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Recover Unsaved Excel Files

Updated on December 12, 2023
Article byJeevan A Y
Edited byAshish Kumar Srivastav
Reviewed byDheeraj Vaidya, CFA, FRM

How to Recover Unsaved Excel Files? (Step by Step)

Follow the below steps to recover unsaved excel files/workbooks.

  1. First, click on the “File” tab from the active workbook.


    Enable Recover unsaved files tools step 1

  2. Under the “Manage Workbook,” click on the dropdown list to see the option of “Recover Unsaved Workbooks.”


    Recover Unsaved Workbook Example 1

  3. Click on “Recover Unsaved Workbooks” to see the list of unsaved workbooks.


    Recover Unsaved Workbook Example 1-1

  4. Choose the latest file which needs to recover. You can find the file based on the date and time. Then, select the file and click on “Open.”


    Recover Unsaved Workbook Example 1-3

  5. Now, as soon as you open the file, you may see the option stating “RECOVERED UNSAVED FILE.” From here, choose the option of “Save As” to save the file in your own desired folder.


    Recover Unsaved Workbook Example 1-2

Like this, we can recover never saved workbooks if we close the workbook accidentally.

Note: This works based on the auto-recovery timing we had given. For example, if the auto-recovery timing is 2 minutes and you have started the work at 10:00 a.m. and worked for 3 minutes, you closed the file without saving it. In this case, you will recover the file with only 2 minutes of work in the file because since we have set the auto-recovery to 2 minutes, it has recovered the file at 10:02 a.m., and the subsequent recovery will be at 10:04 a.m. So, we have closed the file at 10:03 a.m., so it will not recover the remaining 1-minute work.

Recover Previous Versions of Excel File

Assume a situation where you have started the work in the already saved workbook at 04:00 p.m. You have worked for 20 minutes and suddenly realized you made some mistakes at 04:07 p.m. Now, you need to go back to the file of 04:07 p.m. How do you recover this file?

It is also possible based on our auto-recovery option. For example, if the auto-recovery time is 4 minutes, then Excel keeps saving versions of Excel every two minutes so that we can recover the file based on this timing.

  • Step 1: First, go to the “File” tab
Manage wb Example 2
  • Step 2: Then, go to “Info.
Manage Wb Example 2-1
  • Step 3: You may see the “Manage Workbook” option. Next to this, we can see all the previously autosaved files.
Manage Wb Example 2-2.png

 Things to Remember

  • Set the auto-recovery time as 2 minutes to get the frequent time interval backups.
  • If the data is huge, the less time we set, the more time we will consume while saving the workbook.
  • Auto recovery of older Excel file versions will work only for the already saved Excel file.

This article is a guide to Recover Unsaved Excel Files. Here, we discuss how to enable auto recover options, recover unsaved Excel files and workbooks, etc., along with practical examples. You may learn more about Excel from the following articles: –