Easy Ways to Recover Unsaved and Corrupted Excel File

It is always annoying and frustrating when you have been working on an Excel file for a long time, and you accidentally close it without saving, or the computer shuts down due to power cut or any other reason. There can be many other reasons by which your excel may get crashed. In such situations, you don’t want to start the project all over again and you don’t know what to do. But do not worry, there are some easy and helpful solutions to recover or repair your data from the corrupted or unsaved excel sheet. Lets discuss the various methods in detail.

Recovery Methods for MS Excel 2007

Method 1 : Auto Recovery

This is the easiest way to repair your corrupted excel in which you need not do anything. Let MS Excel take the responsibility. Just try to open a corrupted file and Excel will run a file recovery process. This is the process automatically done by the Excel. But the main drawback is that this feature sometimes fail to recover the damaged file. In that case, you need to try other alternative methods. But try the easiest one being the first priority.

Method 2 : Manual Repair

If the above recovery method doesn’t work, don’t panic, MS Excel has got a manual feature to repair a corrupted file. Here are the easy steps:

  1. Open a blank Excel 2007 file.
  2. Go to Open and locate & specify the desired corrupted file.
  3. Choose Open and Repair from the drop-down list of Open button.
  4. Click Repair in the resulting dialog box, and if you are lucky, Excel will recover the file.
  5. If Excel is unable to do that, then click Extract Data. And the data will be extracted.

Extra Tip: If Excel is not able to repair file by Open and Repair, do change the calculation to Manual. You can do it by going to the Formula bar, click on Calculation Options, and enable Manual by clicking on it. Sometimes excel is able to recover a damaged file if it doesn’t need to do calculations.

Method 3 : HTML & XML Methods

You can also try these two easy methods to get back your damaged excel files. But you can apply these methods only if you can open your corrupted file. Lets have a look at the steps.

  1. Open the corrupted file.
  2. Go to Save As and select Web Page (for HTML method) or XML Spreadsheet (for XML method) from the file format options.
  3. Click Save.
  4. Right-click the saved file, go to Open With > Microsoft Office Excel.
  5. Go to Save As and choose an Excel format from option (.xls or .xlsx formats).
  6. Click Save.

Recovery Methods for MS Excel 2010

Method 1: Recover Unsaved

For those using Excel 2010, there is an advanced recovery option provide by Microsoft Office (In addition to the above methods for 2007 version). But make sure “Save AutoRecover information” & “Keep the last autosaved version if I close without saving” options are enabled in your MS Office (Explained at the end of the methods). Following are the steps:

  1. Open MS Excel application.
  2. Click Recent under the File tab.
  3. And then click Recover Unsaved Workbooks located at the bottom.
  4. Drafts will open up where you can select your saved file by clicking Open.
  5. After that you can save the workbook on your computer by clicking Save As.

Method 2: Just an Alternate

There is also a method alternate to the one above, in order to recover your file:

  1. Open your MS Excel Workbook Application
  2. Click Recent under the File tab.
  3. And then click Recover Unsaved Workbooks under Manage Versions.
  4. Save As your desired workbook after opening it.

Method 3: Browsing Through File Location

You can also find your unsaved files by going through following location on your system: 

  • Windows XP

C:\Documents and Settings\User_Name\Local Settings\Application Data\Microsoft\Office\UnsavedFiles

  • Windows 7

C:\Users\User_Name\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Office\UnsavedFiles

Enebling Autosave & AutoRecover

In order to use the above recovery methods, you need to enable two options. The steps involved are: 

  1. Click on File tab. Then click Options under Help tab.
  2. Click Save and select the check box of “Save AutoRecover information every x minutes”.
  3. Also, do select the check box of “Keep the last autosaved version if I close without saving”. 

Other Recovery Options

You can try some other recovery options that may prove helpful for your excel (2007 & 2010) and data recovery.

  • Moving the file: Sometimes simply moving your corrupted excel file to some other folder or drive can help you recover the lost file. 
  • Try OpenOffice: OpenOffice is a free MS Office compatible tool. Opening the corrupted file using OpenOffice Calc may help in recovering it. 
  • Try WordPad or Word: Opening your damaged excel file with MS WordPad or Word may lose its format and calculations, but you may be able to recover your textual data. This method is worth trying, if nothing else works. 
  • Restarting your computer: Sometimes just restarting your computer and scanning it with an antivirus may become helpful if there is some minor error in the excel file or workbook. 
  • Delete temporary files: You can also try deleting your temporary files (c:\windows\temp) and then restarting the system. 

Important Tip: All the above methods will definitely help you in recovering & repairing your excel files and data. But do not forget that Save button is your best buddy. Keep clicking Save button (or pressing Ctrl+S) time and again while working on excel, as we all know that ‘Prevention is Better than Cure’. 

Do you guys got some more tips? Share them in the comments, or just give this post your important feedback. The floor is yours!

This entry was posted in and tagged on July 18, 2014 by

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