How to Recover a Microsoft Office File You Forgot to Save

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You’re working diligently on an Excel spreadsheet, making sure all the figures are accurate and everything looks great. You’re a machine: There’s nothing that can stop you from acing this task and impressing your boss. Except, however, for a power outage that shuts your PC down before you had a chance to save. Now you either have to start all over, or quit your job and never look back.

Not so fast: While not saving your work is a bit dangerous, losing such a document isn’t a death sentence. If you accidentally closed out of an Office document without saving for any reason, you don’t need to worry about starting from scratch. There’s an easy way to get the file back, using a recovery tool built right into the Office app you’re using.

When you’re working on a document in Word, Excel, or another Office app, the file isn’t only backed up when you hit the “Save” button. The app in question has the data for that file saved to its roaming folder in your user account’s AppData folder. This folder, typically out of sight for most users, saves data from various Windows apps for your user account.

In most cases, a recently-closed unsaved Office document can be found here. There are two main methods to find it. The first is the easiest and most direct, as it will take you directly to the roaming folder that contains the missing document. To start, open the app you closed out of originally, click the “File” tab in the top left, then choose “Info.” Now, click “Manage Document,” then “Recover Unsaved Documents.” Here, you should see the file you closed without saving: Select it, then click “Save As” to make sure you don’t lose it again.

If you want to feel a bit more “techy,” there’s a slightly more advanced method you can use to achieve the same result. Press Windows+R to open the “Run” window. Then, type %appdata% and run it to open the roaming folder. From here, follow the file path to your app’s folder (for example, open the Microsoft folder, then the Word folder). This is the folder the first method takes you to directly, so you should see your missing file. Again, open it, then save it.

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