Auto-Recover Word Files to the Cloud

Here’s a simple-yet-necessary productivity tip that I shared back in the September 2017 Productivity Tips webinar, and which has saved my skin on several occasions. I came across this tip from the folks at AddictiveTips from a couple years back. You can find this tip (and 9 others) on the blog, or in the YouTube recording. You can also jump to the tip in the video here.

If you have ever lost your work on a long article or paper due to a system crash, you will like this one. Yes, the Office apps have matured a lot over the past few years, and auto-recover is, by default, turned on. But sometimes even the default auto-recover of 10 minutes is too long. In my experience, when working on very large documents, Word can be persnickety. By auto-saving your work every minute or two, you get an extra level of protection. Embrace your inner anal-retentive. Don’t be ashamed. If Word ever crashes or you experience a system crash while you have a document open, you can likely recover most if not all of your document through the auto-recovery copy that the app saves regularly. But if you’re looking to be extra safe, you should consider changing the Word auto-recovery folder’s location to a cloud drive.

Changing the Autosave Settings

To find the auto-recover settings, open up Microsoft Word and select File > Options

Changing the autosave settings for Word

The Word Options dialog box will open, and under Save documents you should see the default of Save AutoRecover information every 10 minutes. Change this setting to 1 or 2 minutes, and then make sure your AutoRecover file location is set to your cloud location of choice.

Autosave settings in Microsoft Word

For my files, I have them saved to my OneDrive for Business account. Click Browse to change the destination, which opens the Modify Location dialog box.

Select your OneDrive account for AutoSave

Select your preferred file destination, and click Ok. You should now see your preferred file destination within the Save documents section, and can click Ok so save your AutoRecover settings.

Changed location for Word AutoSave


For this example, I pointed Word at my OneDrive account, but you can use just about any cloud service that has a desktop app and synchronizes files to the cloud. Dropbox, OneDrive, and Google Drive are all options. From here, you should be good to go. Of course, I’m not sure how you’ll go about testing these settings. At some point, you have to trust, I suppose.

Good luck with that 😉

Christian Buckley

Christian is a Microsoft Regional Director and M365 Apps & Services MVP, and an award-winning product marketer and technology evangelist, based in Silicon Slopes (Lehi), Utah. He is the Director of North American Partner Management for leading ISV Rencore (, leads content strategy for TekkiGurus, and is an advisor for both revealit.TV and WellnessWits. He hosts the monthly #CollabTalk TweetJam, the weekly #CollabTalk Podcast, and the Microsoft 365 Ask-Me-Anything (#M365AMA) series.

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  1. March 1, 2020

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