The consensus is that most computer mishaps happen due to carelessness and a messed up finger triggering. And when it comes to Microsoft Office, the lesson to save early and save automatically should be taught early.

Even with the correct MS Office file backup tag in place, documents sometimes disappear from the screen before you can hit the save button. If you suffer from a Blue Window Screen, or even if your local power goes out, your work will disappear from the screen.

Fortunately, a small feature in Microsoft Office 2010 allows you to recover your lost document almost instantly. Here’s how.

Bring back your Microsoft Office 2010 draft

Here is my open Microsoft Word document which will go through some deliberate steps to demonstrate the “rescue” feature that is present in Microsoft Office 2010.

recover word document

1. Recover your unsaved Microsoft Office 2010 document

If you accidentally close your Microsoft Office 2010 Word, Excel, or PowerPoint file, quickly open the Microsoft Office program again and create a new document. Go to File > Info > Manage Versions.

In Word 2010, click on the small drop-down menu and select Recover Unsaved Documents. In Excel 2010, click Recover unsaved workbooksand in PowerPoint, select Recover unsaved presentations.

recover word 2010

Microsoft Word opens the location where a copy of the draft resides.

recover word 2010

2. Save draft as…

Now select the draft and open it in a new Microsoft Word (or Excel or PowerPoint) document. Once your data has been recovered, select Save as, enter a document name and save it. Microsoft Office retains copies of unsaved drafts for four days. After this time, the draft is deleted automatically.

recover word 2010

While opening the unsaved recovered document, you can also use the open and repair functionality. Open and Repair troubleshoots documents that have been corrupted or damaged in the process.

recover word 2010 document

3. Manually open saved drafts in Microsoft Office 2010

If the recovery draft does not appear automatically, you can browse the following locations and search manually. The location depends on the version of Windows you are using.

  • Windows 7 From: C: Microsoft Roaming AppData Users
  • WinXP: C: Documents and Settings Microsoft Application Data

Microsoft Office automatically saves drafts. The auto-recover option kicks in after 10 minutes. You can easily change the auto-recover interval to a higher frequency to give you better peace of mind. Head toward File > Options > Save. Check the existing automatic recovery period and reduce it accordingly.

recover word document

Remember that AutoRecover is sometimes a lifesaver, but it’s no substitute for good file saving habits. This means saving often and saving to more than one location if possible.

Bring back your Microsoft Office 2019 project

Modern versions of Microsoft Office do most of the document recovery work for you. Not that Microsoft Office 2010 made document retrieval difficult. But since Microsoft Office 2013, Microsoft Office Document Recovery automatically resends your drafts the next time you start an Office program.

1. Microsoft Office 2019 Automatic Document Recovery

Microsoft Office 2019 Document Recovery

The first thing to do is open the Microsoft Office program you were using. Once opened, you will come across the Microsoft Office Document Recovery panel. The Document Recovery panel lists unsaved files that were in use before the system crashed.

Select the files you want to recover from the list, then save the documents you want to keep.

2. Manual Microsoft Office 2019 Document Recovery

Microsoft Office 2019 recovers unsaved documents

There is a second method of recovering Microsoft Office 2019 documents. If the automatic recovery option does not work, you can try recovering your work manually.

Open the Microsoft Office program you were using, then open a new document. Head toward File > Info, then select Manage Document > Recover Unsaved Documents. Browse the Microsoft Office autosave files and locate your lost document, then select Open. Once opened, be sure to save your file.

3. Look for .asd or .wbk files in Windows

Microsoft Office Draft file extension search options

If for some reason the default AutoRecover location is empty, you can always try scanning your system for Microsoft Office draft file extensions. Files automatically saved by Microsoft Office typically use the .asd or .wbk file extension.

hurry Windows key + E to open File Explorer. In the search box at the top right, type ” *.asd OR *.wbk“, Without the quotes. Please note that “OR” is part of the search function.

Customize Microsoft Office 2019 AutoRecover Settings

customize Microsoft Office AutoRecover options

If you are lucky enough to recover the unsaved Word document, now you need to take steps to ensure that it does not happen again. And if you haven’t recovered the document, you should also take steps to protect your future work efforts.

Although AutoRecover saves your work, the default option is to automatically save every 10 minutes. Even if you work at a slower pace, 10 minutes is an epoch when it comes to computer work.

Head toward File > Options > Save and reduce the default auto-recovery time. Also check Keep last version automatically fetched if I close without saving. This option allows you to recover your work if you accidentally close Microsoft Office without saving.

AutoRecover is your friend

AutoRecover is a feature to rely on. More often than not, this will help save you from anything that can go wrong when working on a long document.

Microsoft Office 2010 has made recovering an unsaved document easier than earlier versions of Office. Microsoft Office 2019 further streamlines this process. If you’re still using Microsoft Office 2007, learn how you can use AutoRecover to come to your rescue.

Sure, Microsoft Office cannot always prevent the loss of an important document. Sometimes you need to dig deeper into your storage in the hope that the lost file still exists. If that sounds like you, check out the best free data recovery tools for Windows.

Image Credit: Antonio Guillem/Shutterstock