Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Word versions: 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, and Word in Microsoft 365. If you are using an earlier version (Word 2003 or earlier), this tip may not work for you. For a version of this tip written specifically for earlier versions of Word, click here: Opening a Backup File.

Opening a Backup File

Written by Allen Wyatt (last updated January 6, 2023)
This tip applies to Word 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, and Word in Microsoft 365


In other issues of WordTips you learned that Word does not automatically save backup files of your documents, but that you can enable such a feature. If you instruct Word to save backup files, there will undoubtedly come a time when you want to open one of the backup files. The process of opening a backup file is very similar to the process of opening a regular document. Follow these steps:

  1. Display the Open dialog box. (In Word 2007 click the Office button and choose Open. In Word 2010 display the File tab of the ribbon and click Open.)
  2. To the right of the File Name box, use the drop-down list to select All Files. (This causes the Open dialog box to display all the files in each folder.)
  3. Use the controls in the dialog box to navigate to the folder that contains your backup file.
  4. Look for any documents that begin with the verbiage "Backup of". These are your backup files.
  5. Select the desired backup file from the list of files.
  6. Click on OK.

If you are using Word 2013 or a later version, follow these steps:

  1. Display the File tab of the ribbon. Click Open. Word displays the Open task pane.
  2. Double-click on Computer (Word 2013) or on This PC (Word 2016 or a later version). Word displays the Open dialog box.
  3. To the right of the File Name box, use the drop-down list to select All Files. (This causes the Open dialog box to display all the files in each folder.)
  4. Use the controls in the dialog box to navigate to the folder that contains your backup file.
  5. Look for any documents that begin with the verbiage "Backup of." These are your backup files.
  6. Select the desired backup file form the list of files.
  7. Click on OK.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (11161) applies to Microsoft Word 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, and Word in Microsoft 365. You can find a version of this tip for the older menu interface of Word here: Opening a Backup File.

Author Bio

Allen Wyatt

With more than 50 non-fiction books and numerous magazine articles to his credit, Allen Wyatt is an internationally recognized author. He is president of Sharon Parq Associates, a computer and publishing services company. ...

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