How To Recover Previous Version Of Word Document

Millions of people worldwide use Microsoft Word on daily basis to edit their documents. However, sometimes while editing a document people accidentally overwrite the original documents. If you too have done this mistake and are now looking for ways to recover the previous version of your word document then you are at the right place.

In this article, we will share with you practical methods using which you can restore the old version of the word file while you are editing it or even if you have already saved the document. This way you don’t have to rewrite or edit the whole document again, sound good? Let’s get started then.

In case you have deleted the Word file altogether then you can recover it by using any good data recovery software.

Quick links to specific parts of the article:

Recover Previous Version Of Word Document

There are two scenarios in which you would want to go to the previous version of a word document. The first is when you are still editing the document on Microsoft Word while the second is when you are done editing and saved the word document on your computer. We are going to have a look at both scenarios one by one.

Restore The Word File To An Earlier Stage While Editing

If you are editing a piece of content or document on Word and now want to revert back to the original document for some reason then you can do so by following these steps.

1. When You Have Saved All The Changes

If you have made changes to your documents and also saved those changes then before closing the word file you can revert back to the old document by undoing all your changes. To undo the changes you can press Ctrl+Z on your keyboard. However, this method requires you to press the Ctrl+Z button as many times as you have made the changes. If you have made only a few edits to the documents then this method is fine but if you have made hundreds of changes then it’s not feasible.

restore old version of word file

In that case, you can click on the drop-down arrow next to the undo button on the top left panel of Microsoft Word and select all the changes you have made on your document. After selecting all the changes you can simply undo all the changes at once and restore the earlier version of the document. Wasn’t it simple?

2. When You Have Not Saved The Changes

Don't save the document

So you have edited the document and made all the changes without saving them. In this case, it’s simple to restore the old version of the document. Just close the word document by clicking on the X button at the top right corner and when it asks you to save the change just click on Don’t Save. All your changes will be null and void and the next time when you reopen the document you will find it as it was earlier.

Restore Unsaved Word Documents

If the AutoSave option of your Microsoft Word is enabled then you will have temporary files of the unsaved documents on the hard drive of your computer. You can recover the previous version of the Word file from there as well. Follow these steps to get your task done.

1. Open Word 2019, 2016, 2010, whichever version of Word is installed on your computer. After that, go to File on the top left corner.

File option

2. Now select Info > Manage Document > Recover Unsaved Documents.


3. From the given unsaved files select the one you want to recover and hit Open.

Select unsaved document

4. Now you can either compare the previous unsaved version of the file with the edited document or simply restore the old version by clicking on the Restore button.

recover previous version of word document

Helpful Tip – How To Enable AutoSave In Word

If you don’t have AutoSave enabled on Microsoft Word then it’s hard to recover the earlier versions of Word documents. So you must enable the AutoSave option for future purposes. If you don’t know how then let us tell you the way to do it.

1. Open the Word application and go to File > Options.

2. Now select Advanced and scroll down to the Save section. Under Save check the box that says Always create a backup copy. 

Enable autosave

3. Next click on Ok and your settings will be saved. With this, the AutoSave option will be enabled. If you want you can also change the frequency of AutoSave i.e. after how much time the Word should automatically save your time. By default, it is set to 10 minutes but you can change it by going to File > Option > Save.

autosave frequency

4. Here you can simply change the time for which you want to configure your AutoSave.

Recover Old Version Of The Word Document

Apart from the temporary unsaved files, you can also recover the old version of a word document using the system restore points. However, it only works if you have created a system backup on your computer. Here are the steps you should follow in order to go back to the earlier version of a word file.

1. Locate the Word file that was overwritten that you want to restore to an earlier stage.

2. Once the file is located, right-click on it and select the option Restore Previous Versions.

Restore previous version on PC

Note: You will only find this option on your device if you have enabled the System backup on your computer.

3. A new tab will open and here you will find all the restore points of your Word files i.e. previous versions of your Word document which you can recover by simply clicking on them.

Final Verdict

So that’s all you have to do in order to restore your old version of the word documents. It’s easier to go back to the previous version of the world file when you are still editing it while on the other hand if you want to restore an overwritten file to earlier versions then it’s not that easy. Also, try to keep the AutoSave option turned on because this way you always have a backup of your Word files.


Why Are There No Previous Versions Of My Word Document?

You may not have previous versions of the Word document because you may not have enabled the AutoSave feature on your Word application.

How Do I Recover A File I Accidentally Replaced?

You can make use of the file restore points on your Windows PC.

What Happens If You Accidentally Clicked Don't Save?

If you click on don’t save all the changes that you have made on your documents will be lost.

About Me

I’m Satyam Pandey, a fellow data hoarder who keeps accidentally deleting files from time to time. I decided to start this blog after recovering all of my deleted high school photos from my old hard drive. With a knack to test data recovery software and see how well they perform I decided to create this blog.

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