Written by: admin on 11/26/14

Did you know that you can make Microsoft (MS) Office documents automatically back up, so you never have to lose your progress if your computer or application crashes? The following tip is one of the most important Microsoft Office tips. You can set this up for Word, PowerPoint, Excel and other Microsoft Office Suite applications. (Note that this feature works in Microsoft Office 2003, 2007, 2010 and 2013).

The great thing is it only needs to be set up once.

Let’s say for example we have three different Word documents:

  • (A) One was opened in an email attachment, revised and not yet saved.
  • (B) Another is a new document and never saved.
  • (C) The third is a document you’ve been saving occasionally but just did an hour worth of work with no saves.

Now let’s say Microsoft Word crashes suddenly. If you are like many people, you just lost all of your progress for each document. However, if you had AutoRecover set up, you would have backups of all your progress for any of these scenarios.

How to Set-up AutoRecover

You will need to do the following for each of the Microsoft Office programs you use regularly, for example: Word, Excel, PowerPoint.

Open Microsoft Word (or other MS Office program)

  1. Go to File>Options>Save and then check Save AutoRecover information.
  2. I recommend every 1 minute.
  3. Check Keep the last auto saved version if I close without saving.

After setting this up, if the computer suddenly crashes, those same three documents would appear in the auto recover pane the next time opening the application.

If you followed the steps above, you have successfully set up AutoRecover. Below are a few more things to take note of after you are recovering your file.

(Optional) Test AutoRecover

You can test to see if AutoRecover is working after setting it up.

  1. Open a Microsoft Word document
  2. Make an edit
  3. Wait 1 minute (or more depending on the interval you chose for AutoRecover)
  4. Press CTRL + ALT + DELETE
  5. Click Task Manager
  6. The Task Manager Window should come up
  7. Select the Microsoft Word
  8. Click the End Task button
  9. Open Micorosoft Word

You should see the Document Recovery Pane on the left side of the Microsoft Word Window.

Remember to Save after Recovery

Anytime you recover a document, SAVE THE FILE before working on it again.

  1. Go to File > Save and then select save method.

If you skip this step, any work you do moving forward from this recover will be lost if you have another crash and will only be able to recover from your first recovery point.

What if the AutoRecover Pane doesn’t show up?

On rare occasion, you may have AutoRecover set up and the Autorecover dialog box doesn’t come up. If so, do the following:

Go into File > Options > Save

  1. Copy the “AutoRecover file location” information (highlight and right click to copy)
  2. Paste it into the Windows search box or into Windows Explorer.

You should see your AutoRecover documents here. Congratulations, you no longer have to suffer from “I forgot to save my Microsoft Office document” syndrome.

About the Author:

Samuel Hatton works with a large variety of computer engineers at Endsight. He is a lifelong student of information technology and business practices. You can find Samuel on Twitter and Google+.


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