Wondershare Recoverit

Word Document Recovery

  • Recovers deleted or unsaved Word files effectively, safely and completely.
  • Handles 500+ data loss scenarios, including accidental deletion, system crash, hard drive failure, virus attack, etc.
  • Recovers documents, photos, videos, and other 1000+ file types with a high success rate.
Recover Now Recover Now Recover Now Learn More >

How To Recover a Word Document That Was Not Saved Easily

Amy Dennis
Amy Dennis Originally published Jan 10, 24, updated May 14, 24
I lost a small but important part of my graduate thesis. I'm usually decent about saving things but god knows why, I hadn't saved this document and it's gone. I'm using MS Word 2007 and I'm working with Windows 7. Is there any chance my computer auto-saved it somewhere I can retrieve it from? Thank you so much. -- Reddit

So, you've been working all night to finish an important project, and now all that is lost just because you forgot to hit the Save button. Sounds unfair, right? With all the modern technology advancements, shouldn't your Word be able to do things like that for you?

Guess what? It kind of does. Microsoft Word has several life-saving features that automatically save your progress, back up new document versions, and auto-recover lost ones.

Here's where to find them and how to recover an unsaved Word document.

Table of Content
    1. Find the Unsaved Word Documents Manually on the AutoRecover Folder
    2. Go Through Word Backup Files
    3. Use the Recover Unsaved Documents (AutoSave) Feature
    4. Use Word Document Recovery
    5. Extract the Unsaved Word Document From Temporary Files
    6. Restore Word Documents From the Recycle Bin
    7. Recover Deleted/Unsaved Word Documents Using Professional Recovery Tool
    1. Save Regularly
    2. Enable AutoRecover and AutoSave
    3. Set Up Backups

Can I Recover an Unsaved Word Document?

Yes, Word can recover an unsaved document in more ways than one.

Microsoft Word has been a staple in the digital writing world for a long time, so it's only natural that you can rely on its developers for things like auto-recovery. As announced in the intro, Word has several helpful features for when you find yourself in trouble:

  • AutoRecover - AutoRecover is a feature that automatically saves a copy of your document at regular intervals, typically every 10 minutes. In case of a crash or accidental closure, you can recover the latest AutoRecover version.
  • Backup – Microsoft Word has a built-in backup tool that can save a backup copy of your document each time you save it. To enable this feature, go to File > Options > Save, and check the"Always create backup copy" option. The backup copy will be saved in the same folder as the original document, with the".wbk" extension.
  • AutoSave - AutoSave is available for Office 365 subscribers and saves your document automatically every few seconds while you're working on it. This feature is particularly useful for preventing data loss in the event of a crash or power outage. To use AutoSave, ensure it is enabled in the top-left corner of the Word window.
  • Document Recovery - In some cases, Word may detect that a document was not saved properly and provide a Document Recovery option when you restart the program. If available, the Document Recovery pane will appear on the left side of the Word window, allowing you to view and recover unsaved documents.

There's more good news in case this is the first time you've heard about all this and if AutoSave hasn't been set up at the time when you've lost your document. There are several other ways to return a document you didn't save, so don't worry. Your work wasn't in vain.

How To Recover Unsaved Word Documents

There's probably a deadline you have to meet, so let's get down to business. You wanted to know how to recover an unsaved Word file by using Microsoft Word (Word 2007, Word 2010, Word 2013, Word 2016, Word 2019, and Word 2021). Here's a complete list of ways to try.

Method 1: Find the Unsaved Word Documents Manually on the AutoRecover Folder

AutoRecover is a convenient Word feature that automatically saves new versions of your document while you're working on it. You can find these back-ups in the AppData folder:

  1. Press the Windows + R to open the Run dialog box.
  2. Type in %AppData% and click OK to access the AppData folder.
    access appdata from run
  3. Open the Microsoft folder and look for the folder titled Word.
    find the microsoft folder in appdata
  4. No luck? Go back to the AppData folder and enter the Local folder.
    find the local folder in appdata
  5. Open the Microsoft folder and look for Office > UnsavedFiles.

There's another way you can access unsaved Word documents if this doesn't work. The AutoRecover feature saves files in ASD format, so you need to look for the .asd extension:

  1. Open File Explorer and type in .asd in the Search box.
  2. If there are any files with the ASD extension, you're in luck.
    search for asd files in file explorer
  3. Go back to Word and click on File > Open > Browse.
    browse for asd files in word
  4. Search for the ASD file in the location you've found it in.
  5. Next to the Image name, change the file type to All Files.
    change file type to all files
  6. Right-click the .asd file and click Open to launch it in Word.

Method 2: Go Through Word Backup Files to Recover the Unsaved Document

While the AutoRecover feature uses the ASD format, Word Backup saves backup copies in the WBK format. If the previous method has left you empty-handed, try this one:

  1. Go to File Explorer and type in .wbk in the Search box. Press Enter.
  2. Are there any WBK files with the Backup off in the Image name?
  3. If yes, you simply double-click the file to open it in Word.
    search for wbk files in file explorer

Method 3: Use the Recover Unsaved Documents (AutoSave) Feature

While manual work is usually worth the trouble, in this case, there's a shortcut that might be able to take you where the previous two methods didn't. The easy way to search unsaved Word documents is straight from Word, where there's an option to recover potentially lost Word files:

  1. Open Word on your computer and look under Info in the main menu.
  2. Click the Manage Document icon and then Recover Unsaved Documents.
    recover unsaved documents in word
  3. Select the file you want to recover and click the Open button.
    open unsaved documents in word
Try Wondershare Recoverit to Recover Unsaved Word Document

article-safe-itemSecurity Verified. Over 7,302,189 people have downloaded it.

Method 4: Use Word Document Recovery

Document Recovery is another thoughtful Word feature that can help you retrieve an unsaved Word document in the event of an abrupt app or system crash. If Word stops responding for any reason or your computer shuts down, the document will be the next time you launch it.

  1. Restart your PC and reopen Word. Look to your left.
  2. The autosaved file will appear under Document Recovery.
    open unsaved word from document recovery
  3. Click on the file and choose Open or Save As... from the list.

Method 5: Extract the Unsaved Word Document From Temporary Files

While you're working on a document, your computer keeps a temporary file and stores all relevant information about the in progress in there. It's called temporary because, in most cases, these files get deleted when the user completes and saves the permanent file.

It means that there's a good chance you'll be able to find your unsaved Word document in the Temporary Files folder on your computer. Here's how to look for TMP files:

  1. Press the Windows + R to launch the Run dialog box.
  2. Type in %temp% and click OK to access the Temporary Files folder.
    access temporary files from run
  3. If you find the Word document that was not saved there, remember its exact location.
    find unsaved word documents in temporary files
  4. In Word, select File > Open > Browse, and find the lost document.
  5. Don't forget to change the file type to All Files to reveal TMP files.
  6. Locate the .tmp file for the unsaved Word document, select it, and click Open to open it in Word.

Method 6: Restore Word Documents From the Recycle Bin

Are you 100% certain you haven't deleted the Word file you're looking for? If it ended up in the Recycle Bin, you can quickly get it out. However, you need to find it first.

  1. Go to your Recycle Bin and search for the accidentally deleted Word file.
  2. When you find it, pay attention to its name so you can locate it later.
  3. Right-click on the icon and choose the Restore option from the list.
    restore word files from recycle bin
  4. Go to the Start Search box or File Explorer and search the file by name.

Method 7: Recover Deleted/Unsaved Word Documents Using Professional Recovery Tool

It may be hard to hear, but there are situations where none of these methods can help. For one reason or another, sometimes files get lost through a series of unfortunate events, and you can't find them no matter how hard you try. That's where Wondershare Recoverit shines.

Wondershare Recoverit
  • Recovers deleted or unsaved Word documents due to system crash, disk corruption, virus attack, and more.
  • Repairs corrupted Word document automatically during the preview process.
  • Recovers data from 2000+ storage media, including HDDs, SSDs, USB drives, SD cards, etc.
recoverit boxrecoverit logo

It's a professional data recovery tool that can recover your deleted or unsaved Word document when everything else fails. It's very easy to use, despite its complex search algorithm:

  1. Download Wondershare Recoverit from the official website and install it on your PC.
  2. After launching the app, select the disk or location where your unsaved Word document was once located.
    select a location to start word recovery
  3. Scanning will start immediately. You can follow the progress on the screen until it's done.
    scan for unsaved or deleted word documents
  4. Wondershare Recoverit will search for all kinds of files, but you can narrow down the results by file type. For example, if you didn't save your Word document, you can examine the Unsaved Files category. If you accidentally deleted your Word files, you can look under the Document file type.
    search word files by file type
  5. When you find your unsaved Word document, click on it to preview the first few pages. If the file is corrupted, the program will automatically repair it.
    preview recoverable word documents
  6. If everything's there and you want to keep it, click on Recover and save it to your PC.
    recover and save word documents
Free Download
Free Download

How To Prevent Losing Word Documents in the Future

Now that you've been through thick and thin trying to figure out how to recover a Word document that was not saved, it's time to look back and reflect on your mistakes. Is there anything you could have done differently? Here's how you can prevent losing Word files in the future:

Tip 1. Save Regularly

save the latest changes in word

Remembering to save a Word document while working on it is easier said than done, but it's more than worth your effort. For example, you can do it after each paragraph or section. If clicking the Save button all the time breaks your flow, you can use the keyboard shortcut Ctrl+S.

Tip 2. Enable AutoRecover and AutoSave

If you still haven't enabled the AutoRecover or AutoSave feature, do that now. Follow these steps:

  1. Open Word and navigate to the File tab.
  2. Go to Options and click Save on the left.
  3. Tick the box for Save AutoRecover information.
  4. Set to autosave files every 10 minutes or less.
    enable autosave feature in word
  5. Also, tick the box next to Keep the last autosaved version if I close without saving.
  6. You can also change the AutoRecover file location if you want to.
  7. After you've made all the necessary changes, click the OK button.

Tip 3. Set Up Backups

Whether we're talking about Word documents or something else, you should always back up important files. If you don't have a backup system, you can either set up cloud storage like OneDrive or Google Drive or invest in an external storage device.


Losing a critical Word document can be traumatic, and it can happen at any moment. Luckily, you can recover a Word document you didn't save. Take a look at the Recover Unsaved Documents feature in Word or search for it manually in Start or File Explorer.

If it turns out that you need a more robust solution, look no further than Wondershare Recoverit. Professional recovery can bring back all types of files, including unsaved or deleted Word documents. After you find your lost files, set up AutoSave to prevent losing them again.

Free Download
Free Download

FAQs About Unsaved Word Document Recovery

  • How do I recover an unsaved Word document from a crashed computer?
    If your computer has crashed while you were working in Word, the latest version of the document should be waiting for you under Document Recovery on the left when you launch Word again. If there's nothing there, look for your document under File > Document Management > Recover Unsaved Documents.
  • How do I recover an unsaved Word document on a Mac?
    The easiest way to recover an unsaved Word document on a Mac computer is from Finder. When you open Finder, search your entire computer for AutoRecovery. Unsaved Word documents will have Image names that start with AutoRecovery save of. Double-click the file to open it in Word.
  • Where are temporary Word files stored?
    Temporary files created while you're working on a document in Word are stored in C:\Users\AppData\Local\Temp. If you've closed a Word document without saving it and can't find it anywhere, there's a good chance it will be stored there.
  • Can I restore a permanently deleted Word document without a backup?
    If you've accidentally deleted a Word document and you don't have a backup copy of it, you can recover it using Wondershare Recoverit.
    1. Download and install Wondershare Recoverit.
    2. Open Recoverit and choose the location of deleted Word document.
    3. Click Scan to scan for deleted files.
    4. Find and preview the deleted Word document.
    5. Click Recover and save the file to a new location.
  • Can I turn on AutoRecover in Word for Mac?
    You can turn on the AutoRecover feature in Word on a Mac computer from Preferences. Click Save under Output and Sharing, and then choose the frequency in which you want your documents to be automatically saved by Word.
  • Where is Autosave in Word located on Mac?
    You can find the Autosave feature in Word for Mac under the Preferences menu.
  • Where can I find AutoSave Word documents on my computer?
    When you enable the AutoSave feature on your Word, it automatically saves the latest version of your document to one of these three locations:
    • C:\Users\Your_username\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Word
    • C:\Users\Your_username\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Office\UnsavedFiles
    • C:\Users\Your_username\AppData\Local\Temp
    There's also the option to change the default autosave location when you're enabling the AutoSave feature, so make sure you haven't replaced it with another location. You can check that in File > Options > Save in Word.
  • Can Microsoft Word recover previous versions of my document?
    If you need to recover a previous version of the Word document that you haven't saved, you can do that from File > Info > Manage Documents > Recover Unsaved Documents.
Amy Dennis
Amy Dennis May 14, 24
Share article: