If you find that you've overwritten an important document, your first reaction is likely to be panicked. However, if you're using a Mac, you have a few options to restore your previous Word, Pages, or Google Docs documents.
We'll look at some of them here and then share suggestions for avoiding the problem. Let's start with the simplest solution.
With iWork you can search through all versions of your documents
There are many reasons to use iWork
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instead of Microsoft Office. It has many advantages, but the most notable for the current discussion is integrated versioning. Every time you save changes to a document, iWork archives a copy that you can restore later.
There are two ways to restore previous versions of your Pages, Numbers, or Keynotes documents. One works if you're using the Mac app while the other is for the iCloud website.
Restore previous iWork documents in the app
To view the available earlier versions of your document, open it in the Pages, Numbers, or Keynote app on your Mac. Then go to File> Reset To> Search All Versions from the menu bar.
A screen with previous versions of your current document is displayed. Use the Above and Low Arrows to navigate through previous versions and find what you are looking for.
When you find the document version you want to restore, click Restore.
Restore previous iWork documents to iCloud
If you save your documents with iCloud Drive, you can also restore previous versions from the iCloud website. You should be able to do this regardless of where you save your documents in iCloud Drive. However, Apple recommends that you use the dedicated Pages, Numbers, and Keynote folders.
To restore previous documents to iCloud Drive, open a web browser on your Mac and log in to the iCloud website.
Press the iCloud Drive Option and navigate through the folders to find the document you want. Double-click it to open the document in a new window.
Press the key Button to display and select further options Search all versions to view iCloud Drive version history for this document. Select the version you want to restore, and then click Restore Button.
You can even recover deleted files from iCloud
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in the event that you have accidentally deleted the document you were looking for. If you haven't saved your documents to iCloud Drive yet, now is a good time to start.
Microsoft Office uses AutoRecovery to protect your documents
Microsoft 365 (or the standalone Microsoft Office) also saves previous versions of your Word, Excel and PowerPoint documents. However, this only works if you save your documents in OneDrive, which also enables you to activate the AutoSave function.
If you're not using OneDrive, you can restore previous versions of documents to your Mac using AutoRecovery or temporary files. We explain each of these methods below.
Restore previous versions of documents in Microsoft Office
If you save your files in OneDrive, you can easily restore previous versions of your Word, Excel, or PowerPoint documents. The process is the same whether you use apps on your Mac or on the Office website.
First, open the latest version of the document you want to restore.
Go to a Mac File> Search Version History from the menu bar. Go to the Office website File> Info> Previous Versions.
A window with all previously saved versions of your current document is then displayed. Use the timestamps to decide which ones you want to restore. Click to preview the file, then choose Restore if it is the version you want.
How to Find Microsoft Office AutoRecovery Files on Your Mac
If Microsoft Word, Excel, or PowerPoint stops working, you may lose the last changes you made to your documents. It's easy to restore unsaved documents in Microsoft Office
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when that happens.
All you normally have to do is reopen the app and a Document recovery Window should appear. This allows you to retrieve the unsaved document that you were working on before it crashed.
Otherwise, you may be able to find the AutoRecovery files manually. This is also the best way to recover Word documents that you accidentally saved on your Mac.
Open a new one finder Window and choose Go> Go to Folder from the menu bar. Depending on the app you're using (Word, Excel, or PowerPoint), enter one of the following file paths to view all AutoRecovery files on your Mac:
- Word: / Users / (YOUR USERNAME) /Library/Containers/com.microsoft.Word/Data/Library/Preferences/AutoRecovery
- Excel: / Users / (YOUR USERNAME) /Library/Containers/com.microsoft.Excel/Data/Library/Application Support / Microsoft
- Power Point: / Users / (YOUR USERNAME) /Library/Containers/com.Microsoft.Powerpoint/Data/Library/Preferences/AutoRecovery
If you used Microsoft Office 2011Use the following file path for each app:
/ Users / (YOUR USERNAME) / Library / Application Support / Microsoft / Office / Office 2011 AutoRecovery
If you used Microsoft Office 2008Use the following file path for each app:
/ Documents / Microsoft User Data / Office 2008 AutoRecovery
This should take you to Automatic restore Folder on your Mac where you can find previous versions of your documents. Check out the timestamps or open each document in this folder to find what you're looking for.
Note that some files may be hidden. If you haven't already, make hidden files visible on your Mac. Everything you need to do is open finder and press Command + Shift + Period.
How to restore temporary Microsoft Office files
In addition to AutoRecovery files, you may be able to restore previous Word documents from temporary file storage on your Mac. You have to use terminal to access these files. You should find it in the Utilities Folder in your Applicationsor by searching via Spotlight (Cmd + Space).
After opening the terminal, type the following command exactly as it appears here, and then press Enter to do it:
Open $ TMPDIR / TemporaryItems
The Finder should open a new window that shows yours Temporary elements Portfolio. Files in this folder usually have nonsensical names, so you don't immediately know if they contain what you need.
Open the files one by one to find out if they contain what you are looking for. Since they are TMP files, you need to use TextEdit or another Mac HTML text editor
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to open it.
Google Docs, Sheets, and Slides are easy to restore
In contrast to the office suites from Microsoft and Apple, you can only access your documents with Google Docs via a web browser on a Mac. The best part is that you don't have to worry about clicking to save because Google does it automatically. Google Docs, Sheets, and Slides also keep previous versions of your documents for recovery.
Open a web browser on your Mac, visit the Google Docs website, and load the document you want to restore. Click at the top left File> Version History> See Version History.
Then navigate through the different versions of your document using the panel on the right. In Google Docs, changes made by each user are highlighted in a different color. This makes it easy to find versions of your document before a specific person has made changes.
Click each version to preview, and then click Restore this version at the top of the screen to restore it.
Avoid losing files in the future
It is too easy to lose valuable documents by saving files or editing the content. Most word processors can overcome these obstacles by restoring previous versions. However, you can do more to help yourself.
First save your documents in a cloud storage such as iCloud, OneDrive or Google Drive. Compared to just your Mac's hard drive, storing it in the cloud allows you to access your documents from anywhere in the world.
Second, you should make it a habit to save your documents manually as often as possible. Just press on a Mac Cmd + S. store in most apps. If you use Microsoft Word, save your documents in OneDrive and activate them AutoSave. If you're using Google Docs, keep an eye on the top of the window to make sure it's saved automatically.
Finally, keep local copies of important documents on your Mac and in your cloud storage. Then back up your Mac with Time Machine or other backup software that supports versioning. This way, you can restore documents from Time Machine
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if you ever lose something important.