For those of us who work with Excel on a regular basis, we know how frustrating it can be when we accidentally close a document without saving it. All that hard work gone in a blink of an eye. But fear not, as there are ways to recover unsaved Excel documents. In this article, we will explore different methods to recover unsaved Excel documents and how to restore Excel files that have been accidentally deleted.

Method 1: AutoRecover feature in Excel

One of the best ways to recover unsaved Excel documents is by using the AutoRecover feature, which is built into the Excel software. This feature automatically saves a copy of your document at set intervals, in case of unexpected termination of the software or computer shutdown. Here are the steps to check if there are any unsaved copies of your document:

  1. Open Excel and click on File in the top left corner.
  2. Select ‘Info’ from the left-hand menu and then click on ‘Manage Workbook’ in the right-hand menu.
  3. Choose ‘Recover Unsaved Workbooks’ from the drop-down list.
  4. A folder containing any unsaved documents will open up. Check for any documents with the same or similar names to your original file.
  5. Double-click on the relevant file to open it.
  6. Save the file with a new name to prevent any issues with overwriting the original file.

Method 2: Recovering deleted Excel files using third-party software

When a file is deleted from a computer, it is not entirely erased from the hard drive. The space where the file was stored is marked as ‘available,’ which means that new data can be written in that area. This is why deleted files can still be recovered using specialized third-party software. Here are the steps to recover deleted Excel files using a free software called Recuva:

  1. Download and install Recuva from the official website:
  2. Open the software and select the type of file you want to recover, in this case, .xlsx or .xls files.
  3. Select the location where the file was stored before deletion, usually the Documents or Downloads folder.
  4. Click on ‘Scan’ and wait for the software to analyze the hard drive for any recoverable files.
  5. Once the scan is complete, select the Excel file you want to recover and click on ‘Recover’.
  6. Save the recovered file with a new name to prevent any issues with overwriting the original file.


Q1. Can I recover a file that was saved over?

A. Unfortunately, once a file has been saved over, it is usually impossible to recover the original data. However, there are some specialized software programs that claim to be able to recover overwritten files, but there is no guarantee of success.

Q2. How do I prevent losing Excel files in the future?

A. One way to prevent losing Excel files is by enabling the AutoSave feature in Excel. This feature automatically saves changes made to a document at set intervals, so even if the document is not saved manually, the changes will still be preserved.

Video Tutorial: How to Recover Unsaved Excel Documents

How to Restore Excel Files That Have Been Accidentally Deleted

Accidentally deleting an important Excel file is a nightmare for any professional. However, there are ways to restore deleted files if you act quickly and follow the right steps. Here are the steps to restore accidentally deleted Excel files:

  1. Check the Recycle Bin: The first step is to check the Recycle Bin, as the deleted file may still be there. To do this, double-click on the Recycle Bin icon on your desktop, find the Excel file you want to restore, right-click on it, and select ‘Restore’.
  2. Restore from a backup: If you have a backup of the file, you can restore it from there. Check your cloud storage or external hard drive for any recent backups.
  3. Use a data recovery software: If the file is not in the Recycle Bin and you don’t have a recent backup, you can use specialized data recovery software like Recuva (mentioned above) to recover the deleted file from the hard drive.
  4. Seek professional help: If all else fails, you can seek the help of professional data recovery services. These services use advanced techniques to recover deleted or corrupted files, but they can be quite expensive.

Hopefully, with these methods and tips, you can recover your unsaved or accidentally deleted Excel files with ease. Remember to always save your work regularly and enable the AutoSave feature to prevent losing any important data in the future.