Recently I was writing an article for a client, and 20 minutes before deadline, I went to upload the file. And it was not there.
I looked in the recent documents file. Nothing.
I searched in Finder… nothing.
I obsessively looked through every folder I could see… still nothing. Yet I knew it was there because I saved it several times in order to avoid the very action I was taking now! And I could not find it anywhere. It was like it had never existed.
Half-writing the article in my head again while I fruitlessly looked through the entire contents of my computer, (I SO did not want to have to start from scratch again) I remembered that the folder option it had saved to was strange – an document recovery file of some sort. I only briefly glanced at it, unconcerned, figuring I would do a search for the filename when the time came.
Only if it is saved in the AutoRecovery folder, it does not appear in the search results. And I did not know that.
I searched for “document recovery” in my directory and found nothing. I Googled “searching for lost document saved in document recovery” and found a bunch of things that didn’t help. I was wasting time and beginning to worry.
I tried to look at the commands that directed where Word sent lost documents in order for them to be recovered again, and couldn’t find a thing. And then I remembered if I clicked ‘save’ on a new document, it would tell me the name of the file it was automatically sent to – and it was “Office 2011 AutoRecovery”.
BINGO! I thought, and searched Finder for Office 2011 AutoRecovery and up it came! Only the FOLDER WAS EMPTY. As empty as my hopes and dreams at that moment.
Turning to trusty Google again, I typed in “saved to office 2011 autorecovery” and was sent (thankfully) to this page that described step-by-step instructions to find a document saved into that file that looks like it has vanished without a trace. Only I couldn’t get past step two – after clicking on Finder, and then Go, I couldn’t find the next option of Library. Little did I know that the Library option is hidden if you are using OS X Mountain Lion, which I only realised after reading one of the comments to the original post. Only they didn’t tell me how to unhide it.
Back to Google I went (what would I do without you!), I typed in “where is library in mountain lion?” and was directed to this page about how to reveal your Library folder. WHY IS THIS SO HARD?! Why is Library hidden? Gah.
Anyway, it turns out after you have clicked on “Go”, you need to hold down the Option button for Library to reveal itself. It will disappear again if you take your finger off. I followed the rest of the instructions and finally found my file. Sitting there in computer Siberia, hidden away from regular Joes like me just trying to write stuff. Holy Jebus.
So, TL;DR :
how to recover a document saved to Office 2011 AutoRecovery:
Click Finder > Go > Hold down the Option key and choose Library > Application Support > Microsoft > Office > Office 2011 AutoRecovery.
May this save you from a similar heart attack in the future.