When working in Excel, it’s surprisingly common to overwrite existing files – or to lose unsaved files altogether. It’s nerve-wracking, but luckily there are a few workarounds to get your information back. We’ll go over a few top tips to recover Excel files. Having these in your arsenal is sure to make your work life easier.
Look for the Document Recovery Option
If your files were lost because of an unexpected Excel shutdown or related issue, there’s a good chance you can recover them without a lot of workarounds. That’s because Excel automatically holds onto files if it suspects you closed them accidentally.
To see if Excel managed to salvage your files before they closed, just open Excel and look for a “Document Recovery” sidebar on the left side of the Excel window. If it’s there, you’ll see a list of documents Excel salvaged for you and the basic information for each. Save your files, and you should be good to go.
Look for Temporary Recovered Files
Sometimes the AutoRecover feature comes to the rescue. Check the temporary file folder location on your computer and find your temporary Excel files. It will be different on different versions of Windows, but this is a sample file path that should help you find the equivalent file on your computer: C:\Documents and Settings\\Local Settings\Application Data\Microsoft\Office\UnsavedFiles.
Use the Recover Unsaved Files
Open Excel, click “File,” “Info,” and “Manage Workbook.” In the “Manage Workbook” drop-down menu, click “Recover Unsaved Workbooks.” You’ll get a list of unsaved files. Click the one (or ones) you want. Excel will give you the option to save them now.
Restore a Previous Version
If you activated the Windows backup option in the past, you have another option to retrieve lost documents. Create a new Excel file with the same name as the lost file. Or find your current, saved-over Excel file. Rich-click on the file and select “Properties.” Go to the “Previous Versions” tab, find the most recent version that you want to revert back to, and click “Restore.” And you should have the version of the file that you need.
OneDrive Backup to the Rescue
If you use OneDrive to store your Excel files, this offers another layer of file protection. However, whether or not this will work depends on whether you use OneDrive and how often you back up your files.
Open OneDrive and right-click on the file you’re trying to restore a past version of. Click “Version History” to see a list of past changes. Look through all these to find the version you’re looking for, and click on it. You should now have the version you need.
If you lose an unsaved Excel workbook or think you’ve overwritten an Excel file, don’t panic – all is not lost. Try these strategies to get your file back. It’s often easier than you think. And the best part is, the more often you do this, the easier it is to remember the processes. Before long, you’ll barely bat an eye when Excel crashes and you have to retrieve your lost files.