Yesterday morning my colleagues Excel 2011 (on Mac OSX 10.8) crashed. He reopened Excel and was asked if he wanted to recover the previous document. Yes, he said and then got a document named previousfilename(version 1). To be certain that this document was saved he continously saved the (recovered) document manually during the day and by the end of the day he saved it finally and went home.

Today there is NO trace of the document whatsoever. We have looked in original location, trash, userfolder/Microsoft userdata/Office 2011 AutoRecovery etcetera and there is no document except for the original unedited version. Spotlight doesn't find it either.

Since we have a running Time Machine backup we have lots of backups from yesterday but the same locations are also empty.

This is a freshly installed product. If this behaviour is expected Excel then having no auto-recover function at all would actually be better. I hope someone out there might help out. Manually saving a document SHOULD leave a trace somewhere in the filesystem?

  • Do you know where he saved the recovered version? Or did he simply click save in that recovered document? – slhck Dec 7 '12 at 10:57
  • @slhck Yes he just pressed Save (Command-S) so location is unclear. – jtheman Dec 7 '12 at 11:00
  • I'm not sure how the recovery function works exactly but it probably requires you to save the file somewhere else (Save as…). Or Microsoft didn't implement this properly. Can you reproduce this, i.e. write a file, make Excel stop (force quit), etc? I could try it later as well, but I'm afraid your file is gone forever. – slhck Dec 7 '12 at 11:42
  • No I cant reproduce it, in my Mac it gets saved in the AutoRecovery folder but askes me for a confirmation. However agree with me its very odd that he has saved it 10+ times with Save command but still it's nowhere, not even on the TM backups! – jtheman Dec 7 '12 at 14:08

Finally we found the file in the folder:

~/Library/Application Support/Microsoft/Office/Office 2011 AutoRecovery

As the ~/Library folder is a hidden folder since OS X 10.7 and not by default searched by Spotlight it's incredibly stupid that this folder is auto-suggested when saving a recovered file.

Also since there IS a folder with the same name under Documents/Microsoft userdata/ that is empty this was hard to find!

To go to this folder, open Finder and in the menu click Go » Go to Folder… or press ⇧⌘G. Then, paste the path from above.

Or, to make the ~/Library folder always visible, open Terminal.app from /Applications/Utilities and enter:

chflags nohidden ~/Library
| improve this answer | |
  • Note that you may also have to change the file extension for the auto-recover file as described here. – Bryan P Feb 28 '13 at 0:47
  • @slhck Well pressing option key selecting Finder Go menu is also a smooth way of accessing the user Library folder, specially as I am working on clients computers and not my own. – jtheman Feb 28 '13 at 10:36
  • You've no idea how relieved I was to find this answer. Thanks! one small addition: the directory on my machine is ~/Library/Application Support/Microsoft/Office/Office 2011 AutoRecovery, i.e. Office is a subdir of Microsoft instead of a single dir. – sfinnie Sep 5 '13 at 11:00
  • @sfinnie Glad it helped. I corrected the answer as to your suggestion! – jtheman Sep 5 '13 at 15:18

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.