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Recovering a Corrupted Microsoft Excel Spreadsheet

Microsoft Excel is clever in that if your spreadsheet is corrupted then the program will try and recover it when you next open it. File Recovery mode automatically begins, simultaneously trying to repair and open the file.

However, it’s not always possible for File Recovery mode to run automatically. Also, sometimes it just won’t work at all. In these instances, it becomes necessary to attempt some manual recovery methods. This article will detail some steps for you to try and offer some tips to try and combat corrupted files in the future.

Attempting manual recovery

Load up Excel and then click the Microsoft Office button in the top left. Select ‘Open’ and then choose the corrupted spreadsheet. Click the arrow next to the ‘Open’ dialog button and then select ‘Open and Repair’. Firstly, click ‘Repair’ to try and recover the spreadsheet. If this doesn’t work, select ‘Extract Data’ instead. This will try and get the values and formulas from the spreadsheet, even if the file as a whole isn’t recoverable.

Recovering the spreadsheet’s data

These steps will offer support in pulling out any data from the spreadsheet if the file is opening in Excel. Although the file might not be able to be recovered, the data within might be.

1. Revert the file to the previous version

This is a simple technique and may not do the job for you since it’ll only revert back to your last save. However, it’s still better than nothing.
If you’re working on the file and it is corrupted before saving, you can revert the spreadsheet to the last saved changes. To do so, click the Microsoft Office button in the top left and click ‘Open’. Then, double click the file you’ve currently got open and click ‘Yes’ to confirm the action.

2. Save the file in SYLK format

The SYLK format is normally used to remove printer corruption, but you may be able to remove the corrupted elements from your file by using this method.

Click the Microsoft Office button in the top left and click the arrow next to ‘Save As’. In the list that comes up, click ‘SYLK’ and then ‘Save’. You may get a message that only the active sheet will be saved and that the workbook may contain features not compatible with SYLK, but just click ‘Yes’. Click the Microsoft Office button again and then click ‘Close’. Save any changes. Now click the Microsoft Office button, then ‘Open’ and then select the .slk file you just saved and then ‘Open’ it. Again, click the Microsoft Office, then the arrow next to ‘Save As’ and in the ‘Save as type box’ click ‘Excel Workbook’. Give the file a new name so as to not overwrite the original.

File cannot be opened in Excel
If the file cannot be opened in Excel then you could try using a data recovery program like R-Studio. This program is available in a trial mode and it will scan your computer to try and recover previous versions of the file that existed before it got corrupted. The sooner you use this program then the greater the chance of recovering your data.


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