How to Recover Unsaved Excel Files in Windows 10 (4 Ways)

If you don't know how to find and recover unsaved excel files in Windows 10, continue to read this article, and here are 4 useful ways as well as 2 prevention measures.


by Ivy Updated on December 2, 2022

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The need of recovering unsaved Excel files

Microsoft Excel, a spreadsheet program included in the Microsoft Office suite, has become one of the essential tools in our office. General use of Excel include calculations, graphs and statistical analysis. However, the annoying thing is that there may be some accidents when using Excel.

Most commonly, users may accidentally close and delete an Excel file without saving it. Besides, an unexpected event, like a system crash, power failure, or Microsoft Office internal error shuts down Excel so quickly that you have no time to save your Excel files.

So you may encounter three scenarios where you need to restore unsaved files:

  • First, you are working on a new file that was not never saved before. 
  • Second, you make changes to a previously saved file but do not save the final copy. 
  • Third, you save files with changes, but you actually need the original files. 

If you have backed up Excel file in different location, you can restore the file in time. But in truth, you might not have made a backup in advance. Even if so, don't get discouraged, you still can recover unsaved Excel files.

How to recover unsaved Excel Documents in Windows 10 

By default, Microsoft Excel enables the AutoSave and AutoRecover feature, which helps you save a copy of your files. AutoSave makes a copy of the modified Excel file every 10 minutes while AutoRecover allows you to return to the last saved version using the Document Recovery pane. So you  can easily recover them. 

Way 1: Recover unsaved new excel files 

For the first scenario, to recover new unsaved excel files, you need to use Recover Unsaved Workbooks feature in Excel. Please follow the steps below. 

Note: When Excel files are lost, you’d better stop using Excel and Office-related tools right away, as this may greatly increase your chances to recover lost files. 

Step 1. Click File and Open subsequently. Then choose Recent Workbooks.

Recent Workbooks

Step 2. Scroll down to the bottom and click Recover Unsaved Workbooks

Recover Unsaved Workbooks

Step 3. In the Open window, you will all the unsaved excel files. Double-click the one you want to restore and then tag the Save As button to save it to the desired location. 



Way 2: Recover old unsaved Excel files 

For the second scenario, you need to use the Document Recovery Pane to get unsaved Excel files back. The steps are below: 

Step 1. Start Excel again. The Recovered heading will appear. Then choose Show Recovered Files.

Show Recovered Files

Step 2. Excel will open a new spreadsheet with a Document Recovery panel. Choose the unsaved file from the list and then recover it.

Document Recovery

Way 3: Restore Excel Files to a previous version 

For the third scenarios, you need to use Manage Workbooks, it saves all your previous versions of changed files. Follow the steps below.

Step 1. Go to File >info and select Manage Workbooks, then you will find your previous version of the files.

Manage WorkBook

Step 2. Select the correct version of file and click Restore to open it. If you are not clear, you can choose to compare them before restore. 

Tip: It is suggested to save the previous version of files under a new name to prevent overwriting it accidentally again. 

Way 4: Recover deleted unsaved Excel files 

If the previous two methods do not help you recover unsaved Excel files, you still can use professional data recovery software like MyRecover to help you out. It is applicable to both scenarios mentioned above. 

With an intuitive graphical user interface, it’s even easy for non-tech users to operate it. Please download MyRecover on your Windows 7, 8, 10, 11, or Windows Server computers to get your deleted/missing Excel files back!

Download Software Windows 11/10/8/7/Server
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Step 1. After loading the disk, select the partition that includes the Excel files you want to restore. Then click Start Scan.


Step 2. During Quick Scan and Deep Scan, you can search your needed Excel files by typing their filenames in the search bar or waiting to see all the deleted and other lost files.


Step 3. Go to the Deleted Files/Other Missing Files folder, and choose the Excel files you want to restore. Then click Recover x files and store these recovered Excel files in a new location.


How to prevent lost Excel files effectively

As mentioned above, the AutoSave and AutoRecover helps a lot to recover unsaved Excel files in Windows 10, and you can rely on them as long as you are sure you enable them. If you accidentally disable them, you can enable them manually to save your Excel files. Here is how to make it working:

Step 1. Open Excel, select File and Options, then Save in the left pane. 

Step 2. Make sure the Save AutoRecover information box and Keep the last AutoRecovered version if I close without saving box are both checked. By default, it AutoRecover save information every 10 minutes, you can change it to a prefer number. 

Save AutoRecover Info

Step 3. At the same time, you may see the AutoSave button at the upper left corner, toggle on it, then it will save every changes you make in your Excel file automatically. 


Regular backup of your Excel files to keep it always safe 

Recovering unsaved Excel files is time-consuming, and there is no guarantee. Except for being sure the AutoSave and AutoRecover features are enabled, you still need to back up your Excel files on a regular basis. With a duplicate copy, you can easily get your files back if there is something bad happens.

To make it, you need free yet professional backup software to help you. I strongly recommend you AOMEI Backupper Standard because of the following advantages:

  • It supports backing up all kinds of files, such as Word documents, Excel files, music files, pictures, audio, etc.

  • It is able to back up multiple files instead of a single file every time. 

  • It works well with various backup storage including external/internal hard drives, cloud drives, NAS devices, network drive, etc. 

  • It has many flexible backup settings, such as, daily, weekly or monthly auto backup, incremental backup (to backup only changed parts of files), compression, splitting, and more.

  • Compatible with all Windows-based operating systems, including Windows 7, Windows 8, Windows 10, Windows XP, and Windows Vista.

Besides, the user-friendly interface and simple operation steps are also praised by many users. Above all, it’s free! Please download this freeware to backup your Excel files or other important data.

Download FreewareWin 11/10/8.1/8/7/XP
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Step 1. Launch AOMEI Backupper Standard, click Backup and File Backup in order.  

File Backup

Step 2. select files or folders you want to backup and the destination path, then click Start Backup

Add Folders Files

To backup files automatically, the easiest way is to click Schedule Backup and OK, it will enable the default backup settings - daily incremental backup.

Schedule Settings General

◓ If you think daily backup is too short, you can change it to weekly or monthly.
◓ Except for incremental backup, you can also use differential backup in the advanced edition, such as AOMEI Backupper Professional.
◓ If you are worried about the backup disk full issues, you can enable automatic backup cleanup methods to delete old backup images automatically


That's all for how to recover unsaved excel files, 100% working but time-consuming, and you need to be sure the AutoBackup and AutoRecover are enabled before. If you disable it accidentally, please enable it manually again. And you can also choose to back up your Excel files automatically to prevent any unexpected losses.

The free backup software - AOMEI Backupper can assist you in backing up all kinds of files and protecting them together. In addition, it can do more than file backup, such as, system backup, disk backup, schedule backup, differential backup, create bootable media, etc. 

Ivy · Editor
Ivy is an editor of AOMEI Technology, she covers backup & restore,hard disk & partitions management and cloud files transfer and so on for AOMEI. She is an outgoing girl and enjoys helping people find solutions to their problems. She loves traveling, eating, reading and so on. She usually hangs out with friends at her leisure time.