How to Recover Word Document on Mac?

MS Office is the most common digital document program for Mac and Windows. However, it was developed by Microsoft and then adapted for macOS. This means that to solve some problems with this third-party program, you will have to perform non-standard actions. More often than not, users are faced with the need to recover Word document on Mac. This happens when you have not had time to save the document before closing the program, and you have not had the autorecovery Word Mac function activated.

There are several ways to recover unsaved Word document on Mac. We have prepared a detailed instruction on how to do it. It is applicable for all versions of MS Office on various versions of macOS, including macOS Sierra, High Sierra, Mojave, Catalina, Big Sur and higher.

3 Ways to Recover Documents on Mac

There are 3 main ways to recover lost Word documents:

  1. By using MS Office’s automatic document saving feature.
  2. Recovering an unsaved document from a macOS temporary folder.
  3. Using special programs to recover Word document not saved in Mac.

Recovering Documents from the AutoRecovery Folder

Microsoft Office has a built-in auto-save feature for Mac documents. You can try to find an unsaved version of a document in the AutoRecovery folder.

To complete this, go to Finder and in the top menu go to Go > Go to Folder.

Enter the search line:

~ / Library / Application Support / Microsoft / AutoRecovery

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There you will find the document you need, if it was previously saved.

Recovering a Document From a Temporary macOS Folder

Any version of macOS has a folder with temporary files stored in the cache. Perhaps your unsaved or deleted document is still stored in the operating system’s cache. In this case, you can copy it from there to your desktop and restore it.

To do this, follow a few steps:

  1. Open Terminal and type the command:
    echo $TMPDIR

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  2. Immediately after pressing Enter, you will see the path where your macOS temporary files and folders are stored. The path should look like /var/folders/66/gs5ydsc95472d44wlwp_9zxh0000gn/T/ (in your case, the numerical and numerical values will be different).
  3. Open this path in the Finder in the Go to Folder menu.
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  4. Find the folder, then go to the TemporaryItems folder. This is where all the temporary Microsoft Office files will be located. Select the document you want and copy it to your desktop, then continue working on it.

Recovering Unsaved Word Documents on Mac Using Third-party Software

You can use third-party programs to recover Word documents on Mac. There are several applications that can recover lost .doc and .docx files. One of the most popular program is FoneLab Data Retriever. It has free access, so you will be able to test its functionality without paying. The interface of this program is simple.

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You can launch the program and activate Mac Data Recovery. You need to select a file type and click Start. After that, you will see a list of files of the selected type, which are in the system cache. These can be deleted or unsaved versions of documents. You can easily recover them and use them on your Mac.


We have described the most effective ways to recover unsaved Word document on Mac. Each method has been tested, so we can say with confidence that they are effective. Follow the instructions, and you will be able to recover documents on your Mac.

Cyril Kardashevsky

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