I downloaded an essay for editing earlier today, worked on it for roughly four hours, and the program crashed. Many changes have been made since the download.
I haven't once saved the document so it's in the temporary files. Is there a way to recover the file with the saved changes?
Office for Mac should save autorecovery files at
/Users/username/Documents/Microsoft User Data/Office version AutoRecovery/Autorecovery save of filename.
If Word is still running or hanging you need to quit it before trying to open the autorecovered file.
And that all being said, press Cmd+S a bit more often! It's Word for Mac, after all.