How to Recover Unsaved
Word & Excel Documents
on Mac

Files can get lost when you least expect it. For instance, right in the mid of your work with one of them in MS Office applications, like Word and Excel. It happens. Apps are prone to crashing before the autosave function kicks in.
You can hardly find a computer user who never experienced either a crash of MS Office apps, or an unexpected power-down of their Mac, or Mac computer crash, leading to loss of unsaved MS Office (Word, Excel) documents. Instead of redoing all the work that was lost, just grab a copy of Disk Drill and recover Mac documents that are highly possible to still be available. Disk Drill can help even when MS Office keeps loading an incorrect version of the document you were working on.

Launch Disk Drill, find the partition/logical volume within the main system disk where MS Office is installed, click Recover to run all the recovery methods, or head on to Deep Scan right away. But we don't want to miss out on Quick Scan either. Depending on exact timing and cause of the crash, it's possible that Quick Scan may pick the temporary file as well, and potentially in a better condition than the one recovered by Deep Scan.

#1 Get Disk Drill and Yourself Ready

The whole idea behind recovering unsaved documents is based on the fact that MS Office saves temporary states of a specific document while you edit it. So the main goal here is to find those files.
  • 1Download Disk Drill
  • 2Drag to Applications Folder
  • 3Launch the app

#2 More Theory

Data recovery works in the way that you actually cannot search in a specific location on a disk. That's why we will be scanning the whole partition in this case. But technically we are looking for files stored in /Library/Containers/[Word]/Data/Library/Preferences/AutoRecovery
Moreover, temporary copies of the documents you edited just a moment ago may be saved incrementally in multiple files. Not to worry, thanks to Disk Drill it's possible to recover multiple revisions of the same document and retrieve some important changes that otherwise would be considered lost.

#3 Proceed with Document Recovery

Once you are in Disk Drill, choose your system disk (also called root disk) for recovery. Click "Recover". Follow the instructions and watch the progress going from zero to completion usually in a matter of seconds, based on the size of your hard drive. Recover unsaved word document mac

#4 Review Found Items

Once the scanning is complete, the unsaved documents we were looking for should be on the list of found items in a form of temporary copies of your regular Word or Excel documents. Most probably they won't retain the original file names, unfortunately, so you might need to check several DOC, DOCX, XLS, XLSX files before finding the right one.
The newly reconstructed documents will be available in the corresponding group of found items waiting for you to hit the Recover button one more time. As we always recommend, do the preview to make sure it's exactly the content you were looking for. Recover unsaved excel file

You Could Avoid Losing Word Files!

Disk Drill offers free data protection algorithms Guaranteed Recovery and Recovery Vault. By enabling them you get a digital warranty the files you delete in future (accidentally and even intentionally) are recoverable at a much higher probability rate. You would be searching for unsaved Word and Excel documents among protected data if you had enabled these Disk Drill's features prior to data loss.

#5 More Details on Unsaved Documents Recovery

It's important to highlight the peculiarity of the problem discussed here. As soon as your active Word, Excel file is closed, the AutoRecovery document (the one that may contain a full copy of the document at the last moment of editing before a crash), is actually deleted by MS Office. Let's say it another way, the AutoRecovery snapshots are temporary and only exist if Word or Excel apps terminate abnormally. If Word thinks everything is "hunky dory" when it closes, then the AutoRecovery file is immediately deleted. And this is exactly where Disk Drill gets into play! Recover unsaved excel file

Deep Scan Reconstructs Lost Word Documents

In comparison to Quick Scan and Partition Recovery, Deep Scan is scanning through the raw binary data on a hard drive. For Deep Scan, all the data is just nameless series of bytes. Restructuring the accessible fragments of various file formats, Disk Drill gets them back to life, including your unsaved documents.

Recover even unsaved documents

Disk Drill 3
Recover Word and Excel Documents on Mac OS X
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Have a say!

  • Dr. Sounds
    Dr. Sounds
    You are my hero! On this friday morning, I woke up to my brand new iMac 27" which I bought yesterday to use for music producing among other things, and the first thing I saw this morning was an error message saying my Seagate HD had failed!!!!!! On that drive I had my new album, and it felt so extremely bad to lost my project files for my next epic release!
  • Disk Drill 2 is your first and last line of defense for dealing with misbehaving volumes on the Mac, and the Pro version easily pays for itself the first time trouble comes along. Aside from a UI that feels out of step with OS X El Capitan, my only caveat would be to hold off for the forthcoming version 3.0 so your investment will last as long as possible, especially when the Basic version offers sufficient peace of mind today without breaking the bank. J.R. Bookwalter | @JRBTempe
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