How to Recover Unsaved File from Excel, Word, and PowerPoint

Just as we were preparing an important document with Excel, Word or PowerPoint, the power was cut, leaving us petrified in place! Most likely, we did not even have time to save and fear that we have now lost most of the work done up to that point.

Fortunately, Microsoft has thought of all eventualities, giving the user the option of recover unsaved Excel, Word and PowerPoint file using the tools provided by Office programs, in the event of a power failure, program error, crash or shutdown. suddenly from the PC.

If the method integrated into the Office suite did not work, do not despair: we can try a few unregistered file recovery systems and programs, in order to try to retrieve the latest version of the file we worked on until the end.

Office integrated recovery system

The methods that we will show you below will allow you to recover all types of Office files using the automatic backup system present on Microsoft 365 online accounts and the automatic backup system built into all major Office programs (Excel, Word and PowerPoint).

How to recover unsaved file from Excel

Document recovery with Microsoft 365

If we are using Microsoft 365, we can actually save copies and revisions of documents directly online, so there is no fear of system failure or sudden shutdown; firstly make sure to sign in with our Microsoft account within the chosen Office program (by clicking at the top right on Log in ) then activate automatic recording by checking the specific button at the top left.

In the window that opens, select our OneDrive space to activate automatic cloud saving. From that moment on, all the documents we are going to create will be synchronized in real time to our Microsoft account, so that they can be retrieved quickly even without having to manually back them up each time.

If we suddenly lose our unsaved document (crash or forced restart of Windows), we open Word, Excel or PowerPoint, click the button View recovered files item in the left sidebar and choose the OneDrive file with the last saved version of the document. Once the document is open, immediately press CTRL + S to save a copy to complete the restore procedure.

The same file to retrieve is in the cloud space offered by OneDrive: just open the link to the cloud page, sign in with a Microsoft account and check in the Recent Articles section.

Office Document Recovery (Detail)

If we don’t have Microsoft 365 but a classic version of Office (the one in which we only pay the license once and it stays active forever), we can recover an unsaved Excel, Word and PowerPoint file in using the recovery system offered on all desktop programs; this system creates a local copy of every document created at regular intervals so that it can be quickly restored the next time you access it.

In the event of a crash or an abrupt restart of Windows, we just have to reopen the Office program that we were using and click on the View recovered files element, present in the left sidebar; a new toolbar will open on the left, where we can choose which automatic backup to restore.

To immediately save the recovered file, click on the arrowhead that appears to its right and select the item Save as; alternatively, just double-click on the file to restore it in the current Office program, so that you can make further changes and save a new copy of the file (always using the CTRL + S shortcut).

If we want to make the automatic backup more efficient, we can reduce the waiting time before making the backup copy; to do this, click on the File menu at the top, select Options, and finally go to the to safeguard menu. Activate element Record auto-registration information every and set the value as 1 minute, making sure that the item Keep the latest version automatically restored if you close without saving is also active. This way, Word, Excel or PowerPoint will save an automatic backup copy every minute, which will allow us to always restore our documents.

Windows File Backup System

Windows File Backup System (also known as File History) can help us recover unsaved Office documents, but we need to make sure to activate this system immediately before the problem occurs.

In Windows 11 we can enable file backup by taking us to the Start menu, pressing Settings, by opening the System menu, and finally by pressing file backup article, present at the top.

Make sure to check the item on the Documents folder then press down on Start backup. From now on, we will just have to pay attention and save the Excel, Word and PowerPoint files to the folder My Documents, taking care to save from time to time with the keyboard shortcut Ctrl + S.

If we are on Windows 10, we can also take advantage of the old file history, but we will have to connect an external USB hard drive or a NAS (as a network device); after connecting the disk, we open the start menu, select the Settings the application, go to the Updates and Security menu, press Backup and press Add reader, so you can select the disk or network drive to use for backing up personal folders. This backup system is also compatible with Windows 11, but the configuration menu is only available in the Control Panel, as can also be seen in the guide ofWindows backup systems.

Office document recovery programs

If even with the tools provided by Microsoft, we recovered the valuable documents (or the backup file got corrupted during sudden shutdown), the only way to try and restore the old documents is to use specialized recovery programs.


One of the most effective and easy-to-use programs for this purpose is Recuva, available free for Windows.

Once installed and started, just select the Documents in the screen for selecting the file to recover, in order to be able to launch a complete scan of the disc in search of the traces left on the disc when the document was created. At the end of the analysis, we will have access to all the fragments and Office documents still recoverable, we will not have to do is to select the files or fragments which have a time and a date consistent with the creation of the document (which could appear with a random name or with an alphanumeric string) and finally click on To recover at the bottom right.

MiniTool Power Free Data Recovery

A good alternative to Recuva is MiniTool Power Data Recovery Free, available free for Windows. To use it, open the program (after downloading and installing it on our PC), click at the bottom on Settings and make sure to activate only the Document element, where all major known document formats are present (including files created with major Office programs).

Once this modification has been made, click on Okay, select the system disk among those available and select the To analyse button to start the analysis. At the end of the scan, we will see all the unsaved Excel, Word and PowerPoint files, ready to be restored.

Of course, we can also try other programs for recover deleted files on PC from hard drive or SSD, which are also very effective in recovering unsaved Office documents.


If suddenly the power goes out or the PC suddenly shuts down or restart while we were doing a very important document, then we should not panic because the tools to recover unsaved Excel, Word and PowerPoint file are really numerous and effective in most cases.

If we wanted to recover Office documents from PC with Windows stuck at start screen, we have to try the recovery of important files from blocked Windows using a Linux distribution suitable for this purpose.

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