How to Recover Lost Excel Files

Imagine you are working on a job, and suddenly your computer crashes. You will definitely lose your work. Losing a file before saving it is real pain. But worry not, for there are several ways to recover these lost files. The reason these files get lost can be:

  • PC crash – this is where your computer stops working, and any unsaved file will be lost.
  • Application Failure – applications like Excel or PowerPoint may hang, which forces you to close the application, and any unsaved file gets lost.
  • Human Error – they say that man is to error. Sometimes you can forget to save a file and close the application. You can also accidentally delete a file. These mistakes can misplace files.

Recover Excel Files from the Recycle Bin

Excel files that are accidentally deleted can be restored from the recycle bin. Recycle bins give users an opportunity to restore files when necessary. To retrieve an Excel file;

1. Double-click on the “recycle bin icon” to open it.

2. Search for the “deleted Excel file”.

3. Right-click on the “deleted file” and click on the “restore button” to restore it to its original location.

Recover unsaved Excel File

If the file was not saved due to the above reasons, you could recover it. Once everything gets back to normal, follow the steps below to get your file back. Also, always save your work before you close the application you are using.

To recover the files;

1. Open the Excel application.

2. Click on the “File tab”.

3. Click “Recent”.

4. Scroll to the bottom of the recent documents, then click on “recover unsaved workbooks”.

How to recover unsaved files in Excel

5. You will see the list of unsaved files. Select the file you want and click to open it.

6. In the business bar at the top of your file, click “Save As” to save your file on your computer as desired.

To avoid all this hustle, you can just activate AutoSave and AutoRecover on your computer to protect your excel files.


This is a feature that automatically saves your work. Hence it is possible for you to recover the work even if you didn’t save it manually. To enable AutoRecover:

1. Open Excel and click on the file.

2. Select “Options” and go to the “Save tab”.

3. Make sure the ‘Save AutoRecover’ information every X minute is turned on. Make the AutoRecover duration short so as to make sure every file is saved.

auto recover file every 10 minutes in exce

4. Click “OK”.


This is a feature that automatically saves Excel files. When it is enabled, your work will be saved at regular intervals. To turn on autosave, you follow the following easy steps,

1. Click on the “File tab”.

2. Click on “excel options”.

3. Click on the “Save option”.

4. Click on the “Save AutoRecover information every y minutes.”

5. Click on the option “AutoSave OneDrive and SharePoint Online Files by default in Excel.”

6. Click “OK”.

After you enable these features, anytime you open Excel after a crash, you will see all your files auto-recovered and AutoSaved.

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