Autosave, file recovery and finding old deleted files in Microsoft Word 2016 for OS X

Microsoft Word for OS X does not have auto save. This is a deal breaker if you are an OS X user wanting to use Word. But there are some ways to mimic this functionality using a scripting program like Keyboard Maestro. IF you are trying to get back an old file, Microsoft Word does have a feature called auto-recovery. If Microsoft Word crashed you may be able to recover your document.  Also if you have Apple’s Time Machine running on your compute you can recover old versions of Word documents that you have saved over even if Microsoft Word cannot recover them.

Here is how to enable auto saving of files in Microsoft Word and recover old deleted Microsoft Word files if you did not have autosave enabled.

  1. How to Autosave Microsoft Word Documents.

Use Keyboard Maestro create a script to automatically save your Microsoft Word documents every 5 minutes. Download and install Keyboard Maestro. Make a new script. It will need to look something like this:

word autosave

This tells Microsoft word to save the document every 2 minutes.

Keyboard Maestro costs approx $30 but it’s the best solution to this problem. As a bonus if you autosave the document to dropbox you will get 30 days worth of version history stored in the cloud because Dropbox keeps changes to your documents.

2. Recover deleted versions of a Microsoft Word File using Time Machine.

Word has a built in ‘recovery’ mode. It keeps a temporary copy of the file you are working on so that if Word crashes it will attempt to recover the file next time you open Microsoft Word. After a successful restart of Word it will delete these files – they are only temporary. So is it possible to recover an old version of a file if Word does not crash? Yes it is – if you have Time Machine running.

If you have Time Machine running it will keep a copy of every temporary file that Word has ever written. This means you can recover old versions of Word’s auto recover files even if Word has not crashed and even after they have been deleted by word.

To do this:

  1. In the ‘Go’ menu past this to go to the Word 2016 auto recover folder:~/Library/Containers/


  2. Enter Time Machine (click the time machine icon in your menu bar) and you will be able to scroll back in history and access older Word files that were worked on in the past but have now been deleted. They will have strange names so you will need to locate them by date!





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