Recover files in Office for Mac

AutoRecover, a feature that is available in some Office applications, attempts to recover files automatically in the event of an application or system crash. It does this by periodically saving a copy of the file in the background. You can set how frequently these AutoRecover files are saved. For example, if you set AutoRecover to save every 5 minutes, you may recover more information in the event of unexpected shutdown — such as from a power outage — than if it's set to save every 10 or 15 minutes. By default, AutoRecover saves a recovery file every 10 minutes.

Important: Do not use AutoRecover as a substitute for regularly saving your files by clicking Save  Save button . Saving your files frequently is the best way to preserve your work.

If you manually save your file, the previous AutoRecover files are cleaned up because you've just saved your changes.

AutoSave is a different feature which automatically saves your file as you work - just like if you save the file manually -  so that you don't have to worry about saving on the go. On the Mac, AutoSave is available in Excel, Word, and PowerPoint for Office 365 subscribers. When AutoSave is turned on AutoRecover files are rarely needed.

For more information see: What is AutoSave?

Find an automatically saved AutoRecover file

The next time that you open an application after a crash, the application should detect that an AutoRecover file exists and automatically open it. You can save it, and then continue working from where it leaves off.

Tip: It's best practice to immediately save your recovered file before you continue working to make sure your changes to that point are safely preserved.

If you want to manually find the AutoRecover files, they're in the AutoRecovery folder. You can find them in the Finder under "/Users/<username>/Library/Containers/com.microsoft.Word/Data/Library/Preferences/AutoRecovery"

Note: If you close a file and click Don't Save, the AutoRecover file is cleaned up and deleted because Office assumes that everything is ok and you're closing normally.

Change how frequently AutoRecover files are automatically saved in Word, PowerPoint, or Excel

  1. On the Word, PowerPoint, or Excel menu, click Preferences.

  2. Click Save  Save icon .

  3. In the Save AutoRecover info box, enter how frequently you want the program to save documents.

Change where to save AutoRecover files in Word

Note: The AutoRecover file location can't be changed in Excel or PowerPoint. For those applications AutoRecover files are stored here: /Users/<username>/Library/Containers/com.microsoft.[PowerPoint or Excel]/Data/Library/Preferences/AutoRecovery

  1. On the Word menu, click Preferences.

  2. Under Personal Settings, click File Locations  File Locations icon .

  3. Under File locations, click AutoRecover files, and then click Modify.

  4. Find the location where you want to automatically save files, and then click Open.

Recover text from a damaged file in Word

  1. On the Word menu, click Preferences.

  2. Under Authoring and Proofing Tools, click General   General icon .

  3. Make sure that the Confirm file format conversion at Open check box is selected, and then close the General dialog box.

  4. Click File, Open.

  5. On the Open menu towards the bottom right select Recover Text.

    Click Open > Recover Text then open your damaged document to attempt recovery
  6. Open the document.

Find an automatically saved or recovered file

The next time that you open an application, files in the AutoRecovery folder are listed in the Open Recent list. Or you can find the files in the Finder under "/Users/username/Library/Application Support/ Microsoft/Office/Office 2011 AutoRecovery"

Note: If you close a file and click Don't Save, the file is deleted from the AutoRecovery folder.

Word

Do any of the following:

Change how frequently files are automatically saved

  1. On the Word menu, click Preferences.

  2. Under Output and Sharing, click Save  Save Preferences button .

  3. In the AutoSave or AutoRecover info every box, enter how frequently you want Word to save documents.

Change where to automatically save files

  1. On the Word menu, click Preferences.

  2. Under Personal Settings, click File Locations  File Locations Preferences button .

  3. Under File locations, click AutoRecover files, and then click Modify.

  4. Find the location where you want to automatically save files, and then click Choose.

Recover text from a damaged file

  1. On the Word menu, click Preferences.

  2. Under Authoring and Proofing Tools, click General   General Preferences button .

  3. Make sure that the Confirm conversion at Open check box is selected, and then click OK.

  4. On the Standard toolbar, click Open  Open button .

  5. On the Enable pop-up menu, click Recover Text from Any File.

  6. Open the document. 

PowerPoint

Do any of the following:

Change how frequently files are automatically saved

  1. On the PowerPoint menu, click Preferences.

  2. Click Save  PowerPoint Save Preferences button , select the AutoSave or AutoRecover info every check box, and then enter how frequently you want PowerPoint to save presentations.

Excel

Do any of the following:

Change how frequently files are automatically saved

  1. On the Excel menu, click Preferences.

  2. Under Sharing and Privacy, click Save  Save Preferences button .

  3. Select the AutoSave or AutoRecover info every check box, and then enter how frequently you want Excel to save workbooks.

See Also

What is AutoSave?

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