How to Recover Unsaved or Deleted Excel on Mac?

authorPic William Bollson Updated on 2023-03-30 17:18:06 to Office Recovery

There are a couple of reasons behind losing Excel files, like hard drive format, program crash, accidental or unexpected device shutting down, unintended deletion, or a virus intrusion. Well, luckily, there are some recovery solutions explained ahead for Mac users. If the Excel files you want to recover are already gone and are unsaved, you can use the three fixes given in the article forward to recover them in substantial part. This guide will help you recover unsaved or deleted excel file from Mac device that you have either shut down or crashed during work.

Part 1: How to Recover Unsaved Excel File on Mac?

Fix 1. Restore Unsaved Excel Files from Mac Temporary Folder

The temporary folder is the most anticipated easy and quick solution to recover an excel document not saved on Mac. The Temporary folder typically contains automatically saved variants of the Excel file you are currently working on. Simply follow the actions given below step by step to recover unsaved Excel files from Mac machines utilizing the Temporary Folder.

  • Step 1: Access "Terminal"
  • Go to Applications, click on Utilities, and then you see the Terminal option on your screen. Click on that to access the Terminal.

  • Step 2: Access the Temporary folder
  • Now you have to type a text on the following screen "open $ TMPDIR" in the Terminal and then click Enter.

  • Step 3: Find temporary items
  • You will see the Temporaryb> folder; once you press Enter, now select the Temporary Items folder.

  • Step 4: Find the unsaved file
  • You have to find the document not saved Excel Mac manually by recognizing it in the Temporary Items folder.

  • Step 5: Recover the file
  • Once you get your hands on the file Right-click on it and then select the Open With option from the drop-down menu, select TextEdit to open the temporary (.tmp) file in a format that you can easily edit and save to the aspired location.

    recover unsaved excel file on mac

Fix 2. Retrieve Unsaved Excel Files from AutoRecover

AutoRecover and AutoSave features are fundamental characteristics helping you save and recover excel and other files automatically and quickly. You need to configure AutoRecover for keeping the particular files in Excel, and it is mainly helpful in recovering unsaved excel files.

  • Step 1: Find the path for AutoRecover files
  • The essential things to consider are AutoRecover files on Office 2011 and 2008 are entirely dissimilar from Office 2016. You need to follow the steps given below to find more helpful answers to recover the unsaved Excel file on Mac.

    • Path for Office 2011
    • Users/username/Library/Application Support/Microsoft/Office/Office2011AutoRecovery

    • Path for Office 2008
    • Users/username/Library/Application Support/Microsoft/Office/Office2008AutoRecovery

    • Path for Office 2016
    • /Users/Library/Containers/

  • Step 2: Find the Excel files
  • Open the "Finder" tab and enter the aforementioned appropriate path to find the unsaved files.

  • Step 3: Recover the files
  • Double click on the file you want and then copy them to the location and save it for backup.

    recover excel on Mac with Autorecover

Fix 3: Recover Unsaved Excel File in Recent Workbooks

The Recent workbooks is another verified resolution of recovering deleted Excel files on Mac. This method is exclusively fit for the recovery of Excel files unsaved due to the Excel program crashing during work.

  • Step 1: Open Microsoft Excel
  • Open Microsoft Excel, then open the File tab on the upper right corner of the screen, select Open from the options given and then click on it.

  • Step 2: Access Recent Workbooks
  • Once you click on the Open option, there will be a pop-up menu to find the prospect of the Recent Workbooks option. Click on the Recent Workbooks.

  • Step 3: Start Recovery
  • You will see a list upon clicking on Recent Workbooks; the option for Recover Unsaved Workbooks will be listed at the end of the list. Select the Unsaved Workbooks to move to proceed further in Excel recovery on Mac.

  • Step 4: Locate the wanted file
  • Locate the unsaved Excel file from the Recover Unsaved Workbooks folder.

  • Step 5: Open the unsaved file
  • You can do two things here. 1 double click on the unsaved Excel file to open it. 2 right-click on it to find a drop-down menu. Click on the Open option to open the unsaved file.

  • Step 6: Put and Save the file to a new location
  • To save the file, select the Save As option in the File menu of the unsaved file and choose the location to save the file.

    recover excel on Mac with Workbook

Part 2. How to Retrieve Deleted/Lost Excel File on Mac?

Fix 1: Get back Deleted Excel on Mac from Trash Bin

The inadvertently deleted files remain in the Trash for 30 days. Look in the Trash folder in the first place to recover unsaved Excel files.

  • Step 1: View the Trash
  • Go to the desktop on a Mac device, open the Trash folder and search for the unsaved file.

  • Step 2: Identify the unsaved file
  • You need to locate the appropriate Excel file, and in case of more than one file, you can search them simultaneously through the search box at the top left corner of the window.

  • Step 3: Drag for recovery
  • When you find the target Excel file, please right-click on the file, select the Put Back option from the drop-down list, and the file will appear on its previous location. You can also drag the file to an accurate location for recovery where you want to place it.

    recover deleted excel on Mac from Trash bin

Fix 2. Rescue Deleted Excel File on Mac with Time Machine

Time Machine is another option to recover deleted/lost Excel files on Mac if you have a good habit of making the corresponding backup data of the lost Excel files.

  • Step 1: Get Time Machine
  • Connect your Time Machine backup disk to your Mac device.

  • Step 2: Enter Time Machine
  • Open the folder that had the deleted Excel file and then click on the Time Machine icon in the Menu Bar and select Enter Time Machine.

  • Step 3: Restore the File
  • You need to check thoroughly for the file with the help of Timeline or scrolling Up and Down arrows to find the Excel file you need precisely. Once you find it select the file and click Restore.

    recover excel on Mac with Time Machine

Fix 3: Recover Lost Excel Files Using autosave Backup

Here are the steps to recover an unsaved excel file on Mac. The procedure supports 2011 and other versions by obtaining the backup versions.

  • Step 1: Find the Info
  • Choose the File tab and then enter the Info option.

  • Step 2: Find the Manage Versions option
  • Snapping on the Manage Versions option will give you access to all the backups of the unsaved Excel files along with time and date.

  • Step 3: Choose the backup for recovery
  • When you select the desired backup Excel files that you need to recover, click on them. There will be an option to Restore on the yellow bar. Click on Restore to recover the unsaved file.

    recover lost excel from autosave backup

Fix 4: Recover Deleted or Lost Excel on Mac via Online Backup

If you use online storage services, like iCloud, Google Drive, OneDrive, etc., to make backups, you can smoothly recover deleted Excel files.


Log in to your iCloud account. Go to Settings>Advanced>Restore Files. To retrieve the Excel file, click on them and then click Restore File.

Google Drive

Access your Google account, and reach Google Drive. Open Trash, find your deleted Excel files. Right-click on the deleted Excel file, and choose Restore to regain the Excel file on your Mac device.


Go to OneDrive and log in. Take a look in the Recycle bin to find the lost Excel file. Right-click on the file and choose Restore to recover the deleted Excel file on your Mac machine.

recover lost excel with online backup

Part 3: Ultimate Way to Recover Permanently Deleted/Unsaved Excel on Mac with 4DDiG

If the above solutions work nothing for you, you should definitely give it a shot to a professional data recovery tool to help you out. 4DDIG Mac Data Recovery is the expert yet uncomplicated software to recover all kinds of files, including photos, videos, documents, and many more on your Mac hard drive or external disks.

  • The software supports macOS 10.10 and above
  • Support to recover unsaved or deleted Excel documents for all versions like Excel 2013/2016.
  • Aside from Excel/Word/PowerPoint documents recovery, the software also retrieves lost photos, videos, audios, emails, web files and others.
  • The software is also 100% secure and supports several devices like cameras, memory cards, SD cards, USB flash drive, exterenal hard drive and more.
  • The software offers full control over formatted, corrupted, or lost data on Mac-based devices, and supports 550+ file types.

Steps to Recover Deleted/Unsaved Excel with 4DDIG

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  • Step 1: Select a Location
  • 4DDiG-Mac is the recovery software that you need to install on your Mac device first. Launch 4DDiG-Mac. Select a location to start Mac data recovery. When you click on the Scan button, it will start looking up all lost, deleted, corrupt, and damaged Excel files.

    select location

    Note: If you require data from the macOS High Sierra and the following system, you must disable SIP first to locate Mac files. Just take a photo of on-screen prompts and follow the steps.

    4ddig mac disable sip
  • Step 2: Scan and Preview
  • Scanning will allow all deleted files visible to you in the form of a list. You can select the specific file for more details.

    4ddig mac scan files
  • Step 3: Recover Mac Files
  • Click the Recover button and select a new location to save the recovered files. Please do not save the recovered files to the place where you lost them. This may cause permanent data loss.

    4ddig mac recover files


If you have unintentionally shut an Excel file without saving it on your Mac device or permanently deleted it by mistake, or Mac shutting down caused your Excel files to get lost due to a power failure or any other reason. Now you know multiple methods to recover unsaved/deleted Excel files, amongst which 4DDiG Mac Data Recovery is reasonably the most suitable option as it renders the quick and easy solution in a single window very efficiently. To get back all your lost Excel files in a flash.

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