5 Methods to Restore Previous Versions of Word Documents

Avatar for Alison
restore previous version of word document

While working with your Word document, there are various situations that may lead to possible problems such as MS Word failure. Your computer shuts down unexpectedly or realizes that older versions of the document are better. Luckily, Microsoft has made it easy to track changes and restore previous versions of your Word documents. In this guide, we will walk you through the easiest and most useful way to restore previous version of word document.

Method 1: Restore previous versions of Word documents with Word Auto Saves

Word has a built-in auto-saving function that tracks changes in your Word document. Follow these steps to get an earlier version of your word document using the auto-save feature.

Situation 1: If you have saved the file:

  • Open your Word document
  • Click the File tab in the upper left corner.
  • Go to Information > Manage Documents. On the right you will see a list of Word files called “Autosave”. These files are sorted according to the changes that occur over time, making it easier to find the desired versions.
  • Select the Word document you want to download and open it.

The tape will appear on the file. Click on the Recover button to save to a secure location.

Situation 2: If you haven’t saved the file yet: Open your Word document.

  • Go to File > Information > Manage Document
  • Select unsaved document recovery
  • Open the version you want to recover.
  • After reset, save the file as a new document using the Save As option.

Method 2: Restore previous versions of Word documents with file recovery software.

Many people don’t know that while working with your Word file, your computer creates two types of files in the background:.tmp file, which is a backup of your latest version file, and.asd file which is the backup copy of your unsaved fashion. These files will be saved automatically if you close MS Word properly. If the previous method hasn’t solved your problem, you can use recovery software such as WinfrGUI to restore deleted or missing.tmp or.asd files.

WinfrGUI comes with features like recover previous version of excel file. It has a 95% recovery rate, which means it can revive your documents even in unlikely situations. The software can recover your files from various storage media including empty recycling tanks, SSDs, or external hard drives, or USB flash drivers.

Let’s see how you can use WinfrGUI to browse previous versions of Word documents.

  • Download and install WinfrGUI from the official website.
  • Open the program and select the drive or folder where you lost.temp or.asd files. Click Start
  • WinfrGUI starts the scan process and displays recoverable files during the process. All unsaved files are stored in one category.
  • Use a filter or search function to quickly find the desired file type.
  • Finally, click Recover to restore the backup of your Word document.

Method 3: Restore your Word document through the previous version of Windows.

Windows automatically generates previous versions of files as “restore points” in Windows 10. You can access this feature using a file scanner.

  • Go to the location of the Word document you want to recover.
  • Right-click on the file and select properties
  • In the previous version tab, you will see a list of previous versions. Select the version you want to download.
  • To open files and copy text without applying changes, click Open. If you want to replace existing files, select Recover.

Method 4: Restore previous version from backup

If you have a backup of your files either on an external hard drive or on a cloud storage service, you can restore previous versions of Word documents from backup.

  • Find your backup by connecting your external hard drive or logging into your cloud storage account.
  • Move to a folder containing a Word document backup
  • Find the desired version of the document. The file may contain a timer or a model number.
  • Copy the desired version and place it in your desired location on your computer or download it from a cloud storage service.

Method 5: Restore previous versions of Word documents using MS Word file history.

In Microsoft 365, automatically saved files are stored in Microsoft OneDrive, allowing quick access to all previous versions in the version history. However, this feature requires enabling automatic saving in Word for Microsoft 365 and saving your Word file codes to your oneDrive.

  • Open your Word document
  • Select a file in the top left corner
  • Click Info > Version History
  • Opens a new tab called “Generation History” on the right.
  • Select a version and click Open version

To make sure that the open version is the version you want to restore, click Restore if it is. You can also use the Comparison option to highlight changes compared to previous versions of the document.

Bonus Tips: How to enable automatic backup in Microsoft Word

To avoid similar complications in the future, you can enable Microsoft Word to automatically back up your documents. Follow these steps to enable automatic backup in MS Word:

  • Open Word document
  • Go to File > Options
  • In the new window, go to the Advanced section, and in the Log section, select “Always make backups”.
  • Click OK to save changes.

After enabling automatic backup, you can check the following backup folders in case you want to browse older versions or delete Word documents by mistake: 

  • C:\User\AppData\Roaming\ Microsoft\Word 
  • C: \Users \Appdata\Local\Microsoft\Office\UnsavedFiles


In summary, these 5 methods provide a reliable solution for recovering previous versions of Word documents. Make sure your valuable work is not lost. By understanding and using these techniques, you can safely navigate through document recovery situations and protect your important files. Do not let erroneous references or unsaved changes stop you; offer the art of recovery previous Word documents with our comprehensive guide.