How to Undo Changes in Excel After Save and Close: A Step-by-Step Guide

If you’ve ever found yourself in a situation where you’ve saved and closed your Excel workbook only to realize you’ve made unwanted changes, don’t worry! You can still undo those changes using a few clever tricks. This guide will walk you through the process of undoing changes in Excel after saving and closing the file, ensuring you can recover your original data without too much hassle.

How to Undo Changes in Excel After Save and Close

We’ll be looking at a few different methods to undo changes in Excel after you’ve already saved and closed your file. These methods include using AutoRecover, checking for previous versions, and even leveraging backup files. By following the steps below, you’ll be able to retrieve your original data and preserve your work.

Step 1: Open Excel

Start by opening Excel to access the options available for recovering your work.

Once you open Excel, you should see a list of recently opened files. If the file you need is there, click on it to open it. Otherwise, use the Open option to locate your file.

Step 2: Use AutoRecover

Go to the File tab and select Options. Then navigate to the Save tab to see if AutoRecover is enabled.

AutoRecover is a lifesaver. This feature automatically saves versions of your file at set intervals. If AutoRecover is enabled, you may find a recently saved version that doesn’t include the unwanted changes.

Step 3: Check for Previous Versions

Right-click the file in Windows Explorer and select Properties. Navigate to the Previous Versions tab to see if there are earlier versions of your file available.

If you find previous versions, select the desired version and hit Restore. This can take you back to the state of the file before the unwanted changes were saved.

Step 4: Look for Backup Files

Excel sometimes creates backup copies of your files. Look in the same directory as your original file for a file with a .xlk extension.

If you find a backup file, open it. This file might contain the data as it was before the changes, allowing you to recover your original work.

Step 5: Use Excel’s Built-In Recovery Feature

If all else fails, open Excel and go to File > Info. Then click on Manage Workbook and look for any "Recovered" files listed there.

This feature can sometimes help you find a version of your file that was automatically saved before the changes were made.

After you complete these steps, you should be able to find and restore an earlier version of your Excel file without the unwanted changes. Keep in mind that success may vary depending on how your system and Excel are configured.

Tips for Undo Changes in Excel After Save and Close

  • Enable AutoRecover: Always ensure AutoRecover is enabled to save your work periodically.
  • Regular Backups: Make a habit of saving backup copies of important files.
  • Use OneDrive: If using OneDrive, check for previous versions via the OneDrive interface.
  • Checkpoint Feature: Use Excel’s feature to set manual checkpoints before making major changes.
  • File History: If using Windows, enable File History to keep backups of files.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I undo changes after closing an Excel workbook?

Yes, you can use features like AutoRecover or check for previous versions to undo changes after closing.

Is AutoRecover enabled by default?

Yes, AutoRecover is typically enabled by default in Excel, but it’s a good idea to check your settings.

Where can I find backup files?

Look in the same directory as your original file for files with a .xlk extension.

Can I recover a file from OneDrive?

Yes, OneDrive keeps previous versions of files, which you can restore from the OneDrive interface.

What if I can’t find any previous versions?

If no previous versions are available, you may need to use manual backups or rely on external recovery tools.


  1. Open Excel.
  2. Use AutoRecover.
  3. Check for Previous Versions.
  4. Look for Backup Files.
  5. Use Excel’s Built-In Recovery Feature.


Undoing changes in Excel after you’ve saved and closed the file might sound like a daunting task, but it’s entirely doable with the right approach. Whether you’re relying on AutoRecover, previous versions, or backup files, these methods provide several avenues to retrieve your original data.

Remember, prevention is always better than cure. Regularly enabling features like AutoRecover and keeping consistent backups can save you a lot of trouble in the future. If you frequently work with crucial data, consider using cloud services like OneDrive that offer version history.

For further reading, you might explore Excel’s built-in help resources or check out online forums and communities where Excel users share tips and tricks. If you found this guide helpful, why not share it with someone who might need it? Happy Excel-ing!

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