How to Recover an Unsaved Word Document on a Mac

By Marshal M. Rosenthal

Microsoft Word on a Mac computer includes an AutoRecovery option. This is turned on by default when you install Word on OS X so that the app will automatically save a copy of an open document every 10 minutes. If Word freezes while you're working on a file, or if the computer crashes, you can find and use the AutoRecovery copy after you restart Word. This is a way to recover work you haven't saved, up to the point of Word's last automatic save.

Step 1

Press "Command" and "N” simultaneously to open a new Finder window on the Mac’s screen. In the left pane, under devices, choose the entire computer as the location to search. Enter “AutoRecovery” in the Search field.

Step 2

Select the file you want from the list of files returned by the search. The names of auto-recovered files begin with “AutoRecovery save of” followed by the same name as the Word document that was lost.

Step 3

Double-click the recovered file. The file is opened in Microsoft Word.

Step 4

Click the “File” menu and select “Save As.” Type a new name for the file into the “Name” field at the top of the dialog box that appears on the screen. Select a folder for the file and click the "Save" button.

Tips & Warnings

  • You can change how often AutoRecover saves your documents. To do this, open Word Preferences from Word's File menu.