Accidentally Saved Over a Word Document on Mac. Can I Recover it?

Accidentally saved over a word document on Mac can be frustrating. Here are a few methods should point you in the right direction to get it back.

Last Updated on December 8, 2020 by Ian McEwan

You may have written an essay, a report, an assignment or an article, and spent days or even weeks researching and revising. However, all bets are off, you wrote over some important components in your word documents on Mac negligently then saved and closed the file without realizing how silly you are. This will cause the file to be overwritten.

Thus, if you wish to retrieve this accidentally saved over a word document Mac, there’re various methods available to help:

All Possible Ways to Retrieve Accidentally Saved Over Word Document on Mac

Method 1. Restore Accidentally Saved Over Word Document on Mac with Time Machine Backup

Apply to: Word for Office 365 for Mac, Word 2019 for Mac, Word 2016 for Mac

Time Machine, the built-in backup and restore feature of Mac, seems like the first choice for those Mac users who want a simple method to retrieve the saved-over word document, only if they have a Time Machine backup of the earlier version.

Mac users can use Time Machine on Mac to create data backups and retrieve files, such as documents, apps, music, pictures, email, and system files.

Time Machine keeps backups to your selected external storage device hourly, daily, even weekly, so you may access the save over file within a specified period of time by following these steps:

Step 1. Connect your Time Machine Drive to Mac and Click the “Time Machine” icon from the menu bar and click “Enter Time Machine”. If it’ not shown, click on “Spotlight” icon and search for the “Time Machine.”

Step 2. Select a folder where your document is located.

Step 3. Scroll through the timeline on the bottom right corner or Click Up/Down Arrow button to locate your word document before it was saved over.

Step 4. Once located, simply select the document. Click on the “Restore” button below the window. Then the Saved over Word Document will be restored to the mac hard drive from the external memory device (Time Machine drive).

Disadvantages of Time Machine Backup

  • You need an external hard drive to set up Time Machine beforehand. The Storage space of external hard drive that needed for your Time Machine should double the size of your current Mac internal memory. >>Get your Time Machine backup drive on Amazon and save up to 30% now.
  • Your word document may not be backed up in time before save over.
  • Data on Time Machine Backup can get deleted when the backup disk is full.

For those who know nothing about Time Machine, here is an easy to learn tutorial.


Method 2. Recover Word Document from the Historical Version

Apply to: Word for Office 365 for Mac, Word 2019 for Mac, Word 2016 for Mac

If you are out of luck and have no Time Machine backup, Version history in office seems like a good idea to recover accidentally saved over word document. But this method only works for files stored in OneDrive or SharePoint before.

To view historical versions:

Step 1. Open the word file you just saved over.

Step 2. Click the name of the file on the title bar of the application and click “Browse Version History”(Word for Office 365 for Mac); Or click File > Browse Version History(Word 2019 or 2016 for Mac).

If the file isn’t open, you can go to the OneDrive file list and select the Version History in your browser. Also, you can go to the Word App and click File> Info >Version History.

Step 3. Select the document’s latest version which you wish to retrieve and Click on Restore.

This method might be tricky to retrieve the word document especially if the original file wasn’t created by you.


Method 3. Recover Accidentally Saved Over Word Document on Mac Using Data Recovery Tool

Apply to all version of Word for Mac

Some data recovery programs such as Aiseesoft Data Recovery may also help you in retrieving accidentally saved over/ unsaved / deleted/lost word files.

This program is one of the best and reliable tools for recovering accidentally saved over word documents on Mac. It is easy to use, and its recovery process is fast. To retrieve lost files with Aiseesoft Data Recovery, you need to follow the easy-to-understand steps below:

Step 1. Run Aiseesoft Data Recovery on Mac.

Download Aiseesoft application and install it on your Mac. Then launch it after installation.

Win Download Mac Download Win Download Mac Download

Step 2. Disable System Integrity Protection

For the software to work on your Mac system, just follow the onscreen instruction to disable System Integrity Protection. This will ensure the program operates without errors on your Mac PC.

You can save the image below on your phone, in case you forget the process to disable system integrity protection while restarting your Mac. Then get back to this post from your browsing history.

Disable System Integrity Protection

Step 3. Scan Your Mac

On the program’s dashboard, select the files types and hard drive disk to scan. Then, your accidentally saved over word document will be scanned.

Additionally, this data recovery program can let you recover file from external hard drives or removable disks connected to Mac.

Select Recover Data from Mac Internal Hard Drive

Step 4 Recover the Word Document

After the scanning is completed, all files will display on the screen. Select the word document you want to retrieve and click on “Recover.” If you can’t locate the document, you can trace it through the “Path List” or by “Deep Scan” option.


Why You Should Buy Aiseesoft Data Recovery

  • Handle the problems of lost data easily: Accidentally Delete, Formatted Drive, Hard Disk Damage, System Crashed, Virus Attack, System Interrupts, Unexpected Power off and other improper operation.
  • Recover all Lost/ Deleted/ Formatted/ Corrupted Files, including Documents, Pictures, Video, Audio, Email and other files from Computer and other storage devices with NTFS, FAT16, FAT32, exFAT, EXT file system.
  • It allows you to preview the word documents before recovering the file.


Method 4. Use Track Changes in Word for Mac to Restore the Accidentally Saved Over Word Document

Apply to: Word for Office 365 for Mac, Word 2019 for Mac, Word 2016 for Mac, Word for Mac 2011

Track changes is another built-in feature of Word, which is meant to help multiple users to work in synergy together on a word document. However, you can also keep track of the change to the word file you just accidentally saved over and have it back, if you have turned on the tracked changes in the very beginning.


For User of Word for Mac 2011:

Step 1. Show tracked changes in your file.

Open the word file and go to Review> Tracking> select Final Showing Markup, then the tracked changed will appear in the right margin.

Step 2. Review tracked change in details and reject those changes you accidentally saved over before.

On the Tools Menu, go to Track Changes> Highlight Changes> check Highlight changes on screen.

Then click Reject when you select those changes you don’t want to keep, after reviewing in details.


For User of Word for Office 365 for Mac, Word 2019 for Mac, Word 2016 for Mac:

Step 1. Show All Revisions Inline.

On the Review tab, switch to All Markup view, select Balloons and Show All Revisions Inline from the Markup Options.

Step 2. Simply click Reject on the Review tab to remove those tracked changes, from which you saved over before by mistake.


One last thing…

The above methods will help you retrieve the accidentally saved over word documents on Mac. But don’t expect to fix this without configuring Time Machine, OneDrive backup or Track Changes beforehand. Keeping track of all the changes you make before saving over can help you out next time. If you don’t, using Data Recovery software such as Aiseesoft, Stellar, Wondershare, EaseUs Data Recovery seems to be a good workaround.