How to Recover Corrupted Excel File: Easy Steps to Restore Your Data

How to Recover a Corrupted Excel File

Recovering a corrupted Excel file might seem like a daunting task, but it’s actually quite simple if you follow a few steps. You’ll need to use some built-in tools in Excel, such as the "Open and Repair" feature, and possibly try a few other tricks. By the end of these instructions, you should have your data back and your Excel file up and running smoothly.

How to Recover a Corrupted Excel File

The following steps will guide you through recovering a corrupted Excel file using various methods, ensuring you can access your important data once again.

Step 1: Open Excel

First, open Excel without opening the corrupted file.

This step ensures that Excel is running and ready for the next steps. Starting with a fresh instance of Excel can help avoid any additional complications.

Step 2: Click on ‘File’ and Select ‘Open’

Click on ‘File’ in the top left corner and select ‘Open’ from the dropdown menu.

This action will take you to the area where you can choose the file you want to open. You need to navigate to the corrupted file.

Step 3: Locate the Corrupted File

Find the corrupted Excel file on your computer and select it.

Make sure you know where your file is stored. If it’s on a USB drive or an external hard drive, connect that to your computer first.

Step 4: Use the ‘Open and Repair’ Option

Click on the arrow next to the ‘Open’ button and select ‘Open and Repair.’

The ‘Open and Repair’ option is specifically designed for this situation. It attempts to repair the file as it opens it, which can fix many common issues.

Step 5: Choose ‘Repair’ from the Popup

When prompted, select the ‘Repair’ option.

Excel will now attempt to fix the file. Depending on the extent of the corruption, this may take a few moments.

After following these steps, Excel will try to repair and open your file. If successful, you should see the contents of your Excel file restored.

Tips on How to Recover a Corrupted Excel File

  • Save Backups Regularly: Always keep a backup copy of important files to avoid data loss.
  • Use AutoRecover: Enable AutoRecover in Excel to automatically save versions of your work.
  • Keep Software Updated: Use the latest version of Excel to benefit from the latest fixes and features.
  • Avoid Interruptions: Don’t force shutdowns or close Excel while it’s saving your file.
  • Third-Party Tools: Consider using third-party recovery tools if Excel’s built-in methods don’t work.

Frequently Asked Questions

What causes an Excel file to become corrupted?

Excel files can become corrupted due to issues like unexpected shutdowns, software crashes, or even malware.

Can I recover my file if ‘Open and Repair’ doesn’t work?

Yes, you can try using a third-party recovery tool or restore from a previous backup.

What is AutoRecover, and how does it help?

AutoRecover automatically saves a copy of your file at regular intervals, which can be a lifesaver if your file gets corrupted.

How can I prevent Excel file corruption?

Regularly save your work, keep your software updated, and avoid force-closing Excel.

Are third-party recovery tools safe to use?

Most reputable third-party tools are safe, but always download them from trusted sources to avoid malware.


  1. Open Excel.
  2. Click on ‘File’ and select ‘Open’.
  3. Locate the corrupted file.
  4. Use the ‘Open and Repair’ option.
  5. Choose ‘Repair’ from the popup.


Recovering a corrupted Excel file might initially seem like a nightmare, but with these straightforward steps and a bit of patience, you can usually get your data back. Whether it’s using Excel’s built-in repair options or considering third-party tools as a last resort, there’s hope for your damaged files. Make sure to regularly back up your important work and keep your software updated to prevent future issues.

By following the steps outlined above, you can tackle most problems that come your way. If you still face difficulties, consider reaching out to Excel support or using more advanced recovery methods. Don’t let file corruption slow you down—be proactive and stay prepared. Happy Excel-ing!