How to Recover Corrupted Excel File (8 Possible Ways)

We work on Excel files regularly and often it gets corrupted. It may happen for a reason but most of the time you may not know the reason behind the corrupted Excel file. This article will help you how to recover corrupted Excel files in 8 possible ways. If you face this problem then you can try these methods one by one.

How to Recover Corrupted Excel File: 8 Easy Ways

Assuming that you have a file that has been corrupted after saving. And it was very important so you’re desperate to recover it anyhow.

I’ve tried the following possible ways to recover a corrupted Excel file and I’m sharing these methods with you. All of them may not work for you but you should try all of these ones by one to recover your file.

1. Using the Open and Repair Tool of Microsoft Excel

When you face a corrupted Excel file at the time of opening, it will automatically ask you to attempt to repair the file. If it doesn’t start then you have to do it manually. The steps are shown below:


  • First, open the Microsoft Excel software and go to the File tab > Open.

How to Recover Corrupted Excel File

  • Now set the file destination in the File Name box. Before it, you have to select All Files from the right-corner drop-down menu. Then open the drop-down menu of the Open option. Select Open and Repair. 

how to recover corrupted excel file

  • Then a box will appear. Press the Repair button.

how to recover corrupted excel file

  • Then another box may appear. Must select Yes on the box.

how to recover corrupted excel file

  • There you may see the Excel file opens in normal mode.

How to Recover Corrupted Excel File

Read More: How to Recover Excel File after Crash

2. Use External References to Link to the Corrupted Workbook

If you can’t open the corrupted file, you may try to retrieve the data. There is a way to retrieve data from the corrupted workbook by using external references.


  • First, go to File > Open.

Use External References to Link

  • Then go to the corrupted file destination and copy the file name by using Ctrl + C.  Here you have to select All Files in the right bottom corner. Otherwise, the corrupted file may not be shown.

Use External References to Link

  • Now go to the blank workbook. And in the cell A1, write =’File Name’!A1  then press Enter.

Use External References to Link

  • A dialog box will appear, select the sheet that you want to retrieve and press OK.

Use External References to Link

  • Here you will see a 0 in the cell.  Now copy the cell by Ctrl + C.

How to Recover Corrupted Excel File

  • Then, select a range of cells that will cover the data of the sheet and press Ctrl + V to paste. Now again copy all cells and paste only values.

How to Recover Corrupted Excel File

  • Here you will have lots of 0. Actually, they should be blank cells. To replace them, go to Find & Select > Replace.

How to Recover Corrupted Excel File

  • Then, input 0 in the ‘Find What’ box, and leave the Replace with box empty. Press the Replace All button.

How to Recover Corrupted Excel File

  • After that, you will see only the wanted values. And all zeros are replaced with empty cells.

How to Recover Corrupted Excel File

Read More: How to Recover Permanently Deleted Excel Files Online

3. Restore from File Recovery

This option will help you if you already have a backup. As, by default, it makes a backup after every 10 minutes. You should also recheck it by the following steps:


  • Open an Excel File and go to File > Options

Restore from File Recovery

  • A new window named Excel Options will appear. Now press on the Save options. Select all the checkboxes under the Save Auto Recover information dialog.  Only uncheck the box named Disable Autorecover option. Also, check the location where the file will be saved.

Restore from File Recovery

  • Now after every 10 minutes, a backup file will be saved in that folder. If the file gets corrupted while running, you can recover it from that folder.

4. Set the Calculation Option in Excel to Manual

Sometimes, while dealing with larger datasets and complex calculations the file may crash while opening and get corrupted. In these cases, you can use the following method.


  • Open a new Excel file. Go to File > Options > Formulas. Under The Calculations Options, select the Manual option. And press OK. 

Set the Calculation Option

  •  You can select the Manual options from the top ribbon. Go to Formulas and select Calculations Options, there will open a drop-down menu. Select Manual option from here.

how to recover corrupted excel file

  •  Then go to File > Open and locate the destination of the corrupted file and double-click on the file to open it.

5. Recover Corrupted Excel by Saving as Another Format

You can try to recover corrupted Excel by saving it in another format and opening it again in Microsoft Excel.


  • Try to open the corrupted file and go to File > Save as and select any possible formats like a Web page and press Save.

Saving As Another Format

  • Now open a new Excel file and go to File > Open and locate the saved file and double-click to open.
  • If it doesn’t open normally then go to File > Save as and select the Save as Type as Excel format .xls or .xlsx

6. Move the File to Another Folder

Sometimes the operating system can’t access the file because of network and server errors. You may think that the file is corrupted. But actually, it is not. So you should move the file to another folder and retry opening it. It may work sometimes.

7. Try to Open the Corrupted Excel File in NotePad or Word

If all methods fail, and you can’t open the corrupted file anymore, but the data is very important and you have to recover the data, then you can try this method.


  • Right-click on the mouse on the file and select open with. 
  • Select the option NotePad or Word. 
  • Now, the Excel file may open in Word format. In this method, you may recover the data only. But you will lose all the formulas and formats.
  • You may try any Word to Excel Converter Tool to recover the Excel file.

8. Revert the Workbook to the Last Saved Version

If you think that the file has become corrupted while working on it you should follow this method to recover the corrupted Excel file by reverting them to the last saved version.


  • Go to File > Open 
  • Locate the file where it is saved and double-click on the name to open while it is already opened,
  • Click Yes to re-open the file. This method will save your file from being fully corrupted but you may lose the latest edits.

Recover Excel Files from USB/Flash Drive

Sometimes, while sharing an Excel file through a USB / Flash drive, it gets corrupted. There can be various reasons behind it. I will show you the solutions to how you can recover Excel files from the USB / flash drive.

1. Restoring the Previous Versions

It is the simplest option to repair the corrupted Excel file. But a fact you should know is that to work with this method, you must have enabled the system’s Windows backup option before. If it is already enabled then you can follow these steps:


  • Locate the corrupted Excel file and Right Click on this file
  • Select the Restore previous versions option

Recover Excel Files From USB/Pen Drive

  • There you will find a list of available versions then select one of them. The file may be recovered from corrupted.

Read More: How to Backup Excel Files to a Flash Drive

2. Using CMD to Recover Corrupted Excel Files

With this method, you will repair the USB flash drive. Then you can open the Excel file.


  • First, go to the Start Menu >> type CMD, and hit Enter.

Recover Excel Files From USB/Pen Drive

  • Then a Command Prompt window will appear, Now Type attrib -h -r -s /s /d (Flash Drive Letter):\*.*and press Enter. 

Recover Excel Files From USB/Pen Drive

  • Now, the repair process of the flash drive will start. Wait till the process is over. Then try opening the files.


All these methods are to help with the question of how to recover a corrupted Excel file. You can try these methods one by one as there can be many reasons to corrupt an Excel file so the solution will also be different. To recover a corrupted Excel file, you may try all these methods one by one. I hope you found this article helpful. Please, drop comments, suggestions, or queries if you have any in the comment section below.

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Osman Goni Ridwan
Osman Goni Ridwan

OSMAN GONI RIDWAN is a marine engineer who loves exploring Excel and VBA programming. Programming, to him, is a time-saving tool for efficiently managing data, files, and internet tasks. He is proficient in Rhino3D, Maxsurf, C++, MS Office, AutoCAD, Excel, and VBA and goes beyond the basics. Armed with a B.Sc in Naval Architecture & Marine Engineering from BUET, OSMAN has transitioned into the role of a content developer. Specializing in creating technical content exclusively centered around Excel... Read Full Bio

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