How to Recover A File You Didn’t Save

About how to recover a file you didn’t save, you can attain diverse methods to recover Excel and Word files in this post, or choose a powerful tool to retrieve them at the same time.


By Irene / Updated on May 12, 2023

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Imagine that you are working hard to prepare a speech or report. To make it perfect, you have collected relevant information for quite a long time. With Word documents, Excel, PowerPoint, or PDF files, the contents are insightful and fascinating. However, an unexpected and sudden system crash or computer power outage messes it up. What’s worse, you didn’t save the files! That means your efforts may go down the drain. If it truly happens, how to recover a file you didn’t save? Here we prepare some solutions to separately recover the files from Excel and Word.

How to recover a file you didn’t save

We will separately introduce the methods of restoring the lost files from two common work software, Excel and Word. But if you hope to recover multiple files at the same time quickly, it is recommended to use a reliable tool to fix this problem effectively.

How to recover Excel file not saved

▷ Recover Excel file not saved with the Recent Workbook

Excel has built-in functionality that can automatically save your files. Generally, it is enabled by default, so this method will work out if you keep the setting as before. Let’s recover Excel file not saved.

Step 1. Open a new Excel workbook and click the “File” button.

click file tab

Step 2. Choose “Open”, and select “Recent Workbook” on the top left side.

recent workbook excel

Step 3. Hit the “Recover Unsaved Workbooks” button.

recover unsaved workbooks

Step 4. Scroll the list of unsaved Workbooks and find the target files. Then choose the “Save as” option to restore the unsaved files.

list unsaved excel files

Note: By default, the unsaved Excel files are usually saved in the path of C:\Users\[YourSystemName]\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Office\UnsavedFiles. (Please change the [YourSystemName] into your own system name).

▷ Recover Excel file not saved with AutoRecover

If you enable the feature of AutoRecover, it will save your files every several minutes according to the setting (despite whether it is saved or not) and allow you to recuperate unsaved files after a coincidental conclusion or system crash. It implies that you are accessible to recover Excel file not saved without losing your work.

Note: This feature can only work on the files saved at once before the accidental events happen. Or otherwise, the Document Recovery pane will not show up.

Therefore, we should first check the state of the feature.

Step 1. Click the “File” button on the main tab of Excel, and choose “Options”.

Step 2. In the left-hand pane, select “Save” under the “Options” dialog.

Step 3. Check the state of the feature as the picture shows. Set the automatic save time in light of your needs.

enable autosave autorecover

If the feature is enabled, and you save the files once before, Excel will show the lost files that can be retrieved. Now, you can find the target files, select them, and then they will be opened in the software.

document recovery pane

At last, you can save the file as usual by clicking the “Save” option in Excel.

How to recover Word document not saved

▷Recover Word document not saved in Temporary Files

Close to AutoRecover, Word also boasts a built-in feature that can automatically save your files. If you enable the feature beforehand, you can learn how to recover Word document not saved in this way as well.

Step 1. Select the “File” button on the top left side as the picture shows.

click file

Step 2. Choose Manage Documents > Recover Unsaved Documents from the drop-down menu.

recover unsaved document

Step 3. The recently lost word document should be displayed in this window. Then open the document and click the “Save As” button.

click save as

▷Recover documents not saved from OneDrive on Windows

OneDrive is a popular cloud storage tool that provides hosting and synchronization services. Naturally, you can save the files to OneDrive rather than locally on your PC if you are a OneDrive user.

By clicking the button on the top left side to open the AutoSave feature, Word will save your documents automatically every few seconds when you work. That means you can try to recover Word document not saved in the previous version option of OneDrive.

Note: OneDrive has its own Recycle Bin, which can provide assistance in restoring the Word documents that were accidentally deleted.

Step 1. Open OneDrive and click “Files”. Then you can select the target file and right-click it.

open one drive files

Step 2. Select “Version history” to view more details about the file.

version history workbook

Step 3. You can find the version details of the file. Click it and save the file in the target folder that you hope to save it.

choose old version

Further reading: Simultaneously recover multiple missing files via data recovery tool

By using those methods, you can easily get the not saved files back in most cases. However, the more terrible situation could be that you have prepared everything well, but some accidents made your important files varnished. For example, let’s list several common situations that you may have experienced, like emptying the Recycle Bin when cleaning up other useless files, formatting the devices without a backup, suffering a sudden virus attack, or encountering a system crash, etc.

In such circumstances, compared with costing much time and energy to poring through the dizzying methods, it is wise and convenient to use an effective and reliable tool, AOMEI Partition Assistant Professional, to improve file recovery efficiency.

It can find corrupted or vanished files by quickly and deeply scanning the whole hard drive on your PC. More importantly, it supports to restore many files types, including Word, Excel, PPT, bookmark files, photos, videos, emails, web pages, and so on. Apart from computer data recovery, it also can save files from HDD/SSD/USB/other storage devices.

Free Download Win 11/10/8.1/8/7/XP
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Let’s learn how to recover Excel or Word file not saved with this tool.

Step 1. Open and run the software. Select "Recover" >“Recover Data” in the main Tab.

recover data

Step 2. Choose the hard drive on that you store the not saved files, and then click “Start Scan

recover windows data

Step 3. All the deleted or lost files will be listed in this step. You can use Filter or Search box to find the target files.

select recover data

Step 4. Confirm the files that you expect to retrieve, and then select “Recover file” to recover the documents not saved.


We shared the approaches on how to recover a file you didn't save. To make full use of your time and energy, AOMEI Partition Assistant can effectively assist you in getting the files back.

As a reliable tool, it can also achieve cloning disk, moving installed apps to release the storage space, MBR/GPT safe conversion without data loss, etc. Furthermore, if you are a Windows Server user, you need to choose the Server edition to manage your devices actively.

Irene · Staff Editor
Irene is an Editor of AOMEI Technology. She devotes herself in giving insightful thoughts on common computer problems with simple and clear guidance. Irene loves to help people solve problems and explore more solutions on relevant issues. She loves reading, singing and travelling.