Microsoft Word: Find a lost document

By J. Carlton Collins, CPA

Q. Help, I can't find the latest draft of the Word document I was working on. I thought I had saved the file before closing Word, but maybe I didn't. Is there any way to tell?

A. If you lose a Word document because of a power outage or a frozen computer, or you simply forgot to save the document, open an Explorer window, navigate to This PC, and search for .asd. This action may take a few minutes, but ultimately it will display a list of all Word recovery files on your PC, along with the file's location, date, time, and size to help you identify the missing file. An example of this type of search is pictured below.

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Once you've located the appropriate recovery file,
double-click the file to reopen it (if asked which application to use, indicate Microsoft Word).

As I previously explained in the November 2012 topic "Lost Excel file," (which applies to lost Word documents too), you may also be able to locate your missing Word file using the Word menu as follows. If you saved a Word file but did not save the latest draft of that file, then from the File tab, select Info and check the Manage Document area to view links to various versions of the file, an example of which is pictured below.

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This action allows you to open a newer version of the Word file that was not saved. If the Word file was a new document that you never saved, then from the File tab select Open, Recent, and then scroll to the bottom of the list of recent documents and click the Recover Unsaved Documents button (circled in the image below) to display a list of Word files that you started creating on your computer but never saved. Double-click the recovery file to reopen the unsaved document using the Word application, as indicated in the screenshot below.

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About the author

J. Carlton Collins (carlton@asaresearch.com) is a technology consultant, a CPE instructor, and a JofA contributing editor.

Note: Instructions for Microsoft Office in “Technology Q&A” refer to the 2007 through 2016 versions, unless otherwise specified.

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