Where Does Excel Save Temp Files? How to Recover After Loss?

Want to know where does Excel save temp files? This post is worth reading with detailed introductions and solutions to recover lost Excel files.


By Lora / Updated on April 3, 2024

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What are Excel TMP files?

If you are constantly using Microsoft Excel, you might notice that every time you open an Excel spreadsheet, a file named “~” or “$” will appear.


It is a temporary file created by Excel as well as some other software to temporarily save the info currently in use.

Many users believe the temp files make it possible for them to recover files from temp folder after they have unexpectedly closed the apps or met a crash.

Thus, those who have lost their important Excel files might ask, where does Excel save temp files?

Where does Excel save temp files?

To find temporary Excel files, we should look into the Excel temp folder. For different versions of Operating systems, the Excel tmp file locations are in different paths.

>> Windows 10, 11

  • C:\Users\username\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Office\UnsavedFiles

>> Windows 8, 7

  • C:\Users\username\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Office\UnsavedFiles

>> Windows XP

  • C:\Documents and Settings\username\Local Settings\Application Data\Microsoft\Office\UnsavedFiles

Or, you could access the Excel temporary file location via the Excel app. Start Excel > click File > Open > scroll down and click Recover Unsaved Workbooks.


In this way, you could access the Excel temp files and recover unsaved Excel files.

Excel temporary files are helpful when unexpected crashes occur before saving. For instance, if you have mistakenly clicked the “Don’t Save” option, you could turn to the temp Excel files.


But importantly, if the unsaved Excel file was closed before the AutoSave feature saving your copies, no unsaved Excel temporary files will be available.


Then, if you found nothing in this folder, or you want to recover a lost/deleted Excel file, what to do?

How to recover lost/deleted Excel files if they are not in the temp folder?

Excel temp files are quite limited, which can only do some help when the AutoSave function has worked.

To find and recover lost or deleted Excel files, 3 feasible methods will be introduced in this part.

Method 1. Recover lost Excel files from previous versions

Using the Previous Versions feature is a good option. The earlier versions of the files are from the restore points and File History.

You could recover lost or deleted files by restoring previous versions of files/folders.

To decide which version to select, click Open to view the detailed content.

Step 1. Go to File Explorer > go to the parent folder where the deleted or missing Excel files were previously saved.

Step 2. Right-click the folder > Properties > Previous Versions > choose a version > Restore.


Using this tool, you can also find previous version of Word documents.

Method 2. Retrieve Excel workbooks via the Backup & Restore feature

A safe way to recover lost Excel files rather than finding temporary Excel files to restore is to seek help from backups.

Windows has provided a backup tool for Windows users to save copies of their files, making it easy for them to transfer from Windows 7 to newer generations.

Step 1. Start Control Panel > System and Security > Backup and Restore (Windows 7).


Step 2. Click Restore my files.


Step 3. Click Browse for files > choose the Excel files you have lost > Next.


Step 4. Restore them to the original location or save them to a preferred place > click Restore.


Backups are always helpful when data loss occurs. Utilizing professional Windows backup software to protect your data is also recommended.

Method 3. Recover lost or deleted Excel files effortlessly

If you cannot find where does Excel save temp files, and possess no backups, who to retrieve deleted Excel files with ease?

Accidents won’t come with clues or hints, most of the time, data loss attack users before backups are made in advance. But, fortunately, a reliable data recovery tool for Windows will be a timely help.

An eligible tool needs to be efficient in scanning, convenient in usability, and also, it should be compatible enough to apply to various operating systems.

MyRecover will be preferable. It utilizes advanced scanning techs and algorithms to locate all deleted and lost data from internal/external hard drives.

Using this tool, you will get help in various aspects.

Restore deleted and lost data from HDD/SSD/USB/memory card within 3 simple steps. 
Scan the hard disks for wanted data in only several seconds to minutes. 
Over 200 types of data are supported, including photos, videos, Excel, Word, PowerPoint, and other Office files, zip files, etc. 
All deleted files will be recovered with the original formats, paths, and filenames intact.
Support Windows 11/10/8/7/Server.

No need to try hard to find temporary Excel files to recover lost Excel workbooks, just scan, select, and restore data easily.

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

Step 1. Download and run the app > hover the mouse over the drive, and click Scan.


Step 2. Filter or target your wanted Excel files by extension, type, etc. Sort the detected files by Date modified to locate the needed files faster.


Step 3. Go to Deleted files > go to the exact path where the Excel files were saved > select the files you need > click Recover x files.


Not only a local drive, but it can also apply to an external hard disk, helping you recover files from external hard drives.

FAQ about Office file recovery

Where does excel save temp files have been answered and introduced with detailed info in this post.

If you want a simpler approach to recovering deleted Excel files, just utilize a reliable data recovery program – MyRecover. A Tech version is also available to get data from multiple devices.

Check out the FAQ for additional information on Office file recovery.

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.