How to Recover Unsaved Word Document on Mac OS X

Learn how to recover unsaved Microsoft word document on Mac OS X EI caption, Yosemite and Mavericks.
Solution 1: Look Auto Recovery folder
Office 2016 autosaved files located in the following address.

  • Click the Go menu in Finder.
  • Select Go to Folder and paste the following file location address.

Note : You may need to rename .doc instead of .docx, if they won’t open properly in MS Word app.
In Older Microsoft Office versions uses Auto recovery folder in different location:-

/Users/user-name/Library/Application Support/Microsoft/Office/Office 2011 AutoRecovery

Note : Replace the user-name with actual user name of your computer. Library folder is hidden in Mac OS X. So Open terminal app and type the following command to unhide library folder.
chflags nohidden ~/Library/
Solution 2: Use Temporary Folder

  1. Go to the Finder, Choose Go -> Go to folder.
  2. Type /private/var/folders and find the files named “Word Work File” inside a “Temporary items” folder.
  3. Option drag folders or files to the Desktop (before dropping them on Microsoft Word’s icon).
  4. Do not delete anything.

Note : Some of the Mac users reported “uFlysoft Data Recovery for Mac” is a best one to recover lost word documents.
Another Method:-
If you can’t find  the file in “Office 2008/09/11 AutoRecovery” folder, use this method.

  1. Open Terminal app via /Applications/Utilities/.
  2. Type the following command
    open $TMPDIR
  3. Press Enter. It will open Temporary files folder. Find and open “Temporaryitems” folder.
  4. Lost word document file name look like “WordWorkfile D-57295.tmp”. Open this file using “TexEdit” app  instead of Word app. Because MS word app does not open .tmp file type.

SEE ALSO : MS Office icons missing on OS X Yosemite? Here’s how to fix it
Solution 3: Look Mac Trash
Unsaved word .doc files sometimes located in Trash. So look Mac Trash for “Recovered items” folder
Also set AutoSave interval
Set AutoSave interval time in MS Word Preferences to avoid feature issues.
auto save interval word mac

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67 responses to How to Recover Unsaved Word Document on Mac OS X

Unbelievable! I am so grateful to have found your site. Sincere thanks. You have saved me hours of time. THANK YOU!!!

Saved me, too. Lost two hours of work, could not find temp files in Finder searches, but the terminal tip worked fine. I lost only 5 minutes of work, as I auto recover every 5 minutes. It is good to have smart people out there.

OMG!!! Thank you so much. I've been working on a university document for a day, suddenly it crashed and I thought I lost everything. I tried to recover the file for 2 hours without any success. I can't thank you enough. You are a star!!!!

THANK YOU SO MUCH!!!! I thought I lost some really important notes – I cannot believe this actually worked – I appreciate it SO MUCH

After about an hour of real crying and heart palpitations, I came to my senses, found "you"…and THANK GOD! (I'm new to Mac OS) I lost my whole term paper for nursing school and did not have time to re-write. SERIOUSLY, THANK YOU!
This has happened before and I didn't know what to do, except start over! But no more, I'm copying, printing, screenshoting, and saving the link to this site right here.

Thank you thank you thank you!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I just spent the past 2 hours googling and downloading a bunch of software that did not help at all. Pretty much ready to give up on life and curl up in a ball and cry. I read comments from blogs that said autorecovery only works if you previously saved the file ahead so any untitled new documents are gone forever. I just stared at my laptop in horror for what seemed like an eternity. Then I started to panic and search frantically for anything and everything on google. Then you saved me. You literally saved my ass and the future of my career. Thank you so much! Still completely scarred for life but thank you thank you

Serious life saver…… Personally i have never done this type of comment BUT you deserve a BIG THANK YOU…….Thank You SOOOOOOO MUCH… after hours of trying various method from google and almost hit my laptop this just worked like magic… are simply a saver…….Thank you Thank you Thank you

This was the only website to accurately tell me where temporary Office 365 files were stored. I knew they had to be somewhere! Thanks!

You just removed a mountain of stress from my life. I thought I had lost almost all my work from the last couple of days!

Any ideas for recovering Word files in OS Sierra?? Your page has held my solution for ages, but I can't find my files now that I'm using Sierra. 🙁
FYI: I'm using Word v.15.32, Microsoft (c) 2017.

oh my GOD you saved my life. no other recovery attempt i found online was working – and your suggestion to rename from .docx was very helpful too..

Tried everything you suggested – nothing. I have Word 2011 but on OSX El Capitan. Got the spinning ball of death when I tried to save the doc, then it disappeared. Came up briefly again, tried to save or at the least, quickly screenshot – disappeared again – this time for good. Hours of work – first time it's happened that Recovery didn't work. I tried all your suggestions to no avail. Any other ideas?

Thank You! Thank You!
I was ready to boo-hoo cry over this lost paper.
Searching using ~/Library/Containers/
was pure magic.

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