Excel Document Recovery: We Can Help!

Many businesses throughout the UK and around the world use Microsoft Excel to manage their numerical data, store information and create models that will help them to analyse their information and grow their reach. 

While Excel is a secure application, accidents can happen. These might include a cybersecurity attack or human error that results in the loss of data in your Excel workbook. 

If this happens, it can be terrifying, particularly if you don’t have a backup version of the workbook. 

Thankfully, Excel offers document recovery solutions that can help you to reclaim your information quickly and easily. 

In this blog post, The Excel Experts explain how you can make the most of Excel’s document recovery solutions to save your work if disaster strikes. 

Why Recover Your Excel Documents?

There are many reasons why you might need to recover your Excel documents. For example, if your computer ran out of battery or shut down unexpectedly while you were editing a workbook, and you hadn’t saved your changes.

Alternatively, if you accidentally delete important information, then you can use the recovery tool to restore the Excel document to its previous state and get the data back. 

Whatever the reason, accidents happen, and even the most vigilant of business leaders and team members make mistakes and lose data from time to time.

With the help of Microsoft Excel’s recovery solution, these errors don’t have to be disastrous and can easily be rectified. 

Excel Document Recovery

How To Recover Unsaved Excel Files in Windows

Recovering unsaved files on a laptop or computer that operates using Windows is quick and easy. This simple step-by-step guide should help you to manage the process efficiently and get your files back in no time.

Whether your computer shuts down by itself or the program crashes, you can quickly get your work back and save it. 

Step One

The first step is to reopen Excel and go to the file section. You’ll then need to go to the Open tab, which is usually near the New one. You should then see all your recent workbooks. If the program closed quickly, then you might be able to see the recovery section there. 

Step Two

Alternatively, at the bottom left you’ll see a small, white square that says Recover Unsaved Workbooks and has a picture of an open file next to it. Click on this button. The Recover Unsaved Workbooks button will open a new window into the desktop folder where Excel saves all recovered, unsaved documents. 

Step Three

In this folder, you’ll see all the unsaved documents that Excel has kept for you. These documents might not have titles, but you can tell them apart by reviewing the date they were last modified or by opening them.

Once you open an unsaved file and identify it as the one you need, you can save it in a prominent location under a file name that you will recognise. 

Excel Document Recovery in Windows

How To Recover Unsaved Excel Files on a Mac

Apple Macs are different to devices that use Windows, as they use Apple’s own operating system. While you can still run Microsoft programs on these devices, they operate and appear differently. Therefore, the steps you need to take when recovering unsaved Excel files on a Mac aren’t the same as the ones you take when using a Windows computer. 

Step One

There are several methods that you can use to recover unsaved Excel files on a Mac, but the simplest one is to open Excel and click on the file dropdown menu. Under Open there will be an option that is called Open Recent, with a small arrow next to it. 

Step Two

If you hover your mouse over the Open Recent option, then to the left will be a list of recently used Excel documents, including any that were unsaved when the program shut down unexpectedly. If you see the document you need, then you can open it and then save it.  

Step Three

At the bottom of the list will be the More option, which you can open if you can’t find the file in the list. You’ll then be taken to the desktop destination where your recent Excel files are held and you can review them and find the one you need.

You can also check the temporary folder on your desktop to see if the document can be found there. 

How To Recover Overwritten Excel Files

If you overwrite an Excel workbook and then need to restore the previous version, you can do so by going to File- Info- Manage Workbook. 

In this box, you will see a dropdown arrow, which will allow you to see older versions of the document. The dropdown will show recent versions of the document. If you don’t see the right option in the dropdown menu, you can then click on Recover Unsaved Workbooks. 

This will open the Microsoft folder on your computer where unsaved or older versions of Excel documents are saved. You can then restore the older version of the Excel file and get your information back. 

How To Recover Overwritten Excel Files

5 Excel File Saving Tips

To reduce your chances of losing work and save your precious time, you need to understand how to make the most of Excel and save your documents correctly.

Here are some of our expert tips on how to save Excel files and help you to maximise your productivity when using the program. 

1. Save Without Losing Formatting

If you find that you keep losing your formatting when saving Excel documents, then click Save As and use the dropdown to suggest a different type of workbook.

This might be a binary or a macro-enabled workbook. A .xlsx workbook should keep all your formatting saved, so this is often the most popular option, but if it keeps changing, you might need to consider a different type. 

2. Saving An Excel File As CSV or XLSX

To save an Excel file as a different type, you go to Save As and choose the option you want. A CSV or Comma delimited workbook is more compatible with other programs than the XLSX version, so this could be a useful solution for anyone who wants to integrate Excel with other tools. 

3. Saving A File After Editing

After editing an Excel document, you should save it to ensure that your changes are safe. You can do this by clicking the save button at the top of the file.

If you want to make a new version of the document after each set of edits, you can choose Save As and then rename the file to differentiate it from older versions. 

4. Cleaning Up Your Excel Workbook For Less Memory

If you have a large Excel file that’s using up a lot of memory, then you can try to get rid of old data or clean it up by removing unused macros or other formatting solutions that could be contributing to its size.

Consider storing unused data in a different file or getting rid of it to make the file smaller and reduce the space it takes up on your computer or Cloud storage solution. 

5. Reducing Your Excel File Size

If you’ve reduced the data in your workbook, but the size is still large, then you can reduce the size of the document further.

There are several techniques you can use, the most notable being to compress the file. You can do this by going to the file’s saved location, left-clicking on the document name and going to the send to, then go to the compressed (zipped) folder.

You can then make a compressed version of the file, which you can be great for saving memory and sending it via email. 

5 Excel File Saving Tips

Conclusion: Why You Shouldn’t Panic Over Lost Excel Files

Ultimately, this article proves that when disaster strikes and your Excel document is compromised, there’s no need to panic!

Use the tips in this article to quickly and easily restore your Excel workbook and get your data back.

If you want to find out more about how to make the most of Excel and other popular Microsoft products, then make the most of the resources on our blog

To speak to one of our team of Excel specialists, contact us, and we’ll explain our service offering and how we can tailor it to your business needs.

Our Excel training courses can help your team to learn more about Excel document recovery and other vital tasks that will help your business make the most of this popular data management program. 


Can you recover an overwritten Excel file save?

Yes! If an Excel document has been saved and you want to restore it to an earlier version, you can go to File- Info- Manage Documents and then recover unsaved or earlier versions of the file. So, if you ever save over an Excel workbook and want the old version, you can usually find it, especially if you made the mistake recently. 

Why do I have problems with Excel formatting?

If you’re having problems with Excel formatting after recovering your file, it could be because the document settings have changed or the file is corrupted. Highlight the cells in question and, go to Format Cells, then select the style that you want. If this doesn’t fix the issue, then consider recovering the file again or restoring it to another older version. 

Where do unsaved Excel files go?

Unsaved Excel files sit in the recovery pane, which appears after Excel has shut down incorrectly or unexpectedly. So, if your computer or program closes without warning, you can recover the most recent version of your unsaved documents. If you try to close Excel without saving your documents, the program will prompt you to save your work. 

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