On two occasions recently our Mac has 'helpfully' saved a Word document in the Office 2011 AutoRecovery folder.

This would not be an issue, except for the fact that when we then access the folder (just a quick search in Spotlight for Office 2011 AutoRecovery) the files were nowhere to be seen.

The first time it happened we started writing the document again assuming it was lost forever. The second time it happened we set about trying to relocate the file which we knew we had saved. So where was it?

Where is my AutoRecovery Word document saved?

If something has been saved in the Office AutoRecovery folder sometimes it doesn’t always show up if you search for it.

As you can see from this screen grab, the most recent file in our AutoRecovery folder is from 5 March, but we know that there are more files saved there.

The problem with the AutoRecovery file is that it is located in a Library folder that isn’t visible by default, and that seems to have some impact on whether your files are visible or not.

It might be that something has changed in OS X or Office since March that has changed whether you can see the files that are saved here.

Fortunately there is a way to locate the file, here’s how:

How to view all files in Office 2011 AutoRecovery folder

Go to the Finder, and press Alt (or Option) while selecting Go from the menu at the top of the page.

This will make the Library folder visible (if you don’t press Alt you won’t see it – and you have to keep Alt pressed or it will vanish).

Next go to the following folders: Application Support > Microsoft > Office > Office 2011 AutoRecovery.

When you see the Office 2011 in this view you will be able to locate your file.

File in Office 2011 AutoRecovery folder won’t open

When you click on the file it may not open. If that’s the case just copy it to your desktop by dragging and dropping it out of the Finder window. Now when you click on it the document will open as expected.

As you can see from the screen shot there are more files in this version of the folder.