How to Free Recover Deleted and Lost Word Documents on Mac?

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Summary: In this blog, we’ll share several methods to free recover your deleted and lost Word documents (.DOCX files) on Mac. The curated methods are as follows:

1. Trash to Put Back Deleted Word Documents on Mac
2. Time Machine to Restore Lost or Deleted Word Documents
3. Recovery Feature of Word to Save Unsaved Word Document
4. Data Recovery Software to Recover Lost Word Documents

Download free Mac data recovery software to recover deleted Word file on Mac

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Microsoft Word for Mac is a useful word processing software that is packaged with Microsoft 365 for Mac. The software is user friendly and provides advanced features.

When you delete your Word documents unintentionally or lose them due to a variety of data loss reasons, you can recover them. But before learning the recovery methods, know why you lose your Word documents on Mac.

Reasons for Losing Word Documents in macOS

  • Deletion of Word documents then emptying of Trash
  • Deletion of Word documents using Option + Command + Delete keys
  • Not saving of Word document due to Word or Mac crash
  • Erasure of the drive or volume containing Word documents
  • Reinstallation of macOS without backing up the Mac
  • Use of a disk cleanup software to free up disk space
  • Presence of bad sectors or blocks on Mac drive

The next sections describe various DIY methods to recover deleted or lost Word documents in macOS.

1. Use Trash to Put Back Deleted Word Documents on Mac

When you’ve unintentionally pressed Command + Delete keys while one or more Word documents were selected in Finder, then immediately press Control + Z keys to undo the operation.

In case you realize your mistake later, perform the following steps:

  1. Open Trash, then search for your deleted DOCX files.
  2. Press-hold Control key to select multiple Word documents.
  3. Secondary-click, then choose Put Back.

The Word documents will restore to their actual location.

Note: This method works only if you haven’t emptied your Trash. But if you emptied your Trash or used Option + Command + Delete keys, then try other recovery methods.

2. Time Machine to Restore Lost or Deleted Word Documents

Time Machine is the native backup application on Mac that allows you to restore your lost or deleted Word documents from an external backup drive.

Steps to restore Word documents by using Time Machine are as follow:

  1. Ensure your Time Machine backup drive is connected to your Mac.
  2. On the top Menu bar, go to Time Machine > Enter Time Machine.
  3. Search your missing Word documents.
  4. Use the Timeline or Up/Down arrow to navigate through the backup date.
  5. Once the Word documents are found, select them, and click Restore.

The Word documents will restore to their original location.

Note: This method works only if you have set up a Time Machine backup drive and kept it connected to your Mac to auto back up Macintosh HD before losing Word documents.

3. Recovery Feature of Word to Save Unsaved Word Document

Word for Mac has the native AutoSave feature that saves a backup copy of your working DOCX file at regular intervals.

Go to Word > Preferences > Output and Sharing > Save. Make sure that you have selected ‘Turn on AutoSave by default’ and ‘Save AutoRecover info’ checkboxes and set ‘Save every’ to its minimum say 1 minute. If you did so, you can save the unsaved DOCX file that is lost due to Word or Mac crash with the slightest data loss. 

Steps to save the unsaved DOCX file on Mac

  1. Launch Word application on your Mac.
  2. Find the last auto-saved DOCX file.
  3. Save the file to your desired location.

When you don’t find the auto-saved DOCX file when the Word opens, you can recover the unsaved Word document by using the Auto Recovery folder (a hidden folder). But if you close the file and click don’t save, the AutoRecover DOCX file is removed automatically from the folder.

Steps to restore unsaved DOCX file from Auto Recovery folder

  1. Open Finder from Dock. Navigate to Go > Go to Folder.
  2. In the dialogue window, type the following text with your username then click Go.

/Users/<username>/Library/Containers/com.Microsoft/Data/Library/Preferences/AutoRecovery

  • In the AutoRecovery folder, copy the auto-saved DOCX file and paste it to a new location.
  • Open the DOCX file in Word then save the file at your desired location.

Read More: How to Free Recover Deleted PowerPoint File on Mac?

4. Data Recovery Software to Recover Lost Word Documents

If none of the above methods works, you can use a free Mac data recovery software to scan your storage drive and recover your deleted and lost Word documents.

Steps to recover Word documents by using Word recovery software:

Download and install Stellar Data Recovery Free Edition on your Mac.

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  • Launch the software to scan your Mac storage drive.
  • Preview the Word documents to check their integrity.
  • Select critical required word documents (up to 1 GB). 
  • Save the recoverable Word documents to another volume or an external hard drive.

Note: The free software allows you to recover up to 1 GB of data. To save more Word documents, activate the software. By the way, the software has a 30-day money-back guarantee, so you can activate it without any worries.

Conclusion

Word documents can get lost due to a variety of reasons. But if you know how to recover your deleted and lost Word documents on your Mac, you don’t need to fear of permanent data loss.

Numerous data recovery options are available to retrieve your missing, unsaved, or deleted Word documents. You can use Trash that saves the deleted files temporarily and Time Machine that backs up startup disk incrementally on an external backup drive. Even, Word for Mac has AutoSave and AutoRecover features that allow you to rescue your unsaved Word document.

When none of the above native recovery methods help, install Stellar Data Recovery Free Edition for Mac on your MacBook, iMac, or Mac mini, and use it to scan the drive and recover up to 1 GB of your lost Word documents. Activate the software if you need to recover more data.