How to Recover Corrupted Excel File: Step-by-Step Guide

Recovering a corrupted Excel file can be a nerve-wracking experience, especially if it contains important data. However, with a few simple steps, you can attempt to restore your file to its former glory. By using Excel’s built-in tools or third-party software, there’s a good chance you’ll be able to retrieve your valuable information.

Step by Step Tutorial: How to Recover Corrupted Excel File

When an Excel file becomes corrupted, it may seem like all is lost. But fear not! The following steps will guide you through the process of attempting to recover your file using Excel’s own features.

Step 1: Open Excel

Open the Excel application on your computer.

When you open Excel, don’t try to open the corrupted file just yet. We’re going to access some of Excel’s tools first to prepare for the recovery.

Step 2: Go to “Open”

Click on the “File” tab and select “Open”.

In the “Open” menu, you’ll find various options that will assist in recovering your file. This is the starting point for the recovery process.

Step 3: Click on “Browse”

After clicking “Open”, choose “Browse” to find the corrupted file.

Navigate to the location on your computer where the corrupted file is saved. You might have to search a bit if you’re not sure where it is.

Step 4: Select the Corrupted File

Click on the corrupted Excel file to select it, but don’t open it yet.

Once you’ve found your file, make sure you click on it only once to highlight it instead of double-clicking, which would normally open the file.

Step 5: Click the Arrow Next to “Open”

Find and click the small arrow next to the “Open” button.

This arrow reveals a dropdown menu with additional options that we’ll use to attempt the recovery.

Step 6: Choose “Open and Repair”

From the dropdown menu, select “Open and Repair”.

“Open and Repair” is a built-in Excel feature specifically designed to fix and recover corrupted files.

After completing these steps, Excel will attempt to repair the corrupted file. It may take a few moments, but the application will do its best to recover your data and open the file in a usable state.

Tips for Recovering Corrupted Excel File

There are a few things to keep in mind when attempting to recover a corrupted Excel file that can make the process smoother.

  • Save a backup of the corrupted file before attempting any recovery. This ensures you have a copy to fall back on if the recovery process further damages the file.
  • Avoid writing new data to the storage device where the corrupted file is located, as this can overwrite the data you’re trying to recover.
  • Keep your Excel application up to date, as newer versions may have improved recovery tools.
  • Consider using third-party recovery software if Excel’s “Open and Repair” tool does not yield results. There are many options available online that specialize in data recovery.
  • If the file is extremely important and you cannot recover it yourself, you may need to contact a data recovery professional who can offer more advanced services.

Frequently Asked Questions

What causes Excel files to become corrupted?

Corruption can occur due to various reasons such as sudden power loss, software crashes, or virus attacks.

Can I prevent Excel files from getting corrupted?

While you can’t prevent all causes, regularly saving your work, avoiding abrupt shutdowns, and using reliable antivirus software can reduce the risk.

Will “Open and Repair” work for all corrupted Excel files?

It is not guaranteed to work for every file, but it’s a good first step before trying more advanced recovery methods.

Can I recover a file that was not saved before Excel crashed?

Excel has an “AutoRecover” feature that may have saved a temporary version of the file. Check the “Recover Unsaved Workbooks” option under the “File” tab.

Is it safe to use third-party recovery software?

Ensure that any software you use comes from a reputable source and read reviews from other users before downloading or purchasing.


  1. Open Excel.
  2. Go to “Open”.
  3. Click on “Browse”.
  4. Select the corrupted file.
  5. Click the arrow next to “Open”.
  6. Choose “Open and Repair”.


Dealing with a corrupted Excel file can be quite a dilemma, but it’s not necessarily the end of the world. With the steps outlined above, you’ve got a fighting chance to reclaim your data and carry on with your work. Remember, technology can be unpredictable, but it also provides us with the tools to fix what goes wrong. The key to a successful recovery is staying calm and methodical in your approach. And if you’ve tried everything and it’s still not working, don’t hesitate to seek out professional help. After all, sometimes we need to call in the cavalry. But with any luck, the built-in “Open and Repair” feature will be enough to recover your corrupted Excel file, and you’ll be back to analyzing data and creating charts in no time.

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