If you often write, edit, or handle Word documents, you probably have first-hand experience with how painful, and how easy it can be to lose one.

Let’s say you’re organizing your working folder and deleting old versions of the document you’ve spent the last few days working on using the Shift + Delete keyboard shortcut, which skips the Recycle Bin and immediately removes files from your system.

guide how to retrieve deleted word document

Now, imagine you accidentally selecting the most recent version of the document instead of an older copy you no longer need and hitting Shift + Delete. Before you even realize what’s just happened, the file is gone, and there’s no obvious way how to recover it.

A scenario like this can be downright nightmarish depending on how important the deleted document was to you. The good news is that there are several ways how to recover a deleted Word document even if you’ve used the  Shift + Delete shortcut, and one of them is so simple that it will take you just a few minutes to learn and use.

Method 1: Locate Word Backup Files

Depending on if you have the Always create backup copy selected, Word will automatically create backup files of your documents. These backup files have the .wbk file name extension, and you can open them just like regular Word documents.

The only problem is that the .wbk backup files can be someone hard to find.

How to Locate Word Backup Files

  1. Open Word.
  2. Click File and select Options.guide to recover deleted word document
  3. Select Save from the menu on the left.guide to restore deleted word document
  4. Find a field called “AutoRecover File Location” and note the location of the autosave directory.
  5. Head to the autosave directory and open the .wbk backup files just like you would regular Word documents.

Method 2: Restore Deleted Word Documents in OneDrive

how to retrieve deleted word documentFor some time now, Word can save documents to the cloud, allowing you to access your files from anywhere and easily collaborate with others. To take advantage of this feature, you need to be a user of OneDrive, which is Microsoft’s file hosting service and synchronization service.

You will then get the option to save files to your OneDrive account instead of saving them locally on your computer. When a file is stored on OneDrive, you can enable the AutoSave feature by clicking on a button located in the top-left corner of the main Word window to save your documents automatically, every few seconds, as you work.

Steps to Restore Deleted Word Documents in OneDrive

  • Step 1: Visit OneDrive and sign in.how to recover lost word document
  • Step 2: Select Recycle bin in the navigation panel.
  • Step 3: Select the Word document you want to recover and click the Restore button.how to recover deleted word documents

Method 3: Data recovery software for Windows

Disk Drill is a data recovery tool that delivers professional results even though it was developed with the average user in mind.

Thanks to Disk Drill, you can avoid spending hundreds and maybe even thousands of dollars on professional data recovery services while achieving the same results—just from the comfort of your own home and possibly even for free because Disk Drill lets you recover up to 500 MB of data without paying, which is more than enough for hundreds of Word documents.

Steps to Recover Deleted Word Documents on Windows

The second you launch Disk Drill, you notice that it certainly doesn’t look like your average data recovery tool. For starters, Disk Drill has a beautiful user interface that makes it effortless even for complete novices to figure out how to recover deleted Word documents with it. In fact, the whole recovery process with Disk Drill boils down to a couple of simple steps, which we describe in great detail below.

✔️ All major storage devices are supported, so it doesn’t mean if you’re reading this article because you want to learn how to retrieve deleted Word documents from a traditional hard drive or a portable USB flash drive—Disk Drill works equally well with all kinds of storage devices.


Arthur Cole

Arthur Cole is a freelance content creator. He also has a more than 10-year experience in program development for macOS, Windows, iOS, Android.Arthur Cole is a writer with deep expertise in programming, who can easily...

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Brett Johnson

This article has been approved by Brett Johnson, Data Recovery Engineer at ACE Data Recovery. Brett has a Bachelor's Degree in Computer Systems and Network, 12 years of experience.