It is not rare to face these kinds of situations: We overwrite an excel spreadsheet that can't be replicated and save over it accidently although originally we planned to save it elsewhere; Or we unintentionally delete some part of the file, for example, a sheet, and then save the file as we are used to. These can cause real headaches when we are at work, or doing urgent projects because it will cost us much more time, we even have to manually rewrite these spreadsheets.
Luckily, there are some ways that can rescue us from it, help us restore previous versions of the excel file.
In some instances, it is possible to get the Excel file back using the Excel software. If you have previously turned on the AutoRecover option in between the Settings area of your Excel, the file will be saved automatically every few minutes. This acts as a backup. Follow the steps below to find the previous version of the file:
Step 1: Open the file you want to restore to the previous version in Excel.
Step 2: Select File > Info > Manage Document > Recover Unsaved Workbooks.
Step 3: Select the file you'd like to restore and then hit the Open button.
Step 4: In the bar that appears at the top of the page, select Save As to save the Excel file.
This method also works if your excel file is unsaved due to power failure or system shut down.
If the overwritten excel spreadsheet were also edited on your computer, there are chances you can find the previous versions of the file from the Windows backup. To find out the previous saved file:
Step 1: Create a new Excel file with the same name as the overwritten file. Alternatively, find the current saved-over Excel file.
Step 2: Right-click on the Excel file and then choose Properties.
Step 3: Go to Previous Versions. Select the version you would like to get back and then hit Restore.
When you are working on a file, the Excel software creates a temporary file automatically. These temporary files are usually stored in a specific folder on your computer. You can access the files in the way below:
Step 1: Open the File Explorer on your computer.
On Windows 7: Navigate to C:\Users\UserName\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Excel (Word)\
On Windows 8/10: Navigate to C:\Users\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Office\UnsavedFiles\
Step 3: You should see your Excel files. You can open the file or copy and paste it in your preferred location.
While the above solutions do work, there is no guarantee that they will offer you the results you are looking for. The last back up for you would be a file recovery tool. Data loss always happens occasionally. Since it is inevitable, keeping a tool like this can help to get back the lost data asap. The one I would recommend is AnyRecover which allows every user to restore files for all data loss situations. And in this situation, you can recover your previous version of excel file directly without paying a penny (since it offers free recovery for 3 files). Unlike solutions 1 to 3, it will help you recover Excel files even if the files were damaged already.
While AnyRecover is capable of recovering data lost via complicated situations, the tool is not complicated to use. Once you open the tool, all you will have to do is follow the steps that appear on the screen to recover your files.
Step 1: Launch AnyRecover and select the location where you had stored the Excel file.
Step 2: Click “Start” menu, wait while AnyRecover locates the lost file(s).
Step 3: After the scan, the lost files will be displayed. Preview them and select the ones you would like to get back. To get the files back, hit the “Recover” button.
To avoid losing your documents, you can use the tips below:
Enable the autosave function in excel. Open an excel file, go to File > Options > Save > turn on the "Save AutoRecover information every x minutes" box and set up the frequency (for me I set the autosave to every minute) > Make sure the "Keep the last autorecovered version if I close without saving" box is also turned on.
Before saving a document, double-check to ensure that its name does not match another document in the same location. If the names match, you will overwrite the old document.
To make sure that viruses or malware do not corrupt your files, install an antivirus on your computer.
Create a backup. You can store your important files on free cloud services such as Google Drive.
Follow the right procedure to close the Excel software after using it. This will reduce the chances of the Excel files becoming corrupted.
By James Crawford , to Document Recovery
Updated: Apr 21, 2021