[Excel Recovery] How to Recover Unsaved/Deleted/Overwritten/Corrupt Excel 2020

Excel is one of the vital tools used for editing, saving, and presenting data in a much simpler way. Yet, it has a propensity to crash or malfunction, especially when you do not need it to. If you find yourself in such a scenario, your only option will be to try recovering the lost or unsaved Excel documents. Some other common issues that may require Excel recovery include; unsaved, lost, deleted, corrupted, damaged, and overwritten Excel files. Today, there exist the latest approaches to Excel recovery files.

Part 1: How to Recover Excel Files

1. How to Recover Unsaved Excel Files

Is there a possibility of Excel file recovery? YES! And you can do so with ease on Mac and Windows. The following two methods are the most reliable to restore unsaved Excel files on Windows 10 or any of its previous versions.

Method 1: Use AutoRecover to Recover Excel Files

The AutoRecover highlight in the Excel application goes about as an arrangement to backup and restore unsaved Excel documents during the time abrupt interferences like PC shutdown, Windows restart, or human mistakes occur. It is worth noting that this method can recover Excel files only if the AutoRecover feature was enabled previously in the Microsoft Excel application. Listed below are the steps to follow.

1. First, open a new Excel file.

2. Click on the File tab.

click file to recover unsaved excel

3. Select Open and then click on the option Recent.

4. Here, you will see a list of recently unsaved Excel sheets. Click the option Recover Unsaved Workbooks at the bottom.

click recover unsaved workbooks

5. Now go through the list of unsaved Excel files and open the one you want. Restore it as a new Excel document by clicking the option Save.

Method 2: Recover Excel File from Temporary Folder

Many Windows operating system is set to delete files in this temporary folder automatically at a frequent period due to their lesser importance to any user. Fortunately, these files don’t always get deleted and can, therefore, help recover unsaved Excel sheets. Here are the steps to follow.

1. To recover unsaved Excel sheets follow the temporary file path on your Windows computer.

2. Browse and choose the temporary unsaved file.

3. Next, copy the chosen unsaved Excel file and proceed by saving it as a new file on your computer.

recover from temporary files

2. How to Recover Lost/Deleted Excel Files

There exist two principal methods to recover such files. They are the recycle bin retrieval method and the ctrl+z method.

Method 1: Recycle bin retrieval method

In most cases, deleted files are automatically moved to the recycle bin and thus can be retrieved from there. Follow the steps below to retrieve the deleted Excel file.

1. Open the recycle bin and select the deleted file you wish to retrieve.

2. Right-click on the deleted file and select the restore command.

3. At this point, your deleted Excel files have been repaired and are now found in their original location. All you need to do is search.

It is noteworthy that the above steps only apply if your recycle bin has not been emptied already. If you already emptied the recycle bin, proceed to the next method.

Method 2: Ctrl+z method (manual undelete)

This method is quite simple. As the name indicates, to retrieve deleted files, all you need to do is either.

  • Press ctrl+z
  • Right-click on your monitor and select the undo delete command.

Do any of the above and thank me later.

3. How to Recover Overwritten Excel Files

The good news about working with Excel files is that a backup file temporary is created. From this backup, you can access any overwritten files. To do so, follow the steps below:

1. Access file explorer via your computer.

2. Depending on your windows version navigate to

Windows 7: C:\Users\UserName\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Excel (Word)\

Windows 8/10: C:\Users\\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Office\UnsavedFiles\

3. At this point, you can access your file and move it to another location.

4. How to Recover Corrupted/Damaged Excel Files

To recover corrupted or damaged Excel files to the following.

1. Click and open the file.

2. Next, locate and click on the folder that contains the corrupted file.

3. Select the corrupted file and select the arrow next to the Open button then click the Open and Repair command.

click open and repair

4. To obtain as much data from the Excel file as possible, pick Repair.

Choose Extract Data to take out values and formulas from the corrupted file if the repair doesn’t help you recover data from the file.

Part 2: Do Excel File Recovery with Stellar Repair for Excel

Stellar Repair for Excel is an Excellent choice for repairing damages to Excel files.

Here are the steps to affect Excel repairs with this software:

1. Firstly, download & Run the Stellar Repair for Excel.

2. Choose your corrupt.XLSX or.XLS file, by selecting the 'Browse' button. You can select the 'Search' button to find the corrupt Excel files.

click browse to select file

3. Check all boxes of the files that you wish to repair and click the 'Repair' button. The scanning process will be launched.

click repair to start repairing

4. In the end, all the scanned files will be displayed in the tree-view in the left pane. Click on any file to preview in the middle pane. From this list, select the file you wish to recover.

preview recoverd excel

5. To save the repaired files, select 'Select New Folder' or the 'Default location of file' in the 'Save Document' dialog box.

select destination to save recovered file

FAQ about Recovering Excel Files

Q1: Where are recovered Excel files stored?

After every 10 minutes Excel saves to the default location of C:\ Documents and Settings\username\LocalSettings\Temp, or C:\Users\username\AppData\Local\Temp on Windows 7/Vista. The files can be identified because they are being saved numerically.

Q2: Where do permanently deleted files go?

When Excel files are deleted, it still resides on the drive of the Windows computer and can be reobtained with the appropriate software.

Q3: Is there a way to restore permanently deleted files from the recycle bin?

Yes, it is. This can be done using the restore option on the recycle bin, using windows file history, or a trusted software like Stellar for Excel.


So far we have enumerated various methods for Excel document recovery that have proven to be very effective. Nevertheless, we highly recommend Stellar Repair for Excel as the ideal software for repairing all damaged or corrupt Excel (.XLS/.XLSX) files. This software restores everything from a corrupt Excel file to a completely new blank Excel file. Try it out and you will never regret it. And if you forgot password of Excel, try PassFab for Excel.

PassFab for Excel box
  • Recover Excel Open Password
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Updated on / Posted by Andy Samuel to Excel Tips / Follow @Andy Samuel

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