How to Recover Deleted Excel Files

How to Recover Deleted Excel Files thumbnail
Recover your worksheet if you forget to save or suffer a computer crash.

Microsoft Office programs, including Excel, 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 any file. Choose from this list to recover your Excel worksheets.


  1. Enable Automatic Recovery and Saving

    • 1

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

    • 2

      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 Unsaved Versions of Existing Worksheets

    • 4

      Launch Excel and then open the worksheet you changed but forgot to save.

    • 5

      Select "Info" from the File menu and then, under Versions, click the file that says "(when I closed without saving)."

    • 6

      Review the worksheet. Click the "Restore" button located in the yellow bar above the worksheet.

    Recover Unsaved Versions of New Worksheets

    • 7

      Launch Excel to recover a new worksheet you made but forgot to save before closing it.

    • 8

      Select "Info" from the File menu, then click "Manage Versions." Click the "Recover Unsaved Workbooks" option.

    • 9

      Select the workbook and click the "Open" button. To save the recovered file, click the "Save As" button in the yellow bar above the worksheet.

    Use Document Recovery

    • 10

      Recover your worksheet from the Document Recovery pane, which opens automatically if Excel closes or crashes before you were able to save your work. This feature works even if you don't have Autosave or Autorecover enabled.

    • 11

      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. Select "Delete" if you don't need the recovered version.

    • 12

      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.

  • Information in this article applies to Excel 2010 and Excel 2013. It may vary slightly or significantly with other versions or products.

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  • Photo Credit Jupiterimages/ Images

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