How to recover an unsaved Word file? It is the question that many often ask themselves after spending hours and hours working on an important document. Many times it happens that the program with which you are writing (which can be Microsoft Word or maybe LibreOffice Writer ) suddenly stops. This leads to the deletion of the entire contents if it is not saved.

Many of you will not know, however, that with a few simple clicks you will be able to recover the latest changes made to the file. Below, we will show you in detail how to recover unsaved Word files both through Microsoft Word and the alternative LibreOffice Writer. We have decided to structure the guide in an index so as to allow you to navigate more easily within it.

Content index

How to recover files not saved in Microsoft Word

Recovering a file not saved in Word is a very simple and fast operation. In this guide, we will report in detail the steps to be taken to recover what was lost directly from the program or through a manual procedure that requires a little extra attention. Before starting, we specify that the guide was made on Word 2016, but the steps do not differ (if they are not) even on previous versions of the software of the Colossus of Redmond. If you use Word Online, you will not have these problems because the saves automatically happen on OneDrive with every change made. The same thing is true if you use Word included in the Office 365 subscription where saves are always on the Microsoft cloud service.

Standard procedure

The procedure to be performed is very simple. We have decided to bring it back to you through a clear list:

  • Open Word again after closing it abnormally
  • From the left pane, Restore Documents, choose Show Recovered Files (located next to a folder icon). Small clarification: if you want, you can directly open the unsaved document by skipping the home screen so you can immediately find yourself in the section dedicated to file recovery
  • Position the mouse pointer at the version of the document you are going to retrieve
  • Click on the down arrow
  • At this point a menu appears where there are several options: View, allows you to open a restored document in the current window; Save As …, allows you to save a copy of the document that differs from the original one; and Close, allows you to permanently delete the automatic saving made by Microsoft Word

If the program does not show any of the 3 options mentioned above, then it means that it is not possible to recover the unsaved Word file in a standard way, so you will have to rely on the manual recovery, which we will show you below.

Manual procedure

Word 2016

Always staying in Microsoft Word 2016, you can proceed to manual recovery by relying on the folder of automatic saves. Generally, these files are stored on your computer with the following extensions:

  • asd, unsaved documents
  • tmp, temporary files
  • wbk, automatic backup file

That said, now let’s see specifically how to recover unsaved Word files using the manual process:

  • Start the Word program
  • Click on File present on the top left
  • Look for the Manage document option in the box that appears in the Information section
  • Click on Manage document and then on Recover unsaved documents. By doing so, you will be redirected directly to the folder where there are unsaved Word files so you can recover the one you want

Word 2010

If you own this release of the Redmond program, follow these steps to recover Word files:

  • Open the application
  • Click on File at the top left
  • Select Recents and then click Recover unsaved files (present on the next screen)
  • Use the panel to view the automatic saves and to restore the desired one

Word 2007

If you have installed Microsoft Word 2007 on your PC, here is the procedure to follow in detail:

  • Click on the Office button located at the top left
  • Choose Word Options and then Save
  • Find Auto-save file path and write down what is written inside (eg C:/Programs/Microsoft Word/UnsavedFiles)
  • Once this is done, open the latter path using File Explorer
  • Look for the file asd and select the item Open with which appears in the menu by clicking with the right mouse button
  • From the window choose Microsoft Word (if you want, check the box Always use this program to open this type of file)
  • Check the content and save a copy by creating a new document

Recover a backup or temporary file

If you are going to recover a temporary file, here are the steps to follow:

  • Always open Microsoft Word
  • Click on File in the upper left and then on Options (alternatively Tools> Options if you are using an older version of the software)
  • At this point click on Save in the next panel
  • Take note of the folder in the Auto save file path and close the program
  • Access it using File Explorer, Windows Explorer or Finder on MacOS
  • Look for the .wbk file (automatic backup file) or .tmp (temporary file)
  • Open it by clicking on the item Open with which appears by pressing the right mouse button

You can easily identify the restored file because almost always there is written Name document_ [automatic save] for unsaved files and Backup with the original file name for backup files.
If none of these solutions is served, then we recommend that you perform a manual search of all the .wbk, .asd and .tmp files from the Windows Start menu, Spotlight on MacOS, or using an alternate program (such as FileSeek ).

If you want to avoid using our guide on how to recover unsaved Word files in the future, we advise you to set an automatic saving every time. Here’s how:

  • Click on File and then on Options (otherwise Tools> Options if you have an earlier version of Microsoft software )
  • Click on Save and check next to Save auto save information every x minutes
  • In place of the x insert a value that indicates the time in which Word must save (example every 2 minutes)
  • Confirm the operation by clicking on OK

How to recover unsaved Word files with LibreOffice Writer

Recovering an unsaved Word file with LibreOffice Writer is also a fairly simple procedure. We tell you immediately that, by default, Writer performs an automatic backup every 10 minutes, so it is quite unlikely to be able to lose the contents of a document after an anomalous closure.

In any case, to recover it, follow the steps listed below:

  • Start the LibreOffice Writer program
  • If there are automatic backups, a window appears where there is a list of documents open before the software is shut down
  • Once you have chosen the one you want, click on Start and then on Finish

If this screen does not open, then it means that Writer could not automatically save the document. However, do not lose hope because there is a way to be able to recover the lost document. First we tell you that any temporary file is saved in the appropriate folder with the same name as the original one but with the extension .bak.

Let’s see the steps:

  • Open Writer
  • Click on Tools and then on Options
  • Expand the LibreOffice section on the left of the new window that opens
  • Click the [+] button and then click Routes and note the folder next to Security copies
  • Once again, rely on the File Explorer program on your computer (Finder in the case of MacOS)
  • Look for the file with the same name as the one lost and with the extension .bak
  • Once identified, open it with LibreOffice Writer always using the Open With function

If you can not find temporary files, we recommend that you enable the display of hidden files.



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