Bill M
    January 15, 2015 at 8:02 pm

    This is such a life- and time-saver! Thanks. The process was soooooooo simple in Word 2010.
    Bill

    • Saikat
      January 16, 2015 at 4:37 am

      Thanks Bill. The little features that help us BIG are the best :)

  61. Bella
    January 15, 2015 at 8:01 am

    THANKS!!!!!! You are a life saver

    • Saikat
      January 15, 2015 at 8:27 am

      It's nearly four years since I wrote this. Since then, I have got married and have had more experiences! Glad to know it's still helping out our readers :)

  62. Iraj Pourali
    January 6, 2015 at 1:25 pm

    Excellent ; Many Many Many thanks

  63. Shai
    January 1, 2015 at 3:04 pm

    Thanks,
    Its help me so much

  64. david
    December 12, 2014 at 2:33 am

    thank you so much you are a saviour man i thought i lost all my hours of work

  65. Smiles_across_miles
    September 6, 2011 at 8:16 pm

    When i click Recover Unsaved Documents the folder of unsaved files opens ut its empty....my required document is not in there...=(

    • Saikat Basu
      September 15, 2011 at 6:54 am

      It's not a hidden file but just try refreshing the folder. You can try searching for the file using Windows Search. Follow the steps mentioned here on this Support article.

  66. Paul D Pruitt
    July 25, 2011 at 2:25 pm

    Erin,

    Try using Chrome or FireFox and then install Lazarus: http://lazarus.interclue.com/.  You need to keep the installation up to date.

    I also know with Chrome if you shut down a tab with text in it you can right click on any remaining tab and choose "Reopen closed tab" and the closed tab, say of Facebook, should reappear with your typed text still there...

  67. Erin Thornton
    July 24, 2011 at 10:38 pm

    so anyone know what to do if you are writing on a website such as faceebook and accidently closed it?

    • Tina
      July 25, 2011 at 11:43 am

      Erin,

      I'm afraid if your browser is not set to automatically temp-save these entries for you, then you can not do anything once the text is gone.

      This would be a question for MakeUseOf Answers and I think you did submit it and I couldn't publish it.

      If you would like to know how to set up your browser so that this won't ever happen to you (again), feel free to post a new question and do include which operating system and browser, including which versions, you are using.

    • JFisher
      March 25, 2015 at 4:48 pm

      Never start a long post in any browser based editor... always type the desired post in something as simple as Notepad...when finished, copy paste.

    • JFisher
      March 25, 2015 at 5:52 pm

      I have tried and tested this 8 ways from Sunday... and still have yet to find a recovered document or any previous versions of the document I started with. Using Word 2010 .

      I set auto save timer to 1 min, began typing, minimized for several minutes, typed a few more lines, repeat for a good 15 minutes. Close doc, answer no to saving. Open Word, no trace of the draft I started with.

      Is there some other mystical procedure required to trigger the autosave feature? What am I missing here?

  68. Txchief
    June 22, 2011 at 12:51 am

    anything like this in Mac 2011 version

  69. Ankur
    June 19, 2011 at 3:39 pm

    thats a useful share 

  70. Pedro Parkero
    June 19, 2011 at 1:18 pm

    "Manage versions"? You mean Word 2010 can track changes in the document and save the in different autorecover files? That's cool if ever I mistakenly overwrite a file...

    • Saikat Basu
      June 20, 2011 at 6:26 am

      True. You can manage different versions of the document and also get to
      compare different auto saved versions. You can review different
      versions, delete or recover previous auto saved versions. You can literally use it to track all the changes made to the document while editing.

    • ryan
      May 18, 2015 at 2:49 pm

      I checked recover unsaved files, thrash bin and i havent had any luck

    • ryan
      May 18, 2015 at 2:50 pm

      i need help i havent had any luck on anything including recover unsafed files and trash bin

    • Saikat
      May 18, 2015 at 3:33 pm

      Maybe, Word couldn't autosave the document before the program closed. The default is 10 minutes and it just seems a bit too long to me. Personally, taking my typing speed into consideration, I set it at 5 min.

  71. Socrtwo
    June 18, 2011 at 3:28 am

    It's only Word 2010 not Word 2007 or 2003.

  72. Priyanka Bhowmick
    June 18, 2011 at 3:20 am

    nice but I can't see the 'File' option in Word. 

    • Roozbeh
      June 19, 2011 at 8:29 am

      On Word 2007 you can click on the MS Office logo on top right position of the screen instead of File tab on MS 2010. 

  73. Socrtwo
    June 18, 2011 at 2:08 am

    Wow, nice work.  Didn't know about recovering unsaved documents is now a feature in MS Office and it's my business to know about data recovery from MS Office.

    • Saikat Basu
      June 18, 2011 at 5:03 am

      Well, it was possible in 2007 too but in a more roundabout way. 2010 has made the process a lot easier. Both depend on the Auto Recover function.

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