fixed : where are my Office 365 AutoRecovery files ?

Question :

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 in the old days of Office 2008 and 2004.

But now I am using Office 365, and I can’t find the AutoRecovery folder anywhere… where is it ?

 

Answer :

You might have guessed : nowadays, the AutoRecovery-folder is located in an entirely different location on your Mac.

If you are running Office 2011 for Mac (whether as part of Office 365 or not) the correct path to the AutoRecovery-folder is this :

~/Users/username/Library/Application Support/Microsoft/Office/Office 2011 AutoRecovery

And if you are running Office 2016 for Mac (whether or not as part of Office 365) the correct path to the Word 15‘s AutoRecovery-folder(s) is :

~/Users/username/Library/Containers/com.microsoft.Word/Data/Library/Preferences/AutoRecovery/

for PowerPoint 15 the correct path is :

~/Users/username/Library/Containers/com.microsoft.PowerPoint/Data/Library/Preferences/AutoRecovery/

and for Excel 15 the correct path is :

~/Users/username/Library/Containers/com.microsoft.Excel/Data/Library/Preferences/AutoRecovery/

BEWARE : it’s not straight-forward to get to this folder in recent/current versions of OSX and macOS, as 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 further using the paths listed above to find the AutoRecovery-folder you’re looking for

That’s it.

Enjoy !

😉

NOTE # 1 :

It is advisory to also switch on the “file overwrite protection” (or “double backup”) option as it stores the previous version of the file you are working on. In Word, you turn this feature on from Word –> Preferences –> Save and then mark the “Always create a backup copy” check box. This way, whenever you click “Save”, a backup version is made of the previous/stored version before it overwrites the stored version of the file… so with it turned on, you at least have one prior version of your file.

NOTE #2 :

If you do not see the autosave file you were expecting to find in the AutoRecovery-folder, you might need a ‘show hidden files’-app to find it. Especially Excel-autosave-files tend to be hidden.

There are various ‘show hidden files’-apps :

The FREE one in the Mac App Store is Show Hidden Files: best finder but you could also use another FREE app like Hidden Files Toggle (by ZandorSmith.nl) or Funter (by Nektony.com) or HideSwitch (by CreativeCag.com)

Just beware! that you can mess up OSX or macOS entirely is you accidentally delete or alter files that are hidden in regular use !

[ a big Thank You to thekurrgan for discovering this and posting this find here ]

NOTE #3 :

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 and to Rich Michaels for posting his updated solution on answers.microsoft.com ]

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fixed : What to do with a winmail.dat attachment ?

Question :

I recently received an eMail that should include various attachments, but it only included one : a winmail.dat file.

When I try to open it, OSX tells me there is no app on my Mac that can handle this file.

What can I do ?

Answer :

There are various ways of solving this. (or rather : ‘handling this’, as fixing the actual cause isn’t something an end user can do)

But first, a little insight into the cause :

Long ago, when eMails were still text-only without layout and attachments were added as plain files, a lot of eMail-client makers wanted to improve their user experience and provide their users a layout-option for eMails. Microsoft then developed TNEF as a protocol for communication between their Outlook eMail-clients. But TNEF never made it into an eMail-communication industry standard. HTML (the web-layout protocol) was adopted as the industry-wide standard. MS Outlook never fully adopted regular HTML as it’s eMail-layout protocol. So, even though Outlook calls them HTML-eMail, they are actually being sent as TNEF-eMail, which is HTML-ish, but still MS Outlook-only…

Sometimes (in the chain of eMail-servers involved in eMail-communication) the sender’s Outlook-app (or MS Exchange client) sends out a TNEF-eMail, not a regular HTML-eMail. All receivers of the eMail that use Outlook (or MS Exchange) will not detect any irregularity, but any recipient who’s not using Outlook as their eMail-client will receive it as a text-eMail with only one attachment : a winmail.dat file.

So… this is not a Mac-problem, it isn’t even a problem for all non-Outlook users, it is just that the only way to prevent this from happening to you, is to use MS Outlook…

…but for most non-Outlook users, using Outlook is not an option…

Anyway… the solution …or rather the various options for solving this, as either the sender can prevent this from happening, or the recipient can find ways to open the windmill.dat file anyway :

Microsoft provides 2 options for the sender who wants to prevent this :

1. set Outlook to only send ‘Plain Text’-eMail to any future recipient :

in Outlook, choose “File” (or “Tools”), then “Options”, then “Mail” (or “Mail Format”), and then in “Compose in this message format”, choose “Plain Text”, then click “OK”

2. set Outlook to only send ‘Plain Text’-eMail to this specific recipient :

in Outlook’s Address Book, double-click on the recipient’s eMail-address, then in the “SMTP – Address” field choose delete (un-click) the check-mark at “Always Send To This Recipient iIn Microsoft Exchange Rich-Text Format”, then click “OK”

More info can be found on Microsoft’s website :

http://support.microsoft.com/kb/290809

Even though prevention is the better option, there are alternatives : if you are a recipient using OSX, you can find various apps to unpack winmail.dat files in the Mac App Store. Too bad, there are no free apps for this in the App Store, but there is a FREE one available here :

TNEF’s Enough

If you prefer an automatically updated app from the Mac App Store, and don’t mind paying for it, consider this one, which will unpack faster and has a more comprehensive and visually nicer interface :

Winmail Extractor

If you also need a winmail.dat unpacker-app for your iPhone and/or iPad, you can consider this one :

Klammer for iOS & OSX

There are FREE services available online also, that will convert your windmill.dat for you instantly. Just keep in mind that by using them, you are enabling these services to view the contents of your eMail and it’s attachments, so you are willingly giving up your privacy in suing them. An example :

winmail-dat.com

But, again : even the windmill-dat.com service itself advices you to prefer a dedicated (offline) winmail.dat conversion app (on your Mac) over the use of their service.

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tip : get the latest versions of Word, PowerPoint and Excel for FREE, legally

If you are looking for a FREE (and legal) version of the latest version of MS Office, you just might be in luck :

Microsoft is offering the newest version of MS Office for FREE to students and staff of schools and universities that have licensed MS Office.

This program has run in the US since 2013 under the moniker “Student Advantage”, and is now available in the Netherlands also.

What you get is a FREE one year license to Microsoft’s online cloud service “Office 365”, in the “Pro Plus”-version, including FREE downloads of the latest versions of Office to be installed on maximum 5 Macs or PCs and on maximum 5 Android or iOS devices (like iPhones and iPads).

These latest versions are Office 2011 for Mac and Office 2013 for Windows, both including Word, PowerPoint, Excel, Outlook, OneNote, Skype and OneDrive (Microsoft’s cloud-drive formerly known as SkyDrive).

In the Netherlands, these FREE versions are available for two specific groups :

1- (parents of) students of the primary schools [“basisschoolleerlingen” in Dutch] https://www.surfspot.nl/officeleerling

2- students of (some) higher education [“Hogescholen en Universiteiten” in Dutch] https://www.surfspot.nl/officestudent

The procedure to get this (nearly) FREE software, is quite complex, but it’s well worth the hassle :

– first you need an account at Surfspot.nl (the website for educational discounts)

– then, you need to ‘buy’ the FREE version of Office 365 Pro Plus

– with that, you’ll get a voucher (which might take several days due to popular demand)

– using that voucher, you can activate Office 365 at Microsoft, and you will get FREE download-links to the latest versions of Word, PowerPoint, Excel, Outlook, OneNote, Skype, OneDrive, etc.

–  those apps you can install on maximum 5 Macs or PCs and 5 iOS or Android devices

 

…as mentioned : it’s a hassle, but it’s well worth it !

Enjoy !

😉

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fixed : where are my Office 2011 AutoRecovery files ?

UPDATE : the updated version of this post for Office 2016 / Office 365 (Word 15 / PowerPoint 15 / Excel 15) can be found here :

fixed : where are my Office 365 AutoRecovery files ?


Question :

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 ?

 

Answer :

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

That’s it.

Enjoy !

😉

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.

UPDATE :

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 ]

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fixed : PowerPoint presentation too large for eMail

Question :

I just made a beautiful PowerPoint presentation which I want to eMail to my friend. When I tried to eMail it, that seemed to work okay at first, but a few moments later I got an error message saying that the eMail could not be sent.

How can I fix this ?

 

Answer :

eMail providers have set a limit to the attachments’ file size per eMail to prevent cluttering the eMail traffic and flooding the recipient’s eMail inbox. For most providers this limit is set to about 5MB of attached files per eMail message. Some providers have expanded this limit to 10MB, and providers like Gmail, Hotmail and Yahoo! even allow you to attach up to 25MB of files to each eMail.

But if your PowerPoint presentation is even larger than 25MB (which might easily occur if you have done your best to make it a beautiful presentation), you will probably do the recipient  a pleasure if you send a smaller file, especially if they are planning on viewing it on a mobile device. The easiest way to ‘shrink’ the size of a presentation is to convert it into a PDF-file. (a PDF-file is even more versatile than a PowerPoint-presentation, as it also can be viewed by people that don’t have PowerPoint software installed)

To convert your PowerPoint-presentation into a PDF-file, do this :

In MacOSX :

– open your presentation in PowerPoint

– then go to “File” in the upper menu bar and select “Print” from the pulldown menu that appears

– in the “Print” menu that appears, adjust everything as desired, then click on the “PDF” button (bottom left)

– in the pulldown menu that appears, choose “Mail PDF” and a new eMail message will be made for you including your Presentation as an attachment

…or you can choose “Save as PDF…” to first save the PDF-version of your presentation to your Mac so you can attach it to any eMail later on

Note : the above procedure also works in other OSX programs like Word, Excel, Pages, Numbers, Keynote, etc.

For Windows users, the general idea is similar but slightly different :

http://office.microsoft.com/en-001/powerpoint-help/save-as-pdf-HA010064992.aspx

If the standard conversion of your PowerPoint into a PDF still turns up with a PDF-file that is too large to eMail, you can adjust the conversion settings, as described here :

How to create even smaller PDFs in OSX

You might also want to try the “Reduce File Size” that is in the “File”-tab of each Office 2011 application (so in Word, PowerPoint and Excel). This option will only reduce the size of the pictures inside the document. The smallest this option can reduce to is 96ppi a.k.a. “Best for sending in e-mail”. This is an interesting option, but converting to PDF usually leads to even more file size reduction.

And if the recipient insists on getting the original PowerPoint-file, you could do as a lot of professionals do, and send your presentation trough the FREE WeTransfer service :

http://www.wetransfer.com

that’s it !

enjoy !

😉

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fixed : hashtags making text unreadable in Excel

Question :

Somebody sent me an Excel spreadsheet in which some of the data is unreadable since it has been replaced by text consisting of hashtag signs only…

I’ve seen this happening before, and the remedy used to be just to broaden the column, since all number that are too large to fit their cell width are automatically made unreadable…

However, in this case, if I broaden the column width, some of the hashtag text will turned into readable numbers, but other hashtag text will remain, no matter how wide I make the column…

What is wrong ?

And how can I fix this ?

 

Answer :

This seems to be a problem with Excel for Windows files that are opened in Excel for Mac (possibly more specifically with data copied or converted from another application into Excel on a Windows-PC). So PC-users will not be warned on forehand that their Excel output is not suited for use on Macs…

Fixing it turns out to be rather simple (but annoying) :

• open the file in Excel for Mac

• select the cells that are effected (or preferably even the entire column), then go to “Format” in the top menu bar

• from the dropdown-menu that appears, select “Cells…” and a window entitled “Format Cells” will open

• make sure the “Number”-tab is selected and make sure that you select “Number” or “General” from the list (make sure that it is something else than what was previously selected ; anything seems to be okay, as long as it is not “Accounting”)

• no return to your spreadsheet to check if the hashtag texts have disappeared (if not : try again)

That’s it !

Enjoy !

😉

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fixed : copied Excel data only shows zeros instead of original values

Question :

I have this data-range in MS Excel that I want to copy from one page to another, but when I do, in the area that I want to copy to, all cells are filled with zeros…

…the original data has disappeared…

How can I fix this ?

Answer :

Just use the “Paste Special”-option from the Edit-menu, like this :

– in MS Excel, go to the data that you want to copy

– select the range of data you want to copy

– press CMD + C (or choose “Copy” from the Edit-menu)

– then go to the area you want to copy the data to, and select the upper-left cell of the area you want the copied data to appear in

–  then press SHIFT + CMD + V (or choose “Paste Special” from the Edit-menu)

– in the pop-up window that appears, select “Values” (the option third from the top) instead of “All” (which was the first option from the top), and click “OK”

– now the original data will appear

…that’s it !

Enjoy ! 😉

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