9 Effective Methods to Recover Unsaved or Deleted Excel File

In this guide, you will get 9 easy and useful methods to recover unsaved or deleted Excel files in Windows 10 or 11. The detailed steps are included in each method.


By Lora / Updated on April 2, 2024

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Can I recover my unsaved Excel file?

"Can I restore an Excel file that was not saved? When I closed the Excel worksheet, the popup showed the note ‘Want to save your changes?’ in the worksheet, I quickly clicked ‘Don’t Save’ by accident! So how can I recover my Excel file? Thanks a lot."

Recover Unsaved Deleted Excel File

The answer is yes, you can definitely recover unsaved or deleted excel files in Windows 10 or 11 and this article will introduce you to 9 effective methods in detail.

Situations to recover unsaved excel file

Countless individuals and organizations use Microsoft Excel to get their work done and generate much important data, such as working documents, financial data, personal accounts and passwords, etc.

But sometimes you encounter unexpected situations that cause files to be unsaved or deleted. It may be a never-before-saved or previously saved Excel file.

  • You are working on an important report, suddenly, the Excel application corrupted, saying “Excel is not responding” or “Excel has stopped working”.
  • You unintentionally click "Don't Save" while quitting the file, experiencing a power outage or system crashes.
  • You saved the wrong version of Excel files. You make changes to your Excel file and save it, but want to go back to previous version.

How to recover unsaved Excel file in Windows 10 or 11

Here you will get 4 effective methods to recover an excel file not saved. It applies to recovering unsaved excel files in 2016. If you mistakenly delete excel file in Windows 10 or 11, please scroll down to next part and learn the corresponding methods.

Step 1. Open the unsaved Excel file. Click the “File” tab and select “Info” > “Manage Workbook” to find all the previous versions of this excel file.

Step 2. Click “Recover unsaved Workbooks”. It will open the excel recovery file location.


Step 3. Select the excel file version you want to restore and click Open. Then, specify a name for it and save it on your computer.

Method 2. Recover never-before-saved Excel file

If your Excel file is a complete new one, try “Recover Unsaved Workbooks” in the recent open workbooks.

Step 1. Open a new Excel file. Click the “File” tab and select “Open”and “Recent”.

Step 2. Scroll down to the bottom and click the “Recover Unsaved Workbooks” option. It will open the unsaved excel file location.


Step 3. Scroll the list and search the unsaved Excel file. Double-click to open and save it.

Method 3. Recover a previously saved excel file

If you previously saved excel file, you could open it again and check the “Document Recovery” pane.

Step 1. Open the previously unsaved Excel file.  You will then see a "Document Recovery" pane on the left.

Document Recovery

Step 2. Check the excel files in the Documents Recovery pane. Double-click to open and save it.

Method 4. Recover unsaved excel file with AutoRecover file location.

If the unsaved Excel file not in recovery file location, you need to check the location and directly go to AutoRecover file location to recover files.

Step 1. Open an unsaved Excel file. Click the “File” tab and select “Options”.

Step 2. Click the “Save” option. Then, locate the AutoRecover file location and copy it.

AutoRecover File Location

Step 3. Paste the AutoRecover file location in Windows Explorer and navigate to it. Check the unsaved excel file and save it.

How to recover deleted Excel file

If you delete an Excel file, it will be saved to Recycle Bin automatically. So you can check if it contains the deleted Excel file and restore the deleted files from Recycle Bin. If not, you still can try Microsoft Windows File Recovery or powerful data recovery software – My Recover.

Method 1. Restore deleted Excel file from Recycle Bin

If you deleted the Excel file from the original location, it would be removed to Recycle Bin. It’s very easy to restore the deleted files from Recycle Bin. Follow the steps below to recover the deleted Excel sheets.

Step 1. Double-click the Recycle Bin icon on your desktop to open the Recycle Bin.

Step 2. Search or find the Excel file you need.

Step 3. Right-click the Excel file and click “Restore”. The Excel file will be recovered to the original folder.


Method 2. Recover deleted Excel file with Windows File Recovery

Windows File Recovery is a free data recovery tool released by Microsoft in 2020 to help users to recover deleted or lost files on their computer. It offers two basic modes to recover files with different file systems and suitable for different file loss scenarios.  

  • Regular mode: This is the standard mode to recover deleted files, and it applies to a healthy (not corrupted) NTFS drive.
  • Extensive mode: This mode will scan your drive thoroughly, and it applies to all file systems.

Step 1. Get Windows File Recovery in Microsoft Store.

Step 2. Open it and type the command line based on its syntax.

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


For example, to recover a deleted excel file named unsaved file from E: drive to D: drive, you need to type as follow:

winfr E: D: /regular /n *.excel


  • /n switch is to scan for a specific file with its file name/path/type, etc.
  • * is to filter the file type.

Method 3. Recover Deleted Excel files via MyRecover

Similar to Windows File Recovery, MyRecover is a file recovery software for Windows 10 or 11. It helps to recover deleted Excel files easily and quickly with simple steps. By default, it will start a quick scan to find deleted files and files in Recycle Bin and then deep scan for other files.

Download this powerful file recovery software to recover deleted or lost Excel files effectively. To recover unlimited files, please upgrade to the Professional or Technician edition.

  ★★Key features of MyRecover:
- Recover more than 200 file types, including pictures, videos, documents, pdf, etc.
- Keep the original file names and path of deleted files.
- Restore deleted files with a high success rate and fast speed.
- Compatible with Windows 11/10/8/7 and Windows Server.

Download SoftwareWin 11/10/8/7/Server
Secure Download

Step 1. Download and install MyRecover on your computer and then hover the mouse over the partition for data recovery. Click Scan.


Step 2. The data recovery program will automatically start a quick scan and deep scan to find all of your deleted Excel file.


Step 3. Select the Excel files you want to recover and click "Recover files" to save them to another partition. You are not required to wait for the scanning to complete if you find the data you need.


Step 4. Then, select a new location to save your Excel file.  Don’t recover deleted Excel to original location. This operation may result in permanent file loss.

How to recover  Excel file saved over

Sometimes you overwrite an excel file, but want to recover Excel file to previous version, try to recover Excel file saved over from File History or OneDrive.

 Method 1. Restore file to the previous versions

If you want to restore the folder to the previous versions, you need to open File History first to back up the important data. Otherwise, you could use the method 3-Windows File Recovery to recover permanently deleted Excel files freely.

Step 1. Click on search bar, type “restore” and select “Restore your files with File History”. It will open File History window.


Step 2. Click the left arrow to find the folder containing the previous version of your Excel file. Select it and click “Restore” to recover Excel file to previous version.


Method 2. Recover overwritten Excel file with Onedrive

Step 1. Go to onedrive.live.com and locate the overwritten Excel file.

Step 2. Right-click the overwritten Excel file and select “Version history”.

Version History

Step 3. Identify the version of your Excel file to restore and click Restore or Download to save it.

Restore or Download

How to Prevent Lost files in Excel

Excel does most of the work if you need to recover unsaved excel files in Windows 10 or 11. It enable both AutoSave and AutoRecover feature by default. Just in case, you need to check they are working as normal.  

Besides, you can make a backup of your excel file every time you save it. It saves the last version of your excel file before you save the latest changes and allows you to easily restore previous of your Excel files.

Method 1. Enable AutoSave and AutoRecover to Protect Excel File

Step 1. Open an Excel file. Select “File” > “Options”.

Step 2. Click “Save” in the Option window. Be sure the “Save AutoRecover information” box and “Keep the last AutoRecovered version if I close without saving” box are both checked.

Enable AutoSave and AutoRecover Feature


  • The time interval for "Save AutoRecover information" is 10 minutes. You can change it to shorter or longer.
  • On some Excel version, the AutoSave feature is on the top left. If it’s turn off, click it to turn on.

Method 2. Always create a backup copy of Excel file

Step 1. Open an Excel file you want to make a backup copy. Click “File” and “Save As”.

Step 2. Click “Browse” to open the Save as window.

Step 3. Click “Tools” at the bottom. Then, select “General Options” from the drop-down menu.

General Options

Step 4. Check the “Always create backup” option and click “OK” to confirm it. Then, the Excel will save a copy of this Excel file in the same folder.

Always Create Backup

More FAQs about Excel file recovery

✍ Where are Excel recovery files stored?

By default, Excel saves unsaved files to C:\Users\\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Office\UnsavedFiles. If you cannot find your Excel file, you need to check the AutoRecovery file location in File > Info > Manage Workbook.

✍ Can I recover an Excel file that has been replaced?

Yes, you can restore Excel files to previous version as long as you backup Excel file with File History or OneDrive. It saves multiple versions of your Excis

✍ Why are there no previous version of my Excel files?

The previous version comes from File History or restore points. If you don’t backup your Excel file with File History or have a working restore point, you will not see file versions under the Previous Version tab.

Wrap things up

This article offers you 9 effective methods to recover unsaved or deleted Excel files in Windows 10 or 11. You can select them based on your situation. Myrecover is a professional data recovery software to restore deleted files from computers. Try it if you mistakenly delete your Excel file.

To avoid overwriting or further corrupting the data you seek to restore, stop using the storage device that saved the file until you have completed Excel files recovery. Besides, you can choose to enable AutoSave and AutoRecovery feature as well as backup the Excel file to protect it safely.

Lora · Editor
Lora is an editor of AOMEI Technology. She is also a tester and editor of AOMEI Data Recovery Tools. -- "Keep testing, write the most useful tutorials for helping people recover the lost data for Windows and phones" is the most meaningful thing for her. Dedicated to creating helpful tutorials, she hopes her tutorial can assist users to effortlessly solve data loss problems on their personal computers and mobile phones.