Excel Tutorial: How To Recover Deleted Sheets In Excel


When working with Excel, accidentally deleting important sheets can be a real headache. Thankfully, there are ways to recover those lost sheets and their data. In this tutorial, we will walk you through the importance of being able to recover deleted sheets in Excel and the common scenarios for accidentally deleting sheets. By the end of this guide, you'll be equipped with the knowledge and tools to retrieve any lost sheets and keep your data safe.

Key Takeaways

  • Accidentally deleting important sheets in Excel can be a common and frustrating issue.
  • Understanding the available recovery options in Excel can help prevent data loss and save time.
  • Excel's Recycle Bin, Undo feature, and Document Recovery pane are all useful tools for recovering deleted sheets.
  • Third-party recovery tools can also be considered for more advanced or specific recovery needs.
  • Implementing best practices for preventing accidental deletion and regular backups is essential for maintaining data integrity.

Understanding Excel's Recycle Bin

When working in Excel, it is common to accidentally delete important sheets or data. Fortunately, Excel has a Recycle Bin feature that allows users to recover deleted items. Understanding how to use this feature can be incredibly helpful in preventing data loss and minimizing frustration.

a. Location and function of the Recycle Bin in Excel

The Recycle Bin in Excel is a hidden feature that stores deleted items, such as worksheets and workbooks. When an item is deleted, it is not permanently removed from the file. Instead, it is moved to the Recycle Bin, where it can be restored if needed.

b. Steps to access and restore items from the Recycle Bin

Accessing the Recycle Bin in Excel is a straightforward process. To restore a deleted sheet or workbook, follow these steps:

  • Step 1: Open Excel and go to the "File" tab at the top of the screen.
  • Step 2: Select "Open" from the menu on the left-hand side.
  • Step 3: In the Open dialog box, click on "Recent" from the list on the left.
  • Step 4: At the bottom of the window, click on "Recover Unsaved Workbooks."
  • Step 5: A new window will open, displaying any unsaved workbooks. Select the desired workbook and click "Open." This will restore the deleted items from the Recycle Bin.

Utilizing Excel's Undo Feature

When it comes to recovering deleted sheets in Excel, the Undo feature can be a lifesaver. This built-in functionality allows users to revert their actions and restore deleted sheets with just a few clicks. However, it's important to understand how the feature works and its limitations.

How the Undo feature works in Excel

  • The Undo feature in Excel allows users to reverse their most recent action by pressing Ctrl + Z or clicking the Undo button on the toolbar.
  • For deleted sheets, users can simply undo the deletion by using the Undo feature immediately after the sheet is deleted.
  • Users can also use the drop-down arrow next to the Undo button to access a list of previous actions and choose which action to undo.

Limitations of the Undo feature for recovering deleted sheets

  • The Undo feature has limitations in terms of the number of actions that can be undone. Once the limit is reached, it may not be possible to recover deleted sheets using this feature.
  • If the deletion of the sheet occurred a while ago or if several other actions have been performed since then, it may not be possible to undo the deletion using the Undo feature.
  • If the Excel file has been saved after the sheet was deleted, the Undo feature may not be able to recover the deleted sheet.

Using Excel's Document Recovery Feature

Accidentally deleting or losing important sheets in Excel can be frustrating, but thankfully, Excel has a built-in feature called Document Recovery that can help you retrieve unsaved or deleted sheets. Here's how you can access and use this feature:

a. Accessing the Document Recovery pane in Excel

When you open Excel after a crash or accidental closure, the Document Recovery pane may automatically appear on the left side of the window. However, if it doesn't, you can access it by following these steps:

b. Steps to recover unsaved or deleted sheets through Document Recovery
  • Step 1:

    Click on the "File" tab in Excel.
  • Step 2:

    Select "Open" from the options on the left-hand side.
  • Step 3:

    Look for the "Recent" section and click on "Recover Unsaved Workbooks" at the bottom of the list.
  • Step 4:

    A new window will appear, showing a list of unsaved workbooks. Select the workbook you want to recover and click "Open".
  • Step 5:

    Once the workbook opens, save it immediately to avoid losing any changes.

By following these steps, you can easily access and utilize Excel's Document Recovery feature to retrieve any unsaved or deleted sheets, saving you time and frustration in the process.

Third-party Recovery Tools for Excel

When it comes to recovering deleted sheets in Excel, third-party recovery tools can be a lifesaver. These tools are designed specifically to help users retrieve lost or deleted data from their Excel workbooks. Let's take a closer look at the available third-party recovery tools and the steps to use them.

a. Overview of Available Third-party Recovery Tools
  • There are several third-party recovery tools available in the market, such as DiskInternals Excel Recovery, DataNumen Excel Repair, and Stellar Repair for Excel.
  • These tools offer a range of features for recovering deleted or lost Excel sheets, including the ability to restore formatting, formulas, and other data.
  • Some tools also support batch recovery and can handle corrupted or damaged Excel files.

b. Steps to Use a Third-party Tool to Recover Deleted Sheets

Using a third-party recovery tool to recover deleted sheets in Excel is relatively straightforward. Here are the general steps to follow:

Step 1: Install and Open the Recovery Tool

  • Download and install the third-party recovery tool on your computer.
  • Open the tool and navigate to the location of the Excel file from which you want to recover the deleted sheets.

Step 2: Scan the Excel File

  • Select the Excel file and initiate the scanning process.
  • The tool will search for any recoverable data, including deleted sheets, within the file.

Step 3: Preview and Recover Deleted Sheets

  • Once the scanning is complete, the tool will display a preview of the recoverable sheets and data.
  • Review the preview to identify the deleted sheets you want to recover.
  • Select the deleted sheets and initiate the recovery process.

Following these steps should help you retrieve the deleted sheets from your Excel file using a third-party recovery tool.

Best Practices for Preventing Accidental Deletion

Accidentally deleting sheets in Excel can be a frustrating and potentially costly experience. Implementing best practices for preventing accidental deletion can save you time and frustration in the long run. Here are some tips to help you avoid accidental sheet deletions and implement regular backups to prevent data loss.

Tips for avoiding accidental sheet deletions

  • Use caution when selecting multiple sheets for deletion: When selecting multiple sheets for deletion, be sure to double check that you have selected the correct sheets. It is easy to accidentally select the wrong sheet in Excel, especially when dealing with a large number of sheets.

  • Enable sheet protection: You can protect individual sheets in Excel to prevent them from being deleted. This can be particularly useful for important or sensitive sheets that you want to safeguard against accidental deletion.

  • Train employees on proper sheet management: If you work in a team environment, it is important to educate your colleagues on the importance of careful sheet management and the potential consequences of accidental deletions.

Implementing regular backups to prevent data loss

  • Automate regular backups: Utilize Excel's built-in backup features or third-party software to automate regular backups of your workbooks. This can help ensure that you have a recent backup to revert to in the event of accidental sheet deletions.

  • Store backups in multiple locations: To further safeguard against data loss, store backups of your Excel workbooks in multiple locations, such as cloud storage, external hard drives, or network servers.

  • Establish backup protocols: Create a clear protocol for how backups should be conducted and stored within your organization. This can help ensure that all employees are on the same page and are taking the necessary steps to prevent data loss.


Understanding how to recover deleted sheets in Excel can be a lifesaver when working on important spreadsheets. It ensures that valuable data and information are not lost forever, saving you time and frustration. By exploring and utilizing the different recovery options available in Excel, you can improve your efficiency and confidence in using the software.

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