Excel files can get corrupted for many reasons, such as the abrupt closing of the system or application, the large file size, virus/malware attacks, etc. When an Excel file becomes corrupt, you cannot access its data. So, it is essential to repair the file as soon as possible. Here, we’ll cover a few effective methods on What to do when an Excel file is corrupted and retrieve all the data from it.
Methods to Repair Corrupted Excel Files
When you try opening a damaged/corrupted file, Excel automatically starts the File Recovery mode to repair your file. However, if it fails to start, you can try the below-listed methods to repair and recover corrupted Excel files.
Method 1: Restore the Previously Saved Version of the Excel File
If you have enabled the Auto-Recover feature (that saves a version of a file automatically) in Excel, then you can easily restore the last saved version of the Excel file. Follow the below steps to revert to the previously saved version of the Excel file:
- If you can access the corrupted Excel file, then open it.
- Go to the File option, click Info, and choose Manage Workbook.
- Click on the option labeled Recover Unsaved Workbooks.
- Click on the available recent auto-saved Excel file version.
- Click on Open.
Method 2: Set the Calculation Option in Excel as Manual
Sometimes, you cannot open the Excel file due to errors in formulas or functions. In such a case, you can change the Calculation Options in Excel from automatic to manual. Follow the below steps:
- Open a blank Excel worksheet.
- Click File > Options.
- Go to the Formulas tab in the ribbon.
- Click on the Calculations Options dropdown and then select Manual. Click
- Now, click on File and select Open.
- Select the corrupted workbook and then try to open it.
Method 3: Restore the Corrupted Excel File from Backup
If you have created a backup of your Excel file, you can use it to restore the corrupted file. Here are the steps to restore the file from the backup:
- Locate the backup file of the corrupted Excel file, copy it, and save it in a different location.
- Rename the file (unlike the name of the corrupted Excel file).
- Open your Excel application and click File > Open.
- Select the renamed backup file and double-click the file to open it.
Method 4: Repair Corrupt Excel File
When your file gets corrupted, or you encounter corruption errors, you can use Excel’s built-in Open and Repair utility. This tool helps you repair corrupt Excel files. Follow the below steps to run this utility:
- Navigate to File and click Open, and select the file.
- In the Open dialog box, click on the Excel file (that you want to repair).
- Click on the arrow next to the Open
- From the Open dropdown, select Open and Repair.
- A dialog box will pop up on the screen. Click on the Repair
The Open and Repair tool is not always practical, especially if your Excel file is severely corrupted, as it can fix only minor issues. If the Open and Repair tool fails, you can use a powerful third-party Excel repair tool, such as Stellar Repair for Excel.
It can quickly repair corrupt Excel files (.xls, .xlsx, .xltm, .xltx, and .xlsm) and recover all the data, including pivot tables, formulas, etc., without changing the original formatting. It also provides a ‘Find’ option to search the Excel files for repair quickly. The tool supports MS Excel 2021, 2019, and older versions.
Corruption in Excel files may result in various errors. If you’re getting errors due to corrupt Excel files, follow the methods covered in this article to repair and recover the corrupted Excel files.
If none of the manual methods works, you can repair the Excel file and retrieve all its data using Stellar Repair for Excel. It is a reliable software that can also repair multiple Excel files. You can use this tool to fix all types of corruption errors, such as “Excel cannot open the file filename.xlsx”, “The file is corrupted and cannot be opened”, “Excel found unreadable content in name.xls”, etc.