How to Restore Previous Versions of a Word File: A Step-by-Step Guide

Restoring previous versions of a Word file is a straightforward process. Simply open the file, click on ‘File’, then ‘Info’, select ‘Version History’, and choose the version you want to restore. This will open a read-only version of the document, which you can then save as a new file.

After you complete the action, you will have successfully restored an older version of your Word document. This can be incredibly helpful if you’ve made changes to a document that you later decide were not necessary, or if you need to recover information that was accidentally deleted.


Have you ever been working on a Word document and realized you made a mistake a few revisions ago? Or maybe you deleted a section of text only to find out you actually need it? We’ve all been there, and it can be a stressful experience. But don’t worry, Word has got your back with its built-in version history feature.

This article is going to show you how to restore previous versions of a Word file, an essential skill for anyone who uses Word regularly. Whether you’re a student working on an essay, a professional drafting a report, or just someone who likes to keep their documents in order, knowing how to restore previous versions of a Word file is crucial. This feature can be a lifesaver in many situations, helping you to recover your work and save time.

Step by Step Tutorial to Restore Previous Versions of a Word File

Before we dive into the steps, let’s understand what we are about to do. By following these instructions, you will be able to access and restore earlier versions of your Word document. It’s like having a time machine for your files!

Step 1: Open the Word Document

Open the Word document that you need to restore to an earlier version.

Once you’ve opened the document, you’re ready to begin the process of restoring an older version. Make sure you have the right document and that it’s the one you want to retrieve a previous version of.

Step 2: Go to ‘File’

Click on the ‘File’ tab in the upper left corner of the screen.

This will take you to the backstage view where you can access a variety of additional settings and options for your document.

Step 3: Click on ‘Info’

In the ‘File’ menu, select ‘Info’ from the list of options on the left.

This is where you can see all the detailed information about your document, including its properties and related features.

Step 4: Select ‘Version History’

In the ‘Info’ menu, click on ‘Version History’.

This will bring up a list of all the previous versions of the document that have been saved. Each version will show the date and time it was saved.

Step 5: Choose the Version to Restore

Select the version of the document you want to restore from the list.

This will open a read-only version of that particular previous version of the document.

Step 6: Save As New File

Save the read-only version as a new file by clicking on ‘File’ and then ‘Save As’.

This ensures that you don’t overwrite the current version of the document. You can now edit the restored version as needed.


Recovery of Lost DataRestoring a previous version can recover data that was accidentally deleted or lost due to an unexpected closure of the application.
Undoing MistakesIf changes were made to a document that you’re not happy with, restoring a previous version can help you revert back to the original content.
Version ComparisonRestoring previous versions allows you to compare different versions of the document to see what changes were made and when.


Limited to Saved VersionsThe version history only includes versions that were saved. If you didn’t save your document, those changes won’t be available to restore.
Potential OverwritingThere’s a risk of overwriting the current document if you’re not careful to save the restored version as a new file.
Confusion Between VersionsHaving multiple versions of a document can sometimes lead to confusion, especially if they are not clearly labeled or dated.

Additional Information

When restoring previous versions of a Word file, it’s important to know that Word automatically saves versions of documents that are stored in OneDrive or SharePoint every time you close the file. However, if you’re not using OneDrive or SharePoint, you can manually save versions by using the ‘Save As’ feature and renaming the file each time you want to create a version.

Another tip is to always make sure you’re restoring the correct version by checking the date and time of the saved file. Additionally, if you’re collaborating on a document with others, be mindful that restoring a previous version could affect their contributions. Communication is key when using this feature in a team setting.


  1. Open the Word document.
  2. Click on ‘File’.
  3. Select ‘Info’.
  4. Click on ‘Version History’.
  5. Choose the version to restore.
  6. Save the read-only version as a new file.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I restore a previous version of a Word file if it wasn’t saved in OneDrive or SharePoint?

Yes, you can still access previous versions if you have manually saved them using the ‘Save As’ feature and renamed the file each time.

Will restoring a previous version overwrite my current document?

Not if you follow the final step correctly. Be sure to save the restored version as a new file to avoid overwriting the current document.

How many previous versions of a Word file can I restore?

This depends on how many versions have been saved. Word does not have a limit on the number of versions you can access.

Can I edit a restored version of a Word file?

Yes, once you’ve saved the restored version as a new file, you can edit it as you would any regular Word document.

If I’m collaborating on a document, will restoring a previous version affect other people’s contributions?

It could, so it’s important to communicate with your collaborators before restoring a version to ensure their work is not lost.


Restoring previous versions of a Word file is a feature that can save you from many headaches. Whether you’re trying to recover lost data, undo mistakes, or simply compare different versions of a document, the steps outlined in this article will guide you through the process.

Remember, the key to successful version restoration is careful attention to detail and clear communication if you’re working with a team. So, next time you find yourself wishing you could go back in time with your Word document, just follow these steps, and you’ll be able to restore a previous version with ease.