Retrieve trashed Office documents
Losing an Office document can be stressful, but there are steps you can take. Jim Martin reports
It’s an awful feeling when you realise that you’ve deleted or failed to save the changes in a Word, Excel or PowerPoint document. You might have been the victim of a Windows crash or even a power cut, but hours of hard work may not be lost as there are several ways you can try to recover Office documents. Here we’ll explain where to look for temporary files, backups and old versions of your files as well as software which can attempt to recover a deleted file.
Top tip: If you’ve accidentally deleted something in a document (or the whole thing) but Word, Excel or PowerPoint is still open, press Ctrl-Z to undo the mistake. This works in most situations, including in web browsers. If that doesn’t work, it may still be possible to get your document back. It depends on how your computer (and Office) is configured, which version of Office you’re running and how the file was lost, deleted or corrupted. There are no guarantees, but try the following.