How to Recover Deleted Excel Files

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Recover your worksheet if you forget to save or suffer a computer crash.

Microsoft Office programs, including Excel 2010, include the ability to recover files that you've forgotten to save or were prevented from saving if your computer shuts down unexpectedly. To enable Excel to automatically save your files, set the options in the program correctly. By doing so, you ensure that Excel has access to the most-recently saved version that the program automatically creates. In addition, Microsoft Office includes a document recovery feature that displays the last three versions of the file. Choose from this list to recover your Excel worksheets.


  1. Enable Automatic Recovery and Saving

    • 1

      Open Excel and select "File," "Help," and then "Options."

    • 2

      Select "Save" and set the number of minutes between automatic saves in the provided check box.

    • 3

      Check the box to "Keep the last autosaved version if I close without saving" if it is not already checked.

    Recover Earlier Versions of an Excel Worksheet

    • 4

      Open Excel and select "File." If you are recovering an existing worksheet, select "File," and then "Open" to select that worksheet.

    • 5

      Select "Recent" to recover a brand-new file that you have not yet saved. Select "Info" to recover an existing worksheet.

    • 6

      Select "Recover Unsaved Workbooks" to recover the new worksheet. For existing worksheets, select "Versions."

    • 7

      For new worksheets, select the draft from the pop-up windows that appears. For existing worksheets, select the version that lists "when I closed without saving," and then click "Restore" to make this version the one that is current. This overwrites any changes in the opened file to the last automatically saved content in the worksheet.

    • 8

      Select "File," and then "Save" to avoid any further data loss.

    Use Document Recovery

    • 9

      Recover your worksheet from the Document Recovery pane appears, which appears if you haven't enabled the auto-save feature in your Microsoft Office products.

    • 10

      Click the arrow next to the worksheet you need to recover. Select "Open" to view the recovered worksheet; select "Save As" to open the worksheet and create a fresh version and select "Delete" if you don't need the recovered version.

    • 11

      Select "File," "Save" to avoid any further data loss.

Tips & Warnings

  • Select "Recovered" in the Document Recovery pane if you cannot see the worksheet you need. Open the pane a second time by selecting "Recovered" a second time.

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