How to Recover a Deleted Word Document

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Can I retrieve a deleted word document? With the help of the right methods and tools, yes, you can.
There is nothing more frustrating than spending days working on a document, just suddenly realize that you can no longer find it. It’s that moment of dread! But here’s the good news, nothing deleted from your computer is deleted forever. Just because you can’t see it, doesn’t mean it’s not there. Here’s what you can do to restore your deleted word documents:

Method 1: Search for the Original Document

Sometimes when we lose a document, the solution to recover a deleted word document is very simple. One way or another, it’s possible that your document just got deleted. When this happens, all we have to do is check our recycling bin. Here’s how:

Step 1: Find the icon on your desktop that says, “Recycle Bin”.
Step 2: Double click the icon to open.
Step 3: Search through the files to see if your document is in the bin.
Step 4: If your document is there, right click and select “Restore”. Your document will be returned to its original location.

word document recovery

Method 2: Search for Word Backup Files

If you can’t find your document in the recycling bin, you may be able to turn to Word itself for help. If you have backups enabled and know where your document was saved, you may be able to recover your deleted word document that way. Here’s how:

Step 1: Open Microsoft Word.
Step 2: In the left hand corner of the screen you will see the “File” tab. Click on it and choose “Open”.
Step 3: Under the Word Options, choose “Save”.
Step 4: Under the “AutoRecover” file location, select browse and choose the location your document was last saved.

word document recovery

If it is able to recover your deleted Word document, this process will help.

Method 3: Use Auto Recover

If you’re still having no luck after searching your backups, you can try using the Auto Recover tool. This is again part of Microsoft Word itself. This tool is handy if you lost your document during a computer freeze or crash. Here’s how to use it:

Step 1:Open Microsoft Word. If a Document Recovery screen pops up on the left hand side of the window, you can use this tool to recover your document.
Step 2: Double click on the document you would like to recover or choose to Save as... It will recover the document up to the previous autosave point.

word document recovery

If a Document Recovery screen does not pop up, you can search for documents manually. Here’s how:

Step 1: Open Microsoft Word.
Step 2: Under the File Tab, select “Recent”.
Step 3: At the bottom of the menu you will see a “Recover Unsaved Documents” tool. Click this and browse through to see if you can find the document you are looking for.

word document recovery

Method 4: Search for Temporary Files

Sometimes when we want to recover our Word documents we can find them in our temporary folders. Here’s how:

Step 1: Open My Computer, press F10, and ensure that you are able to see hidden files and folders. Close My Computer.
Step 2: Open Windows Search.
Step 3: Search for .tmp files.

Step 4: Explore through files until you find the document you are looking for.

Method 5: Search for ~ Files

When Word Documents are saved, they often start with “~”. You can use your Windows Search option to search for files with this character to find back your deleted documents. Here’s how:

Step 1: Open Windows Search.
Step 2: Type “~” into the search box.
Step 3: Scroll through all documents to see if you can find yours.


If you are having a difficult time recovering your Word Documents, don’t panic yet. There is a very good chance that you will be able to restore it in a few simple steps. If you can’t, there are always additional tools that you can turn to for backup that can search deep into the hard drive of your computer and retrieve your missing files!