How To Quickly Repair A Corrupt Excel File [5 Quick Ways]

5 Effective Ways To Quickly Repair A Corrupt Excel File

Excel is extensively used by both business organizations and individuals for maintaining records or tasks. The most petrifying situation is when the file is corrupt, and the data becomes inaccessible. In this blog, we will be discussing the causes of corruption and five ways to repair a corrupt Excel File.

Even a minor error can completely corrupt the file. Some of the common causes of Excel file corruption are:

  • Improper shutdown of the system – One of the primary causes of Excel file corruption is an improper shutdown of the system. Often, due to sudden power cuts or due to hardware issues, the system shuts down unexpectedly. In such situations, the probability of Excel file corruption is high as the system closes all the open programs improperly. Therefore, it is important to shut down the system properly to avoid file corruption.
  • Development of bad sectors Over time, the hard drive or any other storage device develops bad sectors. In case the Excel file is saved in the bad sector of the storage device, it is likely to be corrupt.
  • Virus infection – Virus infection is a common threat for computers. Even after protecting the systems by using antivirus, certain viruses, and malware is capable of attacking the computers. These viruses are capable of corrupting the file system as well as saved files. If the computer is attacked by such viruses, the Excel file might get corrupt.
  • Issues in the MS Excel Application – Even though this application is extremely useful, sometimes some issues come up in the Excel application, which prevents you from using the file. In such situations, the information stored in the Excel file can be lost and the file as well might get corrupt.

How to repair a corrupt Excel file?

It is true that no data stored in the computer is resistant to corruption and MS Excel file is not an exception to it. Over time, due to various reasons, the file gets corrupt. While working on Spreadsheets or when trying to open it, certain error messages are displayed confirming corruption of the files. Some of the common error messages that reports corruptions of the Excel file are:

  • Unable to read file
  • File error: Data may have been lost
  • Excel cannot open the file .xlsx because the file format or file extension is not valid
  • Excel found unreadable content in name.xls
  • The file is corrupt and can’t be opened

These are some of the very common error that everyone encounters at some point in time while working on spreadsheets. But the important thing is how to repair a corrupt Excel File. Here are five ways to repair corrupt .XLS or .XLSX files.

  • Open and Repair: One of the fastest and easiest ways to repair a corrupt Workbook is the “Open and Repair” option available within the MS Excel Application. It is a manual method to repair a corrupt file and make it accessible. Just by following a few simple steps the corrupt file can be easily repaired. The steps you need to follow are:
    1. Click on the “Open” tab on the File Menu
    2. From the list, choose the corrupt file
    3. From the drop-down list of the “Open” tab, select “Open and Repair” option
    4. Click on the “repair” button to repair the corrupt file
  • Data Extraction: Incase the file is severely damaged, and the inbuilt repair option could not repair the file, the next option that can be used to retrieve the data is by extracting it. It can be done by using Macro. Using this method, the data on the corrupt spreadsheet can be easily extracted. For data extraction, follow the below-mentioned steps:
    1. Click on the “Open” tab on the File Menu
    2. From the list, choose the corrupt file
    3. From the drop-down list of the “Open” tab, select “Open and Repair” option
    4. Click on the “Extract” button to extract the data from the corrupt file.
  • Opening the file in MS Word or WordPad file – Another option that can be used in case the above methods fail is by opening the corrupt workbook either in WordPad or MS Word. The text on the corrupt file can be recovered with this method but, it will not be able to retrieve the formulas. However, it can recover VBA procedures (macros), which is not possible with the other recovery methods.
  • Using SYLK (Symbolic) format – Another option to manually repair the corrupt Excel file is by converting it into SYLK or symbolic link format. It is also one of the recommended solutions by Microsoft. This solution is particularly helpful when the corruption in the file is caused due to fault in the printer, or there was a problem while printing.
  • Repair Software – When all the above manual methods of repair an excel file fails, or there is the lack of time to try different repair methods, using a repair software can be helpful. Many software are available in the market that ensures complete repair of a corrupt Excel file. Therefore, it is the best option as it will save a lot of time and at the same time repair the file irrespective of the level of corruption.

Bottom Line

These are the five easy ways to repair a damaged Excel file. However, it is important to identify the error and use the most effective method so that it can be repaired without wasting time by trying to fix to employ different methods. Hope this post is helpful. Do share your thoughts with a comment.

This is a guest post by Priyanka Chouhan from Stellar Data Recovery.

cutmypic Priyanka is a technical writer in “Stellar Data Recovery “with 5 years of experience and has written several articles on MS Office. In spear time, she love reading and gardening.

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  1. Harshit Gupta 22 Nov, 16 at 10:04 am - Reply

    Can this software capable of recovering accidentally deleted excel files.

  2. Nevin Fradian 8 Sep, 16 at 11:02 am - Reply

    Users can also try Kernel for Excel recovery software to easily and accurately recover complete data from corrupt or damaged MS Excel. The software supports recovery of .xls and .xlsx file data from MS Excel without any hassle. The software also supports all MS Excel versions. For more information about the software, visit:

  3. mma173 22 Jul, 16 at 4:30 pm - Reply

    One time I was able to repair a file by changing the extension to .zip and using the repair option in the file archive software.

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