Excel Tutorial: How To Recover Excel Files Not Saved


Have you ever spent hours working on an Excel file, only to have it suddenly crash without saving your progress? It's a frustrating experience that many of us have faced at some point. Recovering unsaved Excel files is crucial for salvaging lost work and avoiding the headache of starting from scratch. In this blog post, we will explore how to recover Excel files not saved using simple and effective methods.

Key Takeaways

  • Regularly saving Excel files while working is crucial to prevent data loss.
  • Utilize the AutoRecover feature in Excel and adjust its settings for maximum effectiveness.
  • Learn how to recover unsaved Excel files from temporary files in case of a crash.
  • Consider using reliable third-party recovery software when necessary.
  • Implement cloud storage or file backup services to further prevent data loss.

Understanding AutoRecover feature in Excel

AutoRecover is a feature in Excel that automatically saves your work at regular intervals, helping to prevent data loss in case of a system crash or power failure. It is a useful tool for ensuring that your work is protected, even if you forget to manually save your file.

Explain what AutoRecover is

AutoRecover is a built-in feature in Excel that automatically saves a temporary copy of your workbook at regular intervals. This allows you to recover your work in the event of a system crash or unexpectedly closed program.

Discuss how often AutoRecover saves files

By default, AutoRecover saves your work every 10 minutes. This interval can be adjusted based on your preferences and the nature of your work. However, it is important to note that AutoRecover does not replace the need for regular manual saving of your files.

Advise on how to adjust AutoRecover settings

To adjust AutoRecover settings in Excel, go to the "File" tab, select "Options," and then click on "Save" in the Excel Options dialog box. From there, you can change the AutoRecover interval, specify a different location for AutoRecover files, and enable or disable the AutoRecover feature altogether.

Recovering unsaved files using AutoRecover

Have you ever spent hours working on a crucial Excel file, only to realize that you forgot to save it before a sudden power outage or system crash? It is a common frustration for many users, but fear not – Excel’s AutoRecover feature can come to the rescue. In this tutorial, we will guide you through the process of recovering unsaved files using AutoRecover.

A. Guide users on where to look for unsaved files

Look in the temporary folder

  • Open Excel and go to 'File' tab.
  • Click on 'Options' and navigate to 'Save' in the Excel Options window.
  • Find the "AutoRecover file location:" and note down the path.
  • Open the file path on your computer and look for unsaved files in the designated temporary folder.

B. Explain the process of recovering unsaved files using AutoRecover

Accessing AutoRecover Pane

  • Open Excel and click on 'File' tab.
  • Select 'Open' and click on 'Recent Workbooks' at the bottom.
  • Click on the 'Recover Unsaved Workbooks' button at the bottom right corner of the window.

Recovering the unsaved file

  • A list of unsaved files will appear. Select the file you want to recover and click 'Open'.
  • Save the recovered file immediately to prevent future data loss.

C. Provide tips for maximizing the effectiveness of AutoRecover

Adjusting AutoRecover settings

  • Go to 'File' tab and click on 'Options'.
  • Navigate to 'Save' and adjust the 'AutoRecover' settings as per your preference.
  • Set a shorter time interval for AutoRecover to minimize potential data loss.

Regularly save your work

  • While AutoRecover is a lifesaver, it is essential to develop a habit of saving your work regularly to avoid relying solely on AutoRecover.
  • Use the keyboard shortcut 'Ctrl + S' to quickly save your file at regular intervals.

Using temporary files to recover unsaved Excel files

Accidents happen, and there may be times when you forget to save your Excel file before a computer crash or accidental closure. Thankfully, Excel creates temporary files that can help you recover your unsaved work.

A. Explain the concept of temporary files

Temporary files are backup copies of your work that Excel automatically creates at regular intervals while you are working on a file. These files are intended to provide a backup in case of unexpected events such as a power outage or application crash.

B. Guide users on where to find temporary files in Excel

To access your temporary files in Excel, you can go to the File tab and then select "Info." Under the "Manage Workbooks" section, click on "Recover Unsaved Workbooks." This will open a new window where you can see a list of temporary files that Excel has saved.

C. Explain how to recover unsaved files from temporary files

Once you have located the temporary file you want to recover, simply double-click on it to open it in Excel. You can then save it as a new file to ensure that your work is properly backed up. It's important to note that temporary files may not always contain the most recent changes, so it's recommended to save your work frequently to avoid losing important data.

Utilizing third-party recovery software

When Excel crashes or unexpectedly closes, it can result in the loss of unsaved work. In such scenarios, utilizing third-party recovery software becomes necessary to retrieve the unsaved Excel files.

Discuss when it's necessary to use third-party recovery software

In situations where the auto-recovery feature in Excel fails to retrieve the unsaved files or when the files are not in the temporary folder, using third-party recovery software becomes necessary. This is especially true when the unsaved Excel files are critical and need to be recovered urgently.

Provide recommendations for reliable recovery software

There are several reliable third-party recovery software options available in the market that are specifically designed to recover unsaved Excel files. Some popular and reliable options include EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard, Disk Drill, and Recuva. These software have proven track records of successfully recovering unsaved Excel files.

Explain the process of using third-party software to recover unsaved Excel files

The process of using third-party software to recover unsaved Excel files typically involves downloading and installing the software, selecting the drive or location where the unsaved files were located, initiating the scan for the lost files, and finally, recovering and saving the files to a safe location. The software guides the user through each step, making the process relatively straightforward.

Best practices for preventing data loss in Excel

When working with Excel, it's important to take measures to prevent data loss. Here are some best practices to consider:

A. Advise on regularly saving files while working

  • 1. Autorecovery: Enable the autorecovery feature in Excel to save your work at regular intervals, so you don't lose too much progress if a crash occurs.
  • 2. Manual saving: Get into the habit of manually saving your work frequently, especially after making significant changes.

B. Recommend utilizing cloud storage or file backup services

  • 1. Cloud storage: Save your Excel files to a cloud storage service like Google Drive, Dropbox, or OneDrive, which automatically syncs and backs up your files.
  • 2. File backup services: Use file backup services like Carbonite or Backblaze to regularly back up your Excel files to an external location.

C. Discuss the importance of educating others on data recovery methods

  • 1. Training: Educate your colleagues or team members on the importance of data recovery methods, such as how to access autorecovered files or retrieve files from cloud storage.
  • 2. Documentation: Create a guide or documentation on data recovery methods in Excel and share it with your team to ensure everyone is aware of the steps to take in case of data loss.


In this blog post, we discussed the important steps to recover Excel files that were not saved. We highlighted the AutoRecover feature and the use of the Document Recovery pane to retrieve unsaved files. Additionally, we mentioned the relevance of checking the Temporary Files folder and using the version history feature in OneDrive or SharePoint to recover earlier versions of the document. We encourage our readers to implement these tips and techniques in their professional and personal projects to ensure they never lose important Excel files again.

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