How to Recover Unsaved PowerPoint

Losing an unsaved PowerPoint presentation can be extremely frustrating. All that hard work down the drain in an instant. However, you may be able to recover your unsaved presentation using one of several methods.

Check PowerPoint’s AutoRecover Files

PowerPoint has an AutoRecover feature that automatically saves backup copies of your open presentations at regular intervals. You can access these AutoRecover files from within PowerPoint:

  • Open PowerPoint and go to the File tab
  • Select Open
  • Click “Recover Unsaved Presentations” at the bottom of the recent files list
  • Select your unsaved presentation file to open it

If you don’t see your file there, try the next method.

Look in the UnsavedFiles Folder

Depending on your version of PowerPoint, unsaved presentations may be saved to a special UnsavedFiles folder.

To access it:

  • Go to File > Info > Manage Presentations > Recover Unsaved Presentations
  • Browse the UnsavedFiles folder and open your presentation

On Windows, this folder is usually located at:


Check the Temp Folder

When you work on a PowerPoint presentation, a temporary file is created and stored in your Temp folder. You may be able to recover your unsaved presentation from this temp file.

To find it:

  • Press Windows + R
  • Type %temp% and hit Enter to open your Temp folder
  • Search for files starting with ppt
  • Rename the file, change the extension to .pptx
  • Open the renamed file in PowerPoint

Restore a Previous Version

If you have PowerPoint set to save to OneDrive or SharePoint automatically, you can restore a previous version of your presentation:

  • Open the file in PowerPoint
  • Click File > Info > Version History
  • Choose the version you want to restore

This replaces the current version with the one you restored.

Use a File Recovery Tool

As a last resort, you can use third party software to scan your hard drive and recover deleted PowerPoint files. Products like Stellar Data Recovery have a good success rate for recovering lost Office documents.

Prevent Unsaved File Loss

To avoid losing work in the future, be sure to save your presentation frequently. Also enable AutoRecover and set it to save backups as often as every 1-10 minutes.

Here’s how:

  1. Open PowerPoint
  2. Go to File > Options > Save
  3. Check the “Save AutoRecover info every” box
  4. Choose timeframe between 1-10 minutes

Additionally, enable AutoSave to automatically save presentations stored in OneDrive or SharePoint:

  1. Open or save the presentation in OneDrive/SharePoint
  2. A prompt will appear asking if you want to turn on AutoSave – Click Yes
  3. PowerPoint will now auto save your open presentations

Following these best practices for saving will help ensure you don’t lose your hard work!

Recover Deleted PowerPoint Files

If your presentation file has been deleted, you may still be able to get it back:

Check the Recycle Bin

The first place to check is the Recycle Bin, where deleted files are temporarily stored. Restore your presentation from there if possible.

Look in Backup Folders

If you have a backup solution in place, such as cloud storage or external hard drives, check those locations for copies of your deleted presentation.

Use File Recovery Software

Again, powerful data recovery software like Stellar Phoenix can scan your device for deleted files. This is your best chance for getting back permanently deleted PowerPoint presentations.


Losing unsaved work is very discouraging, but in many cases you can recover PowerPoint presentations using AutoRecover files, version history, the Temp folder, or file recovery tools. Save frequently, enable auto saving features, and maintain backups to keep your work protected. With a good system in place, you should never have to redo hours of lost effort!