How to Recover Excel File: Essential Steps to Retrieve Lost Data

Recovering an Excel file is easier than you think. Whether you’ve accidentally deleted a file, encountered a crash, or just can’t find that important spreadsheet, there are several ways to get it back. By following these steps, you can recover your Excel file quickly and easily.

Step-by-Step Tutorial on How to Recover Excel File

These steps will guide you through different methods to recover an Excel file, helping you locate lost data and restore your work.

Step 1: Check the Recycle Bin

First, see if the file was accidentally deleted and is in the Recycle Bin.

Open the Recycle Bin on your desktop, and look for your Excel file. If you find it, right-click and select "Restore" to bring it back to its original location.

Step 2: Use AutoRecover

Open Excel and check if AutoRecover has saved a copy of your file.

In Excel, go to File > Info > Manage Workbook. Look for any files listed under "Recover Unsaved Workbooks." Click on the file if you find it, and save it to a new location.

Step 3: Search for Temporary Files

Search your computer for temporary files that Excel might have saved.

Go to the folder where you usually save your Excel files. Look for files with a .TMP extension. These might be your lost files. Change the extension to .XLSX to open them in Excel.

Step 4: Use File History or Previous Versions

If you have enabled File History or System Restore, you might recover previous versions.

Right-click on the folder where your file was saved and select "Restore previous versions." Browse through the available versions and restore the file you need.

Step 5: Use Data Recovery Software

As a last resort, use specialized software to recover your Excel file.

There are many data recovery tools available, such as Recuva or Disk Drill. Download and install one of these tools, follow the instructions to scan your computer, and recover your lost file.

After these steps, you should have your Excel file back. If one method doesn’t work, don’t lose hope and try another.

Tips for How to Recover Excel File

These tips will help you prevent data loss and make recovery easier in the future.

  • Always save your work: Regularly save your files to avoid losing your latest edits.
  • Enable AutoSave: Turn on AutoSave in Excel to automatically save your file at regular intervals.
  • Back up your files: Use cloud storage or an external drive to regularly back up your important files.
  • Update software: Ensure your Excel and operating system are up to date to avoid crashes and bugs.
  • Keep recovery tools handy: Install data recovery software in advance to be prepared for any unforeseen data loss.

Frequently Asked Questions

How can I find the AutoRecover file location?

In Excel, go to File > Options > Save. The AutoRecover file location will be listed under "AutoRecover file location."

What if AutoRecover didn’t save my file?

Try checking for temporary files or using file history. If those don’t work, consider data recovery software.

Is AutoSave the same as AutoRecover?

No, AutoSave saves files automatically as you work, while AutoRecover saves temporary copies of unsaved files when Excel crashes.

Can I recover a file if I didn’t save it?

Yes, you can try using the "Recover Unsaved Workbooks" option in Excel or look for temporary files.

What if I can’t find my file in the Recycle Bin?

If the file isn’t in the Recycle Bin, try using File History, Previous Versions, or data recovery software.


  1. Check the Recycle Bin
  2. Use AutoRecover
  3. Search for Temporary Files
  4. Use File History or Previous Versions
  5. Use Data Recovery Software


Recovering an Excel file can be a lifesaver, especially when you’ve spent hours working on an important document. By knowing the right steps and tools to use, you can minimize the impact of accidental deletions, crashes, or other mishaps. While it’s always best to save your work regularly and back up your files, knowing how to recover lost data can give you peace of mind.

If you’re often dealing with important Excel files, consider enabling AutoSave and regularly backing up your data to multiple locations. This can save you a lot of headaches in the future. Always keep your software up to date to prevent issues that might lead to data loss. For those times when you do run into trouble, remember the steps you’ve learned today. Now that you know how to recover an Excel file, you’re better prepared to handle any data loss situations that come your way. Stay proactive, and happy spreadsheeting!

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