Recover a lost, unsaved, or corrupted Word document

Note

Office 365 ProPlus is being renamed to Microsoft 365 Apps for enterprise. For more information about this change, read this blog post.

Note

This article describes how you can recover a lost, unsaved, or corrupted Microsoft Word document.

If you're looking for information about how to recover recent Office documents, see the following articles:

Note

For more information about earlier versions of Word, see the following Knowledge Base article:

Quick resolution

Try the following options to help recover your lost, unsaved, or corrupted Word document. Select the image at the left or the option heading to see more detailed instructions about that option.

Option 1

Search for the original document

Windows 10 and Windows 7

  1. Select Start, enter the document name in Windows 10 or enter the document name in the Search box in earlier versions of Windows, and then press Enter.
  2. Take the following action, as appropriate:
    • If the File list contains the document, double-click the document to open it in Word.
    • If the File list doesn't contain the file, go to Option 2.

Option 2

Search for Word backup files

  1. Locate the folder in which you last saved the missing file.
  2. Search for files that have the .wbk file name extension.

Option 3

Check the Recycle Bin

Check the Windows Recycle Bin on the desktop to see whether it contains your document. If you save documents on OneDrive, also check the OneDrive recycle bin.

Option 4

Search for AutoRecover files

  1. Right-click the taskbar, and select Task Manager.

  2. On the Processes tab, select any instance of Winword.exe or Microsoft Word, and then select End Task or End Process. Repeat this step until you exit all instances of Winword.exe and Microsoft Word.

  3. Close the Windows Task Manager dialog box, and then start Word.

    Double-click the file in the Document Recovery pane, select Save As on the File menu, and then save the document as a .docx file. To manually change the extension to .docx, right-click the file, and select Rename.

Option 5

Search for temporary files

  1. Select Start, enter .tmp in Windows 10 or enter .tmp in the Search box in earlier versions of Windows, and then press Enter.
  2. In the search results, select Documents.
  3. Scroll through the files, and search for files that match the last few dates and times that you edited the document.

Option 6

Search for "~" files

Windows 10 and Windows 7

  1. Select Start, enter the tilde character (~) in Windows 10 or enter the tilde character (~) in the Search box in earlier versions of Windows, and then press Enter.

  2. In the search results, select Documents.

    Scroll through the files, and look for any files that match the last few dates and times that you edited the document.

Option 7

How to troubleshoot damaged documents

For information about how to troubleshoot damaged Word documents, see How to troubleshoot damaged documents in Word.

Additional resources

If you experience specific issues when you use Word, go to the following website to search for more information about your program version:

Microsoft Word Product Solution Center: Word

Detailed view of the options

The following section provides more detailed descriptions of these options.

Option 1: Search for the original document

  1. Select Start, enter the document name in Windows 10 or enter the document name in the Search box in earlier versions of Windows, and then press Enter.
  2. Take the following action, as appropriate:
    • If the File list contains the document, double-click the document to open it in Word.
    • If the File list doesn't contain the file, go to Option 2.

Option 2: Search for Word Backup files

Word backup file names have a ".wbk" extension. If you have the "backup copy" option selected in Word, there might be a backup copy of the file.

Note

To locate this option:

  • Word for Office 365, Word 2019, Word 2016, and Word 2013: Select File > Options > Advanced, scroll down to the Save section, and then select Always create backup copy.
  • Word 2010: Select File > Options, open the Save tab, and then select Always create backup copy.

To find the backup copy of the file, follow these steps:

  1. Locate the folder in which you last saved the missing file.
  2. Search for files that have the .wbk file name extension.
  3. If you find the backup file, right-click the file name, and then select Open.

If there are no .wbk files in the original folder, search the computer for any .wbk files. To do this, follow these steps.

  1. Select Start, enter .wbk in Windows 10 or enter .wbk in the Search box in earlier versions of Windows. Then, press Enter.
  2. Take the following action, as appropriate:
    • If the File list contains the backup file, repeat the steps in Option 2 to open the file.
    • If the File list does not contain the backup file, go to Option 4.

If you find any files that have the name "Backup of" followed by the name of the missing file, use one of the following methods, as appropriate for the version of Word that you're running.

Word for Office 365, Word 2019, Word 2016, and Word 2013

  1. File > Open > Browse. (In some versions of Word, select Computer > Browse.)
  2. In the "files of type" list to the right of File name, select All Files.
  3. Right-click the backup file that you found, and then select Open.

Word 2010

  1. On the File menu, select Open.
  2. In the "files of type" list to the right of File name, select All Files.
  3. Right-click the backup file that you found, and then select Open.

Option 3: Check the Recycle Bin

Recovering deleted Word documents from the Recycle Bin

If you deleted a Word document without emptying the Recycle Bin, you might be able to restore the document.

  1. Double-click the Recycle Bin on the Desktop.

  2. Search through the list of documents to see whether the deleted word file is still there. If you don't know the name, look for file types such as .doc, .docx, and .dot.

  3. If you find the desired Word file, right-click the file name, and then select Restore to recover the file.

    Select Restore to recover the document.

If you saved files to a SharePoint site, see the Restore a SharePoint item from the Microsoft 365 site collection Recycle Bin section.

If you saved files to OneDrive, check the OneDrive recycle bin. For more information, see Restore deleted files or folders in OneDrive.

If you emptied the Windows Recycle Bin after you deleted files, the deleted Word file might have been permanently removed. If you are running Windows 10, version 2004 or later, you can try the Windows File Recovery tool, available from the Microsoft Store. For more information about the tool, see Recover lost files on Windows 10.

If you canot find the file by using any of these methods, go to Option 4.

Restore a SharePoint item from the Microsoft 365 site collection Recycle Bin

  1. Open the Recycle Bin, and take one of the following actions, depending on the type of site that you are using:

    1. Modern Team and Classic sites (or subsites): In the left pane, select Recycle Bin.

      Screenshot of selecting Recycle Bin.

    2. Modern Communication sites: Select Site contents, and then select Recycle Bin in the top navigation bar.

      Note

      If you don't see the Recycle Bin, follow these steps:

      1. Select Settings > Site settings. (If you don't see Site settings, select Site information > View all site settings. Some pages might require you to select Site contents > Site settings.)
      2. On Site settings, under Site Collection Administration, select Recycle bin.

      Screenshot of selecting Recycle Bin under Site Collection Administration.

  2. At the bottom of the Recycle Bin page, select Second-stage recycle bin.

    Screenshot of selecting Second-stage recycle bin.

    Note

    You must have administrator or owner permissions to use the site collection Recycle Bin. If you don't see the Recycle Bin, then either you don't have permission to access it or it may have been disabled.

  3. Select the check icon to the right of each document that you want to recover, and then select Restore.

    Screenshot of selecting Restore to recover your document.

If you restore an item that was originally located in a deleted folder, the folder is re-created in its original location, and the item is restored to that folder.

Option 4: Search for AutoRecover unsaved or corrupted files

AutoRecover file names have the .asd extension. By default, Word searches for AutoRecover files every time that it starts, and then it displays any files that are found in the Document Recovery task pane.

  1. Use Word to automatically find the AutoRecover files. To do this, follow these steps:

    1. Right-click the taskbar, and select Task Manager.

      Screenshot of selecting Task Manager.

    2. On the Processes tab, select any instance of Winword.exe or Microsoft Word, and then select End Task or End Process. Repeat this step until you have exited all instances of Winword.exe and Word.

      Screenshot of selecting an instance of Word.

    3. Close the Windows Task Manager dialog box, and then start Word.

      Screenshot of starting Word.

If Word finds any automatically recovered file, the Document Recovery task pane opens on the left side of the screen, and the missing document is listed as "document name [Original]" or as "document name [Recovered]." If this occurs, double-click the file in the Document Recovery pane, select File > Save As, and then save the document as a .docx file. To manually change the extension to .docx, right-click the file, and select Rename.

Manually search for AutoRecover files

If the Document Recovery pane does not open, manually search for automatically recovered files. To do this, use one of the following procedures, as appropriate for the version of Word that you're using.

Word for Office 365, Word 2019, Word 2016, and Word 2013

  1. On the File menu, select Open > Browse. (In Word 2013, select File > Open > Computer > Browse.)
  2. Browse to the folder where you last saved your document, and look for files that end in .asd.
  3. If you don't see your document listed, select File > Info > Manage Documents (or Manage Versions) > Recover Unsaved Documents.

Word 2010

  1. On the File menu, select Recent.
  2. If you don't see your document listed, select Recover Unsaved Documents.

Search for .asd files

If you don't find an AutoRecover file in the location that is identified in the Folder name list, search your whole drive for any .asd files. To do this, follow these steps:

Enter .asd in Windows 10 or enter .asd in the Start Search box in earlier versions of Windows, and then press Enter.

  • If the File list does not contain AutoRecover files, go to Option 5.

  • If you find any files that have the .asd extension, use one of the following procedures, as appropriate for the version of Word that you're using:

    Word 2019, Word 2016, and Word 2013

    1. Select File > Open > Browse. (In some versions, you may have to select Computer and then Browse.)
    2. In the "files of type" list to the right of File name, select All Files.
    3. Select the .asd file that you found, and then select Open.

    Word 2010

    1. On the File menu, select Open.
    2. In the "files of type" list to the right of File name, select All Files.
    3. Select the .asd file that you found, and then select Open.

Note

In the Recovery pane, if you find an automatically recovered file that does not open correctly, go to Option 6 for more information about how to open damaged files.

Option 5: Search for temporary files

Temporary file names have a .tmp extension. To find these files, follow these steps:

  1. Select Start, enter .tmp in Windows 10 or enter .tmp in the Start Search box in earlier versions of Windows, and then press Enter.
  2. On the Show only toolbar, select Other.
  3. Scroll through the files, and search for file names that match the last few dates and times that you edited the document. If you find the document that you're looking for, go to Option 7 to find out how to recover information from the file.

Option 6: Search for "~" files

Some temporary file names start in a tilde (~) character. To find these files, follow these steps:

  1. Select Start, enter the tilde character (~) in Windows 10 or enter the tilde character (~) in the Start Search box in earlier versions of Windows), and then press Enter.

  2. Select See more results.

  3. Scroll through the files, and look for any that match the last few dates and times that you edited the document.

If you find the document that you're looking for, go to Option 7 to find out how to recover information from the file.

For more information about how Word creates and uses temporary files, see Description of how Word creates temporary files.

Option 7: How to troubleshoot damaged documents

For information about how to troubleshoot damaged Word documents, see How to troubleshoot damaged documents in Word.

More information

In certain situations, it's possible to completely lose a Word document. For example:

  • An error occurs that forces Word to close.
  • You experience a power interruption while editing.
  • You close the document without saving your changes.

Note

The whole document may be lost if you have not recently saved the document. If you have saved your document, you may lose only the changes that you made since the last save. Be aware that some lost documents may not be recoverable.

If a file that was saved to OneDrive becomes corrupted or isn't found in the recycle bin, it is possible to roll back changes that were made to your OneDrive files. For more information, see Restore your OneDrive.

The AutoRecover feature in Word makes an emergency backup of open documents when an error occurs. Some errors can interfere with AutoRecover functionality. The AutoRecover feature is not a substitute for saving your files.

We do not provide any additional tools to recover deleted documents. However, some third-party utilities to recover deleted documents might be available from the internet.

For more information about AutoRecover, see the following articles:

Third-party information disclaimer

The third-party products that this article discusses are manufactured by companies that are independent of Microsoft. Microsoft makes no warranty, implied or otherwise, about the performance or reliability of these products.

Still need help? Go to Microsoft Community.