I was on a Mac with no plaintext text editor installed, and needed to make a very quick change to a HTML file saved on a shared drive. I opened it in TextEdit, set it to "Plain text" in Preferences (which had no effect), hit Format > Make Plain Text, hit undo since that didn't help, then I closed TextEdit without saving.

It gave some warning about not being able to store previous versions of the file because the shared drive doesn't support that, and wouldn't quit until I chose "okay". I thought this would be fine since I hadn't saved any changes.

Somewhere along the line, TextEdit had quietly deleted the original HTML file and created an RTF version. This unwanted RTF's creation date was from around the time I opened it.

There's nothing in trash, and I've tried "Revert to" in TextEdit (no previous versions).

Is there anything I can do to get the original file back?

Operating system is 10.9.5 if that's relevant.


TextEdit is a plain text editor it you first set the preferences for Format to "Plain text" before opening the file.

Unfortunately Auto-Save has it drawbacks and if you do not have a proper backup of the file I'd say you're out of luck since the file was stored on a volume that could not store versions of the file.

  • So it would have been auto-save that deleted the HTML file? :-/ that'sa very aggressive autosave – user56reinstatemonica8 Mar 10 '15 at 17:46
  • I'm not sure Auto-Save was the cause of your issue however the bottom line is if you open a file from a place that does not support permanent version storage and you have no other proper backup then that's the real issue. – user3439894 Mar 10 '15 at 17:54

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