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How to recover an unsaved Word document (also applies to Excel and PowerPoint)

The bad: You thought you saved your Word document, Excel workbook or PowerPoint presentation when you clicked on the save button. However, you might not have waited long enough for the action to complete, or a sudden power outage interrupted the action or you might have mistakenly overlooked the prompt when you decided to close the Office app asking you if you want to save your work. And you clicked on No...

The good: Things are still there! Although it may not always work you can still try to recover your unsaved Word document or another Office file like an Excel workbook or a PowerPoint presentation using the temporary files created in such cases. Here we will go over several ways to recover those files and how to better save your work to always remain on the safe side.

First: Open Word, Excel or PowerPoint and look for the side pane asking you if you wish to restore the file or files in action. Go over them and see if anything there is relevant. In case the file is relevant, quickly save it and the recommended approach would be to save to at least two places or destinations in case one of them becomes unavailable (hard drive failure, corrupted thumb drive, loss of internet connection and etc. To do this, you're advised to use the SOS Click add-in for Microsoft Office which allows you to do just that

Second: Look for the temporary file folder where each Office applications saves an auto backup copy of your work. The paths are as follows (Windows 10 and 7):

For Word: C:\Users\Username\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Word

For Excel: C:\Users\Username\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Excel

and for PowerPoint: C:\Users\Username\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\PowerPoint. However, for this method to work you first need to make sure you enable the AutoRecover function like in the following screenshot:

Save AutoRecover tickbox

Third: The best way to avoid such an occurrence is to always save your work (Word, Excel and PowerPoint) across several places altogether minimizing the risk anything might happen to your files so if one place fails, the others will remain. For this, SOS Click which works with Word, Excel and PowerPoint does precisely that enabling you to set up places (you can also toggle them off temporarily if needed). The add-in also supports several auto-save functions including auto-saving to your mailbox (Gmail, Office 365 or anything else) so you can always be confident your work is always when you need it both locally as well as online on the cloud.

Please keep in mind! Cloud services like Dropbox, Google Drive and the likes do go down, just like Facebook and users could find themselves without their files at the least favorable moment. Therefore, the best thing to do is to combine the best of both worlds: local storage and cloud storage as also suggested by this article from the StarTribune when using Dropbox, Google Drive or Microsoft OneDrive.

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