Mac Data Recovery
Last updated: May 9, 2023
Recover PowerPoint Files on Mac

How to Recover Deleted or Unsaved PowerPoint File on a Mac

Home->Mac Data Recovery->How to Recover Deleted or Unsaved PowerPoint File on a Mac

Did you accidentally delete your PowerPoint Presentation or close the program without saving your file? You don’t have to show up to work (or class) empty-handed – at least not yet. As long as you act quickly, there are different methods you can try to recover your lost PowerPoint on Mac… and most of them are free!

In this article, we’ll briefly explain what actually happens when you delete a PowerPoint file or forget to save it. More importantly, we’ll demonstrate how to recover your PowerPoint on Mac using 4 reliable methods. Read on!

Options to Restore Unsaved or Deleted PowerPoint Files on a Mac

There are 4 different methods to restore a deleted or unsaved PowerPoint presentation on your Mac: (1) using data recovery software, (2) using PowerPoint’s autosave feature, (3) pulling your data from the temp folder, and (4) restoring a Time Machine backup.

Regardless of which method you choose to restore your PowerPoint file, make sure that you don’t save ANYTHING new to your Mac. Doing so may overwrite your PowerPoint data.

The 2nd option (PowerPoint autosave) requires you to have enabled the setting beforehand for it to work. The 4th option (Time Machine) also requires that you set up Time Machine beforehand and your Mac had time to back up your data.

Option 1: Recover Deleted PowerPoint with Data Recovery Software

If you accidentally deleted your PowerPoint file, its data isn’t actually “erased” yet. The data still exists on your computer’s hard drive, but it’s inaccessible and marked to be overwritten.

This is usually the case for traditional hard drives. But in the case of SSDs, this method might not be viable if you have the TRIM command enabled. You can check if TRIM is enabled by opening the Settings app > General > About > System Report > Hardware > NVMExpress. If your TRIM Support status is Yes, then it’s enabled.

You can use data recovery software to restore a deleted PowerPoint on your Mac. Even if you can’t access your files through macOS, data recovery software can retrieve (and rebuild, if necessary) your lost PowerPoint directly from the file system.

We’ll demonstrate the recovery process using a tool called Disk Drill. Disk Drill is popular data recovery software that works on all Mac file systems (HFS+, APFS) and supports pretty much all common Microsoft Office file types – including PowerPoint presentations.

To recover a deleted PowerPoint on Mac using Disk Drill:

  1. Download and install Disk Drill.
  2. Launch Disk Drill (Finder > Applications).
    Disk Drill icon in Finder
  3. Select the drive that you used to save the PowerPoint file before you deleted it. Presentations are saved to your system drive by default. Then, click Search for lost data.
    Storage drive selection window in Disk Drill
  4. Wait for Disk Drill to complete the scan. Then, click Review found items.scan results window
  5. Filter the results further by typing its file name or simply “ppt”/”pptx” in the search bar. Then, expand the Deleted or lost tab. Once you locate your PowerPoint file, hover your mouse beside it and click the eye button that appears to display its preview in a new window.
    File selection window in disk drill
  6. Select your PowerPoint file by ticking the box next to it. Then, click Recover.preview window in disk drill
  7. Choose a location where Disk Drill will save the recovered data. We suggest saving it to a different drive to avoid overwriting anything – you can connect a USB stick at this point. Then, click Next to restore your deleted PowerPoint on Mac.
    destination selection dialog
Disk Drill Basic for Mac does not offer free data recovery. However, you can access some Disk Drill features for free, including scanning and previewing unlimited files. It’s super helpful as previewing your data will at least indicate what is recoverable.

Recover Unsaved PowerPoint Using PowerPoint Autosave Feature

The autosave feature in Microsoft PowerPoint is a super useful tool that saves a temporary copy of your file at regular intervals. It contains all the changes that were made since the last autosave.

And because the copy uses a different file extension from the original, it won’t overwrite the previous version of the original file’s history. You can use it in case you prematurely closed your file or to recover overwritten files.

The PowerPoint autosave feature isn’t enabled by default. For this method to work, you should have: (1) enabled autosave (top-left corner of the PPT window) (2) manually saved your file at least once, and (3) saved your presentation to OneDrive.

To recover your unsaved or overwritten PowerPoint using the autosave feature:

  1. Open the PowerPoint app on your Mac (Finder > Applications).
    Microsoft Powerpoint icon in Finder
  2. Click File > Open Recent > (your presentation) in the menu bar.
    File selection menu in Powerpoint
  3. Save your file.

Option 3: Restore Unsaved PowerPoint Files with Temp Folder

Let’s say you didn’t enable the autosave feature and you’re in a situation where you couldn’t have saved your file. For example, your computer suddenly shut down or you encountered a critical system error.

In such cases, the process of unsaved PowerPoint recovery (on Mac) entails locating the file in the temporary or “Temp” folder. This folder stores temporary data for various applications to improve performance and efficiency.

This is a completely different location from the autorecovery folder, which is usually located in the Application Support folder or the Library folder.

To recover your unsaved PowerPoint on Mac using the Temp folder:

  1. Open the Terminal app (Finder > Applications > Utilities).
    Terminal app icon in Finder
  2. Type the following command and hit Return:
    open $TMPDIR

    TMPDIR command in Terminal

This command will open the Temp folder in Finder. You can check the TemporaryItems and subfolders for your unsaved presentation. If you find it, double-click your file to open it in PowerPoint and save it (File > Save/Save As).

Option 4: Recover .PPT Files with Time Machine Backup

In other words, it may have saved a previous version of the folder that once stored your PowerPoint. By restoring this version of that folder, you will also restore its contents at the time of the backup.

To recover files from a Time Machine backup, you must have enabled Time Machine and initiated a backup before you lost your PowerPoint presentation. If this isn’t the case, we suggest trying Option 1.

To recover your PowerPoint presentation from a Time Machine backup:

  1. Connect your Time Machine drive to your Mac.
  2. On the Apple menu bar, click the Time Machine Button > Browse Time Machine Backups.
    Time Machine button on the Menu bar
  3. Navigate to the folder that stored your PowerPoint presentation before it was deleted. Then, use the arrows on the right to browse through the previous versions of that folder. Once you locate the latest version of the folder that still contains your presentation, click on the file and click Restore.
    File selection window in Time Machine

You should find your missing PowerPoint in its original location.


We understand that PowerPoint presentations require a lot of effort to put together, which is why we prepared this guide. But while there are multiple ways to restore an unsaved PowerPoint on Mac (or a deleted one), they aren’t always guaranteed to work – data can easily be overwritten even by innocuous operating system processes.

To avoid losing your presentations in the future (and prolong your lifespan), we suggest the following: (1) enable the autosave feature in Microsoft PowerPoint (top left corner of the window), (2) enable Time Machine, and (3) manually back up your data to a separate drive or to a cloud storage service like iCloud or Google Drive.


To recover a PowerPoint file not saved on your Mac:

  • If you didn’t save your presentation at all, check your Mac’s Temp folder for a copy of the file. To go to the Temp folder, use the open TMPDIR$ command in Terminal.
  • If autosave was enabled and you saved your presentation at least once, you might be able to access the most recent version. With PowerPoint open, click File > Open Recent > Recover Unsaved Presentations.

PowerPoint’s auto-recovery files are saved in the autorecovery folder, which is a good place to look if your PowerPoint disappeared. It has different locations depending on your version of Microsoft Office. For Office 2009 and 2011: /Users/username/Library/Application Support/ Microsoft/Office/Office (version) AutoRecovery

For Office 2016 and 2018: /Users/Library/Containers/com.Microsoft.Powerpoint/Data/Library/Preferences/AutoRecovery

To restore a previous PowerPoint file, you have 2 options:

  1. Restore a previous version from the Version History menu. With PowerPoint open, click File > Open and right-click your presentation and select Version History. Click the version you want to restore and click Restore.
  2. Restore a Time Machine backup containing the version you want.
To recover an unsaved PPT on Mac If you accidentally clicked “Don’t Save”, try locating a copy of the latest version of your presentation in the Temp folder (Terminal > open TMPDIR$). You can also check PowerPoint’s list of unsaved presentations (PowerPoint > File > Open Recent > Recover Unsaved Presentations).
The best way to restore deleted files on your Mac is by using data recovery software. When you delete a file, it still exists (whole or in fragments) on your drive – however, it’s marked to be overwritten and inaccessible from the operating system. Data recovery software can access, retrieve, and rebuild (if necessary) that data.
Alejandro is a content strategist and writer with a deep love for creative technology. Even though he’s been building PCs all his life, he’s become an advocate for the Mac as the perfect machine for creative professionals. He also has a deep respect for his tools and knows them like the back of his hand – if you have a problem, he knows how to fix it.
avatar approver Andrey Vasilyev Approver
Andrey Vasilyev is an Editorial Advisor at onMac. Andrey is a software expert with extensive experience in data recovery, computer forensics, and litigation. Andrey has over 12 years of experience in software development, database administration, and hardware repair.
Scroll to top