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Accidentally Clicked Don't Save Word on Mac? Recover Unsaved Word Document on Mac

Wondershare Recoverit Authors

Jan 15, 2024 • Filed to: Solve Mac Problems • Proven solutions

While closing a Word document on my Mac, I accidentally clicked Don’t Save Word Mac. Is it possible to recover the Word file?

This happens quite often to many people and if you’re one of them, there is some good news for you. This article will show you various proven solutions on how you can restore unsaved lost Word document files.

Part 1. What Happens If You Accidentally Clicked Don't Save?

Clicking Don’t Save Word is one of the computer-related catastrophes that can ever happen to anyone. Whether it was a simple accident, your Mac froze or crashed, accidentally clicking Don’t Save, you can lose all files.

1. What Happens after Clicking "Don’t Save" on Mac Word?

That fateful moment you click Don’t Save on your Mac, the Word document disappears. If everything on your Mac is working perfectly, it’s difficult to lose a Word document forever. You see, Word has the autosave which is designed to save lots of your work in times of an accident.

However, this feature may not have the work that you did in the last 10 minutes. Therefore, if you click Don’t Save button, the Word file is erased from the AutoRecovery folder

2. Can You Recover a Word doc that You Didn’t Save on Mac?

You can recover the Word documents you didn’t save right away. This is because Microsoft Word has an autosave option, which automatically saves all your data in a specific folder. Here is why you can recover the Word Doc due to this autosave feature:

  • It saves your Word document every 10 minutes. But you can also modify its settings to enable it to save your documents at a longer or shorter interval.
  • If you click Don’t Save accidentally, your computer crashes or freezes, you can use Auto Recovery to recover the saved word documents.

Besides, your Mac creates temporary files located in the Temporary folder which is also known as a TMP folder. Hence, you can check in this folder to see if your lost document has ended up there.

Part 2. How to Recover a Word file after Clicking Don’t Save

Unfortunately, problems related to accidentally clicking don't save word mac happens to many people. Therefore, if this also occurred to you, you can have peace of mind because several solutions can help you recover the lost Word Doc files. Below are some solutions that can help you recover lost word file on Mac:

Solution 1: Recover Lost Word doc from AutoRecovery files

Microsoft Word automatically creates its backup copies while working on them. These files are saved usually every 10 minutes, though you can adjust the settings to any time interval. Therefore, if you click Save the Word document, your files will be recorded with all the changes you make. Once you start Word again, you can see it and open it through the Recent section.

However, by accidentally clicking Don’t Save Word on Mac, Word will fail to recover your file automatically. Unfortunately, Word might think that you didn’t want to keep the document or save the changes you made. In this case, you can attempt to recover manually the unsaved Word document from the AutoRecovery folder on Mac. To recover your Word document, take the following steps:

Step 1: Go to this path Finder/Go/Library/Application/Autorecovery. When clicking Go in finder, you should also press the Option to access the Library folder which might be concealed.

clicked don’t save word mac 1

Step 2: Check the Auto Recovery folder which you will see.

Step 3: With this done, you can see the saved file called AutoRecovery***, so open it with Microsoft Word. At this point, you can view your missing Word file, so save it on your Mac Desktop.

Solution 2: Find Missing Word Document in TemporaryItems Folder

Mac also features a TemporaryItems folder designed to save temporary Word, PPT, Excel, and other files. Therefore, it’s likely that your lost Word document can be found there. Here is how you can recover the lost Word document:

Step 1: Go to Applications and open Terminal in Utilities.

clicked don’t save word mac 2

Step 2: Type open $TMPDIR command and press enter.

Step 3: This leads you to the TMP folder. Then open the TemporaryItems folder.

Step 4: Select the unsaved Word document and save it on your Mac Desktop.

Solution 3: Find the Missing Word Document in the Trash folder

The obvious place to search for the missing Word documents is the Trash folder. In most cases, your Word documents might be lost because you might be deleting old files on your Mac to make room.

If you forgot to save the Word documents and delete them, it’s likely the documents can still be in your Trash folder. Hence, do the following to restore your Word documents:

Step 1: Click on the Trash folder icon on your Mac desktop to open it.

Step 2: Search for the Word file in the contents of the Trash folder. Once you find the file, click on it and press the Space Bar to preview it.

Step 3: If you can’t see the Word file, consider looking for it in a Recovered Items folder located in the Trash. This is because your Word document might be located in that folder.

clicked don’t save word mac 3

Step 4: If your Word document is in the Recovered Items folder, right-click on it, and select Put Back. By doing this, the Word file will be placed in the folder where it was created.

Solution 4: Use Recoverit Mac Data Recovery

Whether your Word files were lost or deleted accidentally, you can recover them if you use the right recovery software. Therefore, if you were unable to recover lost or deleted Word documents with any of these methods, perhaps your best bet is to use the Recoverit Mac Data Recovery software. You see, this software is easy to use and you can recover the Word documents quickly regardless of the causes.

That said, the best way to recover your Word documents happens if you have a backup plan. Having up-to-date backups on your Mac ensures that you don’t lose your Word files. It means if you don’t have a backup plan when you lose the files, you will not have a backup to recover your files from.

As a result, your best option is to use Recoverit Mac Data Recovery software to locate and restore Word documents. Recoverit helps you to search the entire contents of your Mac system to find the lost Word documents, assess if they can be recovered, and restore them with just a few clicks.

This program automatically searches through Mac’s internal drive, external drive, and memory card to find the missing Word files. Once the lost Word document is found, the software assesses the file to see if it can be restored.

If this tool determines that the unsaved Word file can be restored, it creates an exact image Word file and recovers it in just a couple of minutes. To restore your Word documents using the Recoverit Mac Data Recovery software, take the following steps:

Step 1: Select a Microsoft Word file location

Download and install Recoverit Mac Data Recovery software on your Mac. Once you have installed it, select the location where you store the Word document.

select file location

Then click the Start button to start recovering deleted or lost Word files.

Step 2: Scan for lost unsaved Word documents

Recoverit Mac Data Recovery tool will launch the scanning process on the hard disk.

scan for unsaved word documents

Remember that the deep scan process might take a few minutes as it has to trace the location of the unsaved Word documents.

Step 3: Preview and restore Word files

The Recoverit Mac Data Recovery software allows you to preview the recovered Word files before you save them to any location of your choice.

preview repaired files

As a result, you can preview the Word files and click Recover to restore them.

Video tutorial: Word File Recovery Solution

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Part 3: How to Save Word Document on Mac Properly?

The Word document is popularly used by many people, especially where the Windows platform dominates. For many Mac users who have the Pages app to process Word documents, it makes sense to save a Pages file as a Word document. This helps the document to be readable and compatible across various platforms. Fortunately, saving Word files is pretty easy, enabling you to save tons of time.


The first time you save a Word document, the Save As dialogue box opens up. You can enter the name of the Word file in the Save as space if it’s a new file. Then, in the Where area, you can choose the folder where you intend to save your new Word document.

But the default location you want to save the Word files depends on the program you are utilizing. For example, most of the iLife programs installed on the latest Macs feature a specific folder to save your Word files by default. With the Finder, you can find Word documents on your hard drive.

Besides the default save location, you can also use the pull-down menu placed near the Where field to save your Word document to an alternative location on your hard drive. This pull-down menu will show all the recent locations where you saved the Word documents.

You can also click on the arrow point down to the right side of the Save As field to view a small Finder window. Therefore, use this finder window to go through your hard drive to locate the folder where you desire to save your Word file.

Microsoft Word and other programs give you an option to add a file extension to your Word file. You should try to include this file extension, especially if you require sharing Word files with other Windows users. This is because other Windows users might fail to open the files you send them if you don’t include the file extension.


It’s always quite important to save your Word files properly to protect your work. You can save a Word file to a flash drive or hard disk drive. Apart from this, you can also export your Word files to various file formats and save those files to different file names. Below are some tips to help you save the Word files properly:

Closing words

It’s important to recover the lost Word files regardless of the method you use. After all, it takes a lot of effort and time to create them which can be deleted or lost within a few seconds. If you have tried all the Office solutions to recover your Word files, your best option is to use Recoverit Mac Data Recovery software. This tool is not only reliable and effective but it can also save you a lot of time restoring your files.

Recoverit author

Sue Wayne

staff Editor

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