How to find Outlook temp files: Mac

Do you want to retrieve documents from Outlook? Or you saved a file in the Outlook Temp folder and now can’t find the Outlook Temp or your file or document folder; using Finder? Here is what you can do:

Outlook Mac stores temporary files such as e-mail signatures, opened attachments (images, documents, PDF files, etc) and other e-mail content in the following location:

~/Library/Caches/TemporaryItems/Outlook Temp

You can locate Outlook Temp:

  • Open Finder
  • Go to the “GO” drop down menu and select “Go to Folder…”
  • Enter ~/Library/Caches/TemporaryItems/Outlook Temp and click go

OR, alternatively

  • Open Finder
  • Go to the “GO” drop down menu and hold down the option (alt) key.
  • The “Library” option will appear.
  • Click on “Library” and then you will find “Caches” and then “TemporaryItems” and “Outlook Temp”

Now you can locate your Outlook file.



  1. stellasmommy says

    thank you this was so easy. i ‘ve been trying to follow more complicated instructions without success. i was able to do this in 3 seconds. :) sigh.

  2. Phil says

    I unfortunately do not have a GO drop down menu. Is there an equivalent on newer versions of Finder?

  3. Phil says

    OK I found it – on my other screen at the top – I do not understand why its not kept on the same screen as Finder ….

    • Ellen says

      Phil, I had the same problem as you, and I cannot find the go drop down menu, and I don’t know what other screen you are talking about. Where is that on a new macbook pro? So very frustrated!

      • Deborah says

        I accidently removed all attachments from my email outlook and I dont know how to reverse this. Please help!!

  4. Callie says

    I did this and it says file cannot be found. Is there a way to set a preference so it doesn’t do this.

  5. Sam says

    Thank you so much for this article! For a horrible five minutes I thought my file had not been saved, until I realised it was in this hidden directory – having easy instructions to get there reduced my stress significantly.

  6. Ivik says

    Thank you!!! I was about to throw my computer through the window… Found the files… Thank you… Thank you… :o)

  7. says

    I did this but see that I don’t have a TemporaryItems sub-folder. I can locate an Outlook Temp folder but it’s empty. If I go into outlook and open an attachment, then select “file save”, it opens an Outlook Temp folder that has lots of files in it. Do you have any idea what’s going on here?

  8. Marilyn Parsons says

    Thank you so much. I had a really important file with a lot of work on it saved only to Outlook temp. The alternate option was the only one that worked, and I would never have figured this out on my own. Thanks so much!!!!

  9. John Weygandt says

    For a job interview, I was sent 10 questions in a Word doc. I opened it and created a Save as… with a slightly different name. I think it went into the Outlook Temp folder, but I don’t see it there.
    I spent too much time crafting my answers, late at night, and now they’re GONE!
    Please help.

  10. Nicki says

    Excellent directions. Easy to find. I tested the theory after discovering an empty folder today. It must be only very temporary as the document I worked on last night could not be found. I presume when I shut down it cleared all info. Wish I looked for your advice sooner but I’ll know for the future (if I save incorrectly again). Many thanks.

  11. Amy says

    Awesome – thank you!
    I don’t know why other sites had much more complicated instructions I couldn’t understand – this was really clear and saved me from having to recreate my edits from scratch!

  12. Christina Lindberg says

    Thanks a lot! Very easy and quick fix.
    I tried Microsoft Office 365 support first but without success……. The answer I got was that there was no problem…….
    This was perfect!

  13. Nora says

    At 3:30 the morning before a presentation is due, I would just like to say I have never been more grateful for a website in my entire life. Thank you with all of my heart.

  14. Amy says

    I echo the thanks above. I, too, almost had a heart attack and am now happy and calm, having pushed send on the document I was working on. Much appreciated!!

  15. medeye says

    Hey Serhat, after having tried other help lines but in vain I could not believe that hitting the hidden ALT key would do THE magic thing. Great job and THANK YOU!

  16. E says

    Does anyone know how to stop Word from doing this in the future? Im using a Macbook Pro and constantly have this issue with files, I press ‘save as’ then hit return (I know, bad habit) and don’t realise it’s saved them as temp files not on the desktop.

  17. Karin says

    What a complicated way to find a file that should be readily accessible. It cost me a whole day of work. Yes, I too was close to having a fit because my file was lost.
    first time I tried it I also got the “file could not be found” message….until I added the little squiggly do-da in front of the /libarary

  18. MitchM says

    Apple has made finding this temporary space much more difficult in one of the recent updates to either the Mac OS or Outlook. The Temp folder has moved and I am not sure that the OS does not change the Temp folder over time. Here is how I am able to find the files in the Temp folder:

    1. Open the originating document from Outlook and hit Save As. From this, you can find the full path to the temp folder holding subject file (along with the inadvertently saved version).

    2. This step requires another app that will allow you to view the hidden files and folders. (I use PathFinder but you also need to “turn on” viewing of hidden files and folders). You need access to the folder called private at the root of the MacHD.

    3. Once you have access to the private folder, you can then drill down to the subfolder show in the originating document.

    4. Drag the misplaced file to your Desktop and you are ready to go.

    Hope this helps.

    • MitchM says

      One more point. You can “goto” the private folder in Finder. In my particular case (which I assume will not be the same for everyone), here is where the files were located:

      /private/var/folders/24/”a very long string starting with kfx…”/T/ Temp

      If Apple/MS had intentionally tried to hide these files, they could not have done a better job. In classic Apple file, the rule is “my way or the highway.”

  19. Aneeta Brown says

    I very much appreciate the advice. iPhoto placed several photos of mine in a temp file instead of exporting them to the desktop. I looked for several minutes—-would NEVER have figured it out by myself. thank you!!!!

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