UPDATE : the updated version of this post for Office 2016 / Office 365 (Word 15 / PowerPoint 15 / Excel 15) can be found here :
I accidentally messed up the Office documents (Word/PowerPoint/Excel) I was working on, and I didn’t save it before, so I wanted to get the auto-saved version from the AutoRecovery-folder as I’ve done before in Office 2008 and 2004.
I forgot where to find the AutoRecovery-folder, so I used Office 2011’s build-in Help-option to get a hint. It told me I would be able to find the folder via this path :
~/Users/username/Documents/Microsoft User Data/Office 2011 AutoRecovery
But when I open that folder I have a “Office 2004 AutoRecovery” and a “Office 2008 AutoRecovery”-folder, but there’s no such folder for Office 2011…
I checked in the Office 2011 Preferences to make sure Auto-saving is switched on, and it is… so where did the folder go ? where are my auto-save documents ?
You might have guessed : there’s a fault in the Office 2011 Help file. Nowadays, the AutoRecovery-folder is located in an entirely different location on your Mac. The correct path is this :
~/Users/username/Library/Application Support/Microsoft/Office/Office 2011 AutoRecovery
But there is yet another tiny hurdle to get to it : in the current version of OSX, the user’s Library-folder is a hidden folder. So if you want to access it, the easiest way to do so is :
– in the Finder, click on “Go” in the top menu bar
– when the pulldown menu appears, press the ALT-key on your keyboard (a.k.a. OPTION-key) and an extra option named “Library” will appear in the pulldown menu
– while holding the ALT-key, click on “Library” and your personal (hidden) Library-folder will open in the Finder
– there you can navigate to Application Support–>Microsoft–>Office to find the “Office 2011 AutoRecovery”-folder you are looking for
Note : It is not clear if this problem is due to OSX 10.9 “Mavericks” or that it is occurring with all installations of Office 2011 for Mac. Either way, the solution is as mentioned above.
it turns out that there’s a bug in Excel 2011 for Mac : even though the Autosave does save a file with an .xlsx file extension, it’s not a true .xlsx file ! trying to open it will lead to an “Microsoft cannot open this file”-error. The solution is to change the file extension to either .xlsb (Excel binary format) or .xlb (older Excel backup format), to enable Excel to recognize the file and enable it to open.
[ a big Thank You to Paul Preston for noticing this problem and for Bryan P for posting the solution on Superuser.com ]