Guide: Five Methods to Recover Missing Excel Files in Windows

Learn how to recover missing Excel files with different five methods in this article. You can also get the most recommended method to prevent data loss.


By Penny / Updated on April 3, 2024

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Can I recover an Excel file is closed and did not saved?


I accidentally closed a spreadsheet I was working on and did not save it. Is it possible to recover this information? Any suggestion will be appreciated.

-A user from Excel Forum

If you accidentally deleted or forgot to save a spreadsheet like the above user, maybe you’ll proceed to recover missing Excel files. After data loss, please don’t add new data to your PC because any written performance could overwrite the missing Excel files.  

How to recover missing Excel files?

The data loss scenarios determine there’re two cases for missing Excel files. Please get corresponding methods to recover unsaved Excel files or to recover deleted Excel files.

Case A. Two ways to recover unsaved Excel file Windows 10

If there’s not enough time for you to save the Excel file due to a sudden system crash, careless operation, or power failure, please try to recover unsaved Excel file Windows 10 with the following two methods.

Method 1. Recover unsaved Excel file from AutoRecover

Users can use the AutoRecover feature provided by Microsoft to recover unsaved Excel Files. It’s possible to restore the last autosaved Excel file if you’ve saved the Microsoft Excel file at least once before it fails to work normally.

If you need, go to C:\Users\UserName\AppData\Local\Micorsoft\Office\UnsavedFiles to locate your unsaved Excel files. Please refer to the following steps to recover unsaved Excel files.

Step 1. Open your Microsoft Excel program and click the “File” button.


Step 2. Click “Info” > “Manage Workbook” > “Recover Unsaved Workbooks.”


Step 3. You can see the unsaved Excel files in the window. Please select the Excel file you want and click the “Open” button.


Please remember to click “File” > “Save as” to store your missing Excel documents. Besides, this Windows feature also applies to recovering PowerPoint files.

Method 2. Recover unsaved Excel files via Recover Unsaved Workbooks

Microsoft Excel sometimes saves temporary files as backups. These temporary files also provide another way for you to recover unsaved Excel files. 

Step 1. Start your Excel, and click “File” > “Open” > “Recent” > “Recover Unsaved Workbooks.”


Step 2. Open your unsaved Excel documents, then store them in a new location.

Case B. Three ways to recover deleted/missing Excel files

As you can see, the above methods cannot work for you to recover deleted/missing Excel files in Windows. Please refer to the following three targeted solutions.  

Method 1. Recover deleted Excel files from the Recycle Bin

After accidental deletion, you may mistakenly deem Excel files are missing. However, these Excel files are not gone because they’re still in the Recycle Bin.

As long as you haven’t emptied your Recycle Bin or pressed the “Shift + Delete” keys, it’s easy to recover the deleted files from the Recycle Bin.

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

Step 2. Enter the filename of your deleted Excel document to locate it in the Recycle Bin. Then click the “Restore” button to get it back.


Method 2. Recover deleted Excel files with Previous Versions

Some users could be more inclined to select and restore a specified version of an Excel document during the editing process. With File History on, Pervious Versions could satisfy your above needs: browse and select your needed file versions over time.

If you haven’t opened Control Panel > System and Security to enable File History in Win 8 and above and turned on System Restore Point manually, this method will be useless for you. Moreover, you can also use this Windows feature to recover the missing folders in Windows.

Step 1. Press Windows + E” to open Windows File Explorer. Then locate the folder that contains your desired Excel files before missing them.


Step 2. Right-click on this folder, then click the “Properties” option.


Step 3. Select a file version you want to retrieve and “Restore” it.


Method 3. Recover deleted/lost Excel files via data recovery software

Besides AutoRecover, File History also seems like a handy solution for careless users to recover deleted Excel files in Windows. Nevertheless, many users still don’t put these data loss prevention tips into practice. Thus, what can do you to recover deleted Excel files without a valuable backup?

The answer is that third-party tools like the most recommended MyRecover. Supported by advanced technology, this powerful data recovery software can help you recover the deleted/missing/formatted files from HDD, SSD, USB, and other storage devices.

  • Recover 200+ types of data: Word, Excel, PPT, Photos, Audios, Videos, Emails, Webpages, and compressed files. For example, you can use it to recover the deleted photos from USB.
  • Get the original format for the deleted/missing Excel files in Windows 7, 8, 10, 11, and Windows Server.
  • Run Quick Scan and Deep Scan automatically to find all the deleted files and other lost files of your selected partition/disk.
  • Handle deletion, disk formatting, system crashes, and other data loss scenarios.
  • Support NTFS, FAT, exFAT, and ReFS file systems.

Don’t hesitate to download it and enjoy its powerful functions at once!

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Step 1. Run MyRecover on your PC. Hover the mouse over the partition/disk including Excel files you want to restore, and click Scan.


Step 2. You will see all the deleted files and other missing files after performing Quick Scan and Deep Scan automatically.


Step 3. Select your desired Excel files and click the “Recover x files” button. Please store these recovered Excel documents in a new location.


Further reading: Recover corrupted Excel files and prevent data loss

How to recover corrupted Excel files?

Some of you may fail to open some Excel files because they’re in a corrupt state. So how to recover corrupted Excel files manually? Please refer to the following steps.

Open your Microsoft Excel, and click “Open Other Workbooks” > “Computer/This PC” > “Browse.” Locate the corrupted Excel file you want to recover > click “Open” > “Open and Repair.”


Click “Repair” to help you recover data as much as you can. If you’re worried about the effectiveness of Repair, please select the “Extract Data” option.

Is there another way for data loss prevention in Windows?

This detailed guide lists five feasible methods to recover missing Excel files for you. To prevent data loss in the future, please try to backup files and folders via Windows features such as File History, or Previous Versions. If you need to back up partitions or the system, you could seek help from System Restore or System image.

However, it’s difficult for green hands to make successful backups with these Windows features. Are you seeking a handy and multifunction tool? With the help of this free data loss prevention software-AOMEI Backupper, you’re allowed to achieve a “File Backup,” “Disk Backup,” “Partition Backup,” or “System Backup” without effort.   

Penny · Editor
Penny works as an editor at AOMEI Technology, while she's a tester and editor for AOMEI Data Recovery Tools. She enjoys helping users with data recovery issues on Windows and iPhones using simple and practical solutions. Outside of work, she has a strong affection for pets, particularly giant pandas.