I have an iMac running High Sierra. I created a spreadsheet in Numbers a couple of months ago. I have been updating it a few times each week. Last edit was this month a couple of times. The Numbers file was stored in a folder named finance. When I tried to edit it yesterday, Saturday, I couldn't find the file nor the folder. I tried searching for the file and found a couple of files with the same name but they were older copies. I started the Numbers app and tried the "open recent" option in the file menu. I again found a couple of files with the correct name but they were the older files mentioned earlier.

What could have happened to the file and folder? I suppose I may have accidently deleted them. Is there any way to tell? If I deleted them do I need a 3rd party app to try and recover them?

  • When you say you couldn't find the file/folder, were you only looking for them in recently opened / spotlight? Or were you using Finder and going to the location you saved them. – Ezekiel Elin May 5 at 22:13
  • I used the Finder search option to look for the folder name and then the file name. No luck. – jmh May 10 at 15:07
  • Why the down vote? – jmh May 10 at 15:07

A time machine backup is good for such cases. If you use time machine, open it while you have the location of the folder open in Finder and go back to when the folder was still there.

If you deleted it, there should be a copy in the trash. Look there, too.

People sometimes accidentally move files or folders around or rename them. A terminal search for the file name can also find it in hidden and system directories, if your setup allows dragging things there.

Without a backup, I'm afraid it's very unlikely any tool can undelete it, as it has probably already been overwritten by what you did in the meantime. It usually only works when not doing much with the Mac and starting the undelete tool from another disk. However, you may try, especially if it's important.

Try to avoid adding anything to the disk - files, apps, updates, even logs (which the computer does automatically when you use it), until you recovered the file.

You might also want to spend money on professional recovery services if the file is really important. Their chances are higher as they know which tools are best from frequent use. But I doubt they'll be successful.

I suggest starting time machine from now on - it runs in the background and makes it possible to recover such files.


It turns out I had acidently deleted the folder. I used StellarDataRecovery app to search my disk for deleted files. The free trial copy of the app recovered the files for me. They were only 25-30 lines in each of the 2 files so they were pretty small.

  • 2
    Backup your files. Back them up now. Files without a backup are waiting to be lost. Did I mention you should get a backup? – benwiggy May 10 at 18:02
  • I have 2 backups. I forgot about one and the oter you can't extract single files. I should have used Backblaze but i totally forgot i had it. I was well prepared but stupid. Time Machine quit workng and I was told I need to reinstall system to fix it. So I went to backblaze instead! – jmh May 12 at 20:09

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