By Lora / Last update May 12, 2022

Microsoft Excel, a handy software developed by Microsoft, features plenty of efficient and available functions like calculation and pivot tables. Whether a company or an individual, Excel will be utilized in daily life and work.

Being a user, you must have encountered many problems and accidents, such as accidental deleting, forgetting to save or emptying the Recycle Bin, etc. Don't panic, to recover deleted Excel files is not an impossible mission.

How to recover deleted Excel files?

No matter whether your Excel worksheet is saved or not, you have room to save this situation. Given these two situations, this article will give solutions, please adopt anyone according to the situation you encounter.

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Scenario 1. Restore unsaved Excel files

When using Excel, you may experience a crash, power failure, or power outage, and then suddenly your PC shuts down that making it too late for you to save Excel files; or maybe you just forget to save, or mistakenly click the "Don't save" option, so that your previous data or changes you have made are lost.

In this case, you don't have to be frustrated, Excel has a built-in AutoSave tool that may have saved your files and you can get your files back with this tool. Now follow the steps below to restore unsaved excel files.

Method 1. Recover Excel files with inbuilt AutoSave tool

To restore unsaved Excel files, you might as well utilize the embedded tool AutoSave and AutoRecover.

Step 1. Start the Excel on your PC, click File.


Step 2. Go to Info, find Manage Workbook, then click Recover Unsaved Workbooks.


Step 3. Then your unsaved files will be shown in the pop-up window. Select the files you want to restore.


Step 4. Don’t forget to click File and then go to Save As to save your files carefully.

Note: This method works as your Excel has a built-in AutoSave tool. To avoid the same or similar contingency in the future, take precautions. Steps to operate are shown below.
Precautions to avoid Excel file loss

Step 1. Start Excel, click File > Options.


Step 2. Click Save in the left panel.


Step 3. Tick Save AutoRecover information every, and minimize the interval to 1 or any length you need or prefer. Then Tick Keep the last autosaved version if I close without saving.


Method 2. Restore unsaved Excel files from Recent File Option

If the method above doesn’t work, to recover deleted Excel files you can try the following one.

Step 1. Start Excel, click File.


Step 2. Click Open in the left panel.


Step 3. Click Recover Unsaved Workbooks at the bottom of the window.


Step 4. Then locate the unsaved files you need to recover, and don’t forget to save them.

Scenario 2. Restore deleted saved Excel files

To lose the file that you have spent hours working on it is definitely annoying, however, putting aside the above, you may also encounter a situation where you have made changes to the saved files, but want to restore the previous version of the change, and unfortunately, you lost the chance to undo the change.

Calm down please, it is also possible to get the last version of your files. To restore deleted saved Excel files, you are provided with two methods as well.

Method 1. Recover files with the previous version

This one is also pretty easy to operate, check the following steps to restore deleted saved Excel files.

Step 1. Use shortcut Win+E to start the File Explorer.


Step 2. Locate the folder in which you previously saved the deleted files. Right-click the folder and click Restore previous versions.


Step 3. Then select the version according to the time you need in the list, then your file will be back, save it immediately this time.

Method 2. Retrieve Excel files from File History Backup

Note: This method only functions when a backup of your files is prepared already. Otherwise, you will only get a warning saying there is no backup to restore. So it is advisable to take precautions to make backup regularly.

Step 1. Start the Control Panel, click System and Security.


Step 2. Click File History.


Step 3. Then go to Restore personal files.


Step 4. Find your deleted Excel file, then click the Recycle icon at the bottom of this window to restore your deleted files.


Method 3. Recover deleted Excel files using Windows File Recovery

To restore deleted saved Excel files, an official tool developed by Microsoft could be utilized - Windows File Recovery, a command-line app. It could be feasible when you don't have any backups to restore from. Unfortunately, it's a command-line app - using this tool could be pretty difficult for ordinary users.

But no worry, if you need a Windows File Recovery GUI, there is a free tool recommended at the end of this part. 

First, figure out your File System. Go to This PC > right-click on the drive that contains the deleted files> click Properties.


Then decide which recovery mode to use according to your File System and data loss scenario:

File system Scenarios mode
NTFS Deleted recently Regular
NTFS Deleted for a while Extensive
NTFS Formatted disk Extensive
NTFS Corrupted disk Extensive
FAT and exFAT Any Extensive

If you need to narrow the scanning range, use these switches:

Switches Meaning Supported mode(s)
/n Filter the scan range: scans for a specific file with its file name/path/type, etc. All
/y: Recover specific extension groups. Signature
/k Recovers system files. NTFS
/u Recovers undeleted files, for example, from the Recycle Bin. NTFS

Now follow the steps below to restore deleted Excel files via Windows File Recovery.

This tool applies to Windows 10 and later.
The place you choose to store the recovered files cannot be the same as the drive where you have lost files.
To minimize the chance of overwriting and improve the recovery rate, please stop using your computer after files loss.
It is recommended to store your recovered files on an external storage device.

Step 1. Go to Microsoft Store > search for Windows File Recovery > click Get.


Step 2. Start Windows File Recovery, input the recovery command. The command template goes like this:

winfr source-drive: destination-drive: [/mode] [/switches]

For example, if you are using NTFS, and you have deleted your Excel files in C: drive for a few days, so you choose Extensive mode, and you don't know the specific name, then you could use a wildcard "*",  and you want to recover them to E: drive, then you need to input:

winfr C: E: /segment /n *.xlsx


Step 3. Then input y to continue. Then wait for the recovery process; when finished, a recovery folder will be created in the destination.

As a command-line utility, it's quite a tough task for ordinary users to use this tool to recover deleted Excel files, to be honest.

For users who want a tool with a graphical user interface, they could try WinfrGUI - an alternative that provides a GUI.

Method 4. Recover deleted Excel files and keep the original formats/filenames/paths

Would you rather try heavenly hard to use complex commands to restore a file or utilize a convenient tool to save your labor? The answer will be absolutely obvious.

To restore deleted saved Excel files easily without losing the original filenames, formats, and directories, turning to a good Windows data rescue utility will be preferable.

AOMEI Data Recovery for Windows, a trustworthy data rescue application specially designed for Windows users, can assist users to restore deleted or missing files within only 3 steps.

Use AOMEI Data Recovery for Windows to recover deleted Excel files
  • Recover deleted and missing files from HDD/SSD/USB/SD card, etc.
  • Support data recovery after accidental deletion/system crash/disk formatting/virus attack, etc.
  • Compatible with NTFS/exFAT/FAT32/ReFS, and Windows 11/10/8/7 SP1/Server.
Download SoftwareWin 11/10/8/7/Server
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Step 1. Install and run AOMEI Data Recovery for Windows > select the partition where used to store the deleted Excel files > click Start Scan.


Step 2. Wait for the software to scan and list all the deleted and missing files. During the process, you could directly select files to recover.


Step 3. Go to Deleted files > select the Excel files you need > click Recover x files


In addition to internal hard drives, it can also work perfectly with external storage devices - using it, you could easily recover data from WD external hard disks.

Related Suggestions

With several methods to recover deleted Excel files in Windows 10 offered above, users can easily and quickly restore the Excel files they need. Moreover, here are some more sincere suggestions for all users to prevent future losses.

  • Take advantage of the inbuilt AutoSave tool wisely.
  • Occasionally turning to the Recycle Bin may help you out.
  • Save your files during your working process now and then.
  • Making backup regularly is always the best bet.