How to recover unsaved Microsoft Office documents?

By Eunice Samson | December 28, 2018 |

greater than 5 minutes

We’ve all been there. We’ve closed an Office application mindlessly, only to realize a few minutes later that we did not save our files. In other scenarios, our computers have crashed unexpectedly right in the middle of completing an important project. You probably stumbled upon this article because you were asking this question:

“Can I recover an unsaved Word document?”

Thankfully, not everything is lost. Whether you’re using a stand-alone version of Office, a Microsoft Office 365 subscription, Office 2016, or any older version of the application, there are still several measures you can take to recover your unsaved document.

You do not have to work on your project from scratch again. In this post, we are going to teach you how to recover an Office document which was not saved. Moreover, we will share some tips on how you can avoid losing essential Office files.

Method 1: Via the Document Recovery Pane

If you were not able to save a document properly, you can follow the steps below to recover it:

  1. Launch the Office app that you used to create the unsaved document. Let’s say you were using Word when you were not able to save your file.
  2. Now, you need to create a blank document.
  3. If Word unexpectedly crashed, leaving your document unsaved, you will see a Document Recovery section in the left pane when you create a blank document.
  4. Click the down arrow on the unsaved document, then select Save As.
  5. Choose a destination folder for recovering your unsaved document.
  6. Click Save.
  7. After completing these steps, open the recovered document.

Method 2: Through the Recover Unsaved Documents Option

Of course, the Document Recovery pane is not available in all situations. In this case, you need to follow these instructions:

  1. Open the Office app that you used to create the document you were not able to save.
  2. Click the Blank Document option.
  3. Follow this path:

File ->Info ->Manage Document ->Recover Unsaved Documents

  1. Now, choose the unsaved document you wish to recover.
  2. Click Open.

Here’s another way of accessing your unsaved documents:

  1. Launch the Office app you used for the unsaved document, then create a blank document.
  2. Follow this path:

File ->Open ->Recover Unsaved Documents

  1. Select the document you want to recover.
  2. Click the Open button.

After completing these steps, remember to save the document you recovered. Do this before adding new content.

Method 3: Via the AutoRecover File Location

You can also access the AutoRecover File location folder to get the document you were not able to save. To do that, follow the steps below:

  1. Open the Office app for the unsaved file.
  2. Once the Office app is open, create a new blank document.
  3. Follow this path:

File ->Options ->Save

  1. Go the Save Documents section, then select the AutoRecover file location path.
  2. Right-click the text you selected, then choose Copy.
  3. On your keyboard, press Windows Key+E to launch File Explorer.
  4. Now, click the address bar on File Explorer and paste the path you recently copied.
  5. Hit Enter on your keyboard.
  6. Look for the .asd file of your unsaved document. Right-click it, then select Open With from the options.
  7. Choose the app accordingly.
  8. Click OK.

Keep in mind that this folder contains the unsaved documents of the app you were using. So, if you want to recover a file that you created using a different Office app, you need to open the right program and follow the same steps.

How to Avoid Losing Essential Office Documents

It is true that Office has features that allow users to recover documents that they were not able to save. However, it does not work all the time. As such, we’re going to share some tips that will help you avoid using the recovery options.

Tip 1: Before Launching Office, Create a New Document

Typically, users launch Office apps with the startup experience. This feature allows you to create a new blank document or use a template. However, when you’re working on a new document, we recommend creating the file manually instead of using the startup experience. Here’s how you can do that:

  1. Press Windows Key+E on your keyboard to open File Explorer.
  2. Now, go to the folder where you want to save the new document.
  3. Right-click anywhere on the folder, then select New.
  4. Select the type of document you wish to create—for instance, Excel, Word, or PowerPoint.
  5. Submit the name of the document, then press Enter.

Once you’ve completed these steps, double-click the file you have just created. Now, you will be able to start with a document that has already been saved. As such, you will lower the risk of losing your important files. By beginning with a saved document, you will worry less about wasting hours of work.

Tip 2: Activate the AutoRecover Feature

By default, the AutoRecover feature should be enabled. However, just to be sure, it is still advisable to activate it manually. Here are the steps:

  1. Open any Office app. In this example, we are going to discuss Word.
  2. Follow this path:

File ->Options ->Save

  1. Go to the Save Documents section, then ensure that the following options are selected:

AutoSave OneDrive and SharePoint Online files by default on Word.

Save AutoRecover information every 10 minutes.

Keep the last AutoRecovered version if I close without saving.

Make sure that there is a valid path for the AutoRecover file location.

Once you’ve completed these steps, repeat them in the other Office apps.

Tip 3: Tweak the Settings for the AutoSave Feature

Usually, Office apps save changes automatically every ten minutes. However, you can adjust the settings to reduce the amount of work you might lose because of the ten-minute intervals. Follow the instructions below:

  1. Launch any Office application. Let’s use Word as an example.
  2. Follow this path:

File ->Options ->Save

  1. Now, go to the Save Documents section, then change the ‘Save AutoRecover information every 10 minutes’ option to 1 minute.
  2. Click OK.

After completing these steps, all the changes you make on your documents will be saved automatically every minute. Consequently, you will be able to lower the amount of work you might lose if something goes wrong with the file or if the app crashes.

Tip 4: Enable Real-Time AutoSave

One of the great features of Office 365 is AutoSave. Activating this will allow you to save content in real time. To enable this feature, you can follow the steps below:

  1. Open an Office app like Word, for example.
  2. Go to the File menu, then click Save.
  3. Submit a name for the file.
  4. Click Save.
  5. Go to the top-left corner of the document, then toggle the AutoSave switch to On.

Tip 5: Installing Auslogics Anti-Malware

There are various reasons why Office apps crash unexpectedly. One of the most sinister culprits is malware. To avoid losing your valuable documents and files, we suggest installing Auslogics Anti-Malware. This tool provides top-notch protection against common and even rare malware and data safety threats. It can detect malicious items you’d never suspect existed, protecting your files from corruption and virus infection.

Do you have a special method for recovering unsaved Office documents?

Join the discussion below and share your tips!

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