Quick Steps to Recover That Unsaved Document

We have all had a moment where we have been working on a Microsoft document in Excel, Word, or PowerPoint, and thought we lost it forever. Whether it was from the power going out, the computer freezing, or closing the document before saving it, it’s a dreadful reminder of how important it is to incessantly click “Save.”

Good news! There is a way to recover an unsaved document! Microsoft Office has two features that are built in to recover unsaved new documents. What are they? Let’s walk through the steps of how to make sure these features are turned on … right now.

Turn These Features On to Ensure Recovery

The features are called AutoRecover and AutoSave. Make sure these features are enabled in Microsoft Office by:

  1. Click the File > Options > Save
    .*In Outlook, click File > Options > Mail.
  2. Make sure the Save AutoRecover information every x minutes check box is selected.
  3. In Word, Excel, PowerPoint, make sure the Keep the last autosaved version if I close without saving box is selected.

The amount of new information that the recovered file contains depends on how frequently a Microsoft Office program saves the recovery file. For example, if the recovery file is set for only every 20 minutes, your recovered file won’t contain your last 19 minutes of work before the power failure or other issue occurred. To be safe, choose a relatively small number like 5 or 10 minutes. AutoSaves may slow your machine down if you make them every minute. If you want to make Office run faster, stick with somewhere in the middle.

AutoRecover saves more than your files. It also saves your workspace. If the power goes out and you had several spreadsheets open in Excel, AutoRecover will tries to open all of your spreadsheets, laid out the way they were before.

Keep Calm and Recover Your Docs

Here are steps to recover your unsaved new document in Microsoft Office Excel, Word, or PowerPoint.

  1. Open the Office application that you were using.
  2. Click the File tab.
  3. Click Recent.
  4. Scroll to the bottom of your “Recent Documents” (Office 2013 only).

For Word: Click “Recently Unsaved Documents.”
For Excel: Click “Recover Unsaved Workbooks.”
For PowerPoint: Click “Recover Unsaved Presentations.”

When In Doubt

Although there is a way to recover these almost-lost documents, you should still save as often as possible. Make it a habit that overtime you stop for any reason, you click on Ctrl+S. However, if you are ever in doubt bookmark this page for future reference.

Happy Saving!


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About The Author

John Lebo

John Lebo

As our Customer Service Coordinator, John is usually the first person to greet our clients. He served in active duty Air Force for 13 years and recently graduated from Howard Community College with an AA in Cyber Security. He is studying for his Network+, Security + and A+ certifications. John enjoys cheering on the 49ers, Capitals, O’s and any team his son is on. He also loves live music, Bob’s Burgers, and books related to history and war. John’s favorite quote is from Yoda: “Do. Or do not. There is no try!”

This entry was posted on Tuesday, August 1st, 2017 at 9:05 am. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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