There are a few things which I hate from my soul and a crashed Microsoft Excel is one of those things.
Just think like this, you are working on an important report and suddenly application crashed and you get a message “Excel is not responding” or “Excel has stopped working”.
Well, it’s fine if you have saved your workbook but, if not, then it’s almost like the world is going to end kind of feeling.
The fact is, you and me, we can’t avoid these kinds of things because it all depends on the system’s performance.
But the good news is:
In Excel, there are some options and features which we can use to recover an unsaved file and get our work back.
Today in this post, I’d like to share with you these simple steps to recover unsaved Excel files and all the important points related to it.
So let’s get started.
Activate/Configure AutoSave Option to Recover Files
In Excel, there is a feature “AutoSave” which allows it to save files [temporary basis] even if you haven’t saved it.
To configure it,
- First of all, go to File Tab and click on options.
- Now in the options window, click on Save Tab.
- Here you have these three options which you can configure according to your need.
- Save files in this format: You can choose the format of the workbook in which you want the save your file with unsaved work.
- Save AutoRecover option every: You can set the duration time in minutes to get your file autosave.
- Keep the last AutoRecover: the Last version if I close without saving: It creates a backup version of a file.
Important Note: Make sure to keep the duration time short to get more versions to save.
Apart from this, there is also an “AutoRecover” option which helps you to recover the last unsaved version of a file (which is saved once).
The good news is, by default these options are activated and continuously save unsaved workbooks on your system.
Recovering Unsaved Excel Files
While working with Excel for a while, I have observed that there can be three different scenarios when you need to recover your Excel files.
You Want Your Unsaved File Back with Data
The first case is when you are working on a file that is not yet saved anywhere just before you save it Excel got crashed or you close it without saving.
Here are the steps to recover a file that is not yet saved by you.
- First of all, go to the FILE TAB and click on “Open”.
- Now, click on “Recent Workbooks”.
- After that, scroll to the end and click on “ Recover Unsaved Workbooks”.
- Once you click on it, it shows an open dialog box, and locate it to (C:UsersUserNameAppDataLocalMicrosoftOfficeUnsavedFiles) where Excel has saved a copy of all the unsaved workbook.
- Select the workbook to open and click OK.
- Once you open a workbook, it shows a message alert to save that file before you use it or make any change in it.
Quick Note: The files which Excel saved as a backup are in the “xlsb” format, so when you save them to make sure to use the correct format.
2. Forget to Save File or Excel Got Crashed
Now, this is the thing happen to all of us. We are working on a file that is already saved somewhere.
And, after updating is we forget to save it or Excel got crashed. In this case, everything which you have updated is lost.
With the auto recover option, you can recover a file with all the updated data.
Here the point is simple when you re-open Excel it shows you “Document Recovery Pane” with the list of all the unsaved versions of the files.
You can click on the file which you want to open and once you open it save it.
Simple is that.
3. Get the Previous Version of a Workbook
If you use Excel 2010 or above then you can also recover the previous version of a workbook. It can be helpful if you have made a mistake in your work which can’t be undone.
Here are the steps to do it:
- First of all, click on the “File” tab and go to the “Info” category.
- Here you have a list of all the version of the workbook which you can restore.
- When you click on a version, Excel opens that version along with the present one so that you can compare both.
The save AutoSave option works behind this as well. Let’s say, you have specified 10 minutes in AutoSave option, Excel saves a version of your file after every 10 minutes.
3.1 Recover the Previous Version of an Excel File from OneDrive
If you are like me and love to use cloud storage to save the file then you can also recover the previous version of a file. In OneDrive, there is an option to get a list of the old version of an Excel workbook. Follow these simple steps which you can use:
- Open OneDrive and then open the folder your file is saved.
- After that, select that file and right-click.
- Now, click on the “View History” to open that file in another tab.
- Here at the left side of the window, you have a list of the versions which you can open by clicking on it.
As I said, it’s painful when your Excel file crashed and you struggle to recover it back. But with all the steps I have mentioned, now it can be quite easy for you.
If you want to do the way I create backup files then OneDrive is the best way where you can easily recover previous versions of files.
I hope this tip will help you to save your time and work but now tell me one thing.
Have you ever tried to recover an unsaved Excel file?
Share your views with me in the comment section, I’d love to hear from you. And please don’t forget to share this tip with your friend.
About the Author
Puneet is using Excel since his college days. He helped thousands of people to understand the power of the spreadsheets and learn Microsoft Excel. You can ﬁnd him online, tweeting about Excel, on a running track, or sometimes hiking up a mountain.