open and repair does not work in Excel

Summary:  This article will provide you the alternate solutions to repair and recover corrupted Excel file when open and repair does not work in Excel 2007, 2010, 2013 & 2016.

Microsoft Excel is a highly advanced program, used and trusted to calculate and provide the solutions to our difficult problems like from calculating salaries to creating budgets.

This is world widely used application to calculate and carry out other tasks easily. But sometimes like other applications, this fails to works due to unexpected errors and as a result, the entire stored data become inaccessible.

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Well, this is really a very miserable situation and proactive methods to avoid data loss situation is save a backup copy of your data or create an automatic recovery file at set intervals.

Moreover, to deal with the Excel file corruption Microsoft has provided an inbuilt Open and Repair tool to repair and recover corrupt Excel file data.

But there are also cases seen where the users are reporting the Open and Repair not working in Excel.

Well, there is no exact reason why the Open and Repair free tool stopped working suddenly.

So, in this article check out the other alternate solutions to fix the Excel file corruption and restore corrupt Excel XLS/XLSX file.


Utilize Excel File Recovery Tool


The easy and trusted way to repair corrupted, damaged and inaccessible file makes use of the Excel File Recovery Tool. This is a professional recommended solution that is capable to fix various errors and issues in Excel workbook. It is also capable to restore entire data including the charts, worksheet properties cell comments, and other data. It is easy to use and support all Excel versions.

Excel Repair for Windows

Moreover, if you are looking for other possible manual solutions than follow the given solutions to open a corrupted workbook when Open and Repair not working in Excel.


Methods to Repair Excel File when the Workbook is Open in Excel


If the Excel workbook gets corrupted while working or you are able to open the corrupted Excel file then try the given solutions one by one.


1: Revert the workbook to Last Saved Version before the Corruption


  • Start Excel > click File > Open
  • Now choose the corrupted file and open it
  • Then click ‘Yes’ to reopen the workbook
  • Now the workbook opens without any changes you made that corrupt the Excel file.

Please Note: By using this method you can lose entire changes made to the file after it was corrupted.


2: Save the Corrupt File in the SYLK file format


  • Start Excel > File > Save As.
  • Then in the Save as Type field > choose SYLK (Symbolic Link) > click Save
  • For only saving only the active sheet in the workbook > click OK. A message appears that the sheet has features that are not compatible with the SYLK file format.
  • Click Yes.
  • And in Excel > click File > Open.
  • Now choose the file saved in SYLK file format and open it.
  • Then in Excel > click File > Save As.
  • Now in the Save as Type field > from the drop-down menu > choose Excel Workbook
  • And in the File Name field,> type a new name for your workbook > click Save

Now the SYLK file format filters out the corrupted elements from the workbook by restoring data.

Please Note: This method allows recovering the active sheet only in the workbook.

So, these are the methods you can try when the workbook is open or you are able to open the corrupted Excel file but what if the corrupted Excel file is cannot be opened or repaired.


Methods to Open Corrupted Excel file that can’t be Open


You need to follow the given solutions when you are unable to open the corrupted Excel file and the open and repair not working in Excel.


1: Set the Calculation Option to Manual


Here try changing the calculation setting from automatic to manual as the workbook won’t be recalculated and may get open.

Follow the steps to do so:

  • Start Excel > File > New.
  • And from the Available Templates window > choose blank workbook.
  • Now click File > Options.
  • And under Formulas > go to Calculation options section > click Manual > OK.

  • Now click File > Open.
  • Locate the corrupted file and open it.

Hope this works for you but if not then follow the second method to open the corrupt Excel workbook.


2: Link the Workbook to External References


Doing this allows you to retrieve the data only without the formulas or calculated values from the workbook.

Follow the given steps:

  • In Excel > File > Open.
  • And copy the name of corrupted file > click Cancel.
  • Click File > New > choose blank workbook
  • Then in the new workbook, on cell A1, type the following: [=File Name!A1]. Note – Here the filename is the name of the corrupted file that you copied earlier > Enter
  • And if the Update Values dialog box appears > choose the corrupted workbook, > click OK
  • Or if the Select Sheet dialog box appears > choose the sheet > click Ok
  • Select cell A1. And select the same range of rows and columns, occupied by the corrupted sheet data, including cell A1.
  • Now click Home tab > click Paste.
  • With the range of rows and columns are still selected > click Copy > click Paste
  • And under Paste Values > click Values.

It is estimated now you can recover data only without the formulas or values from corrupted Excel workbook.

Additionally, you can also utilize macros to extract data from corrupted Excel workbook. But macros are generally risky and using them needs technical knowledge.

So, if you are not technically skilled then make use of the automatic Excel File Recovery Tool. Here check out the steps to use it.


Steps to Utilize Excel Recovery Tool:






Hope the given methods help you to repair your Excel file if the ‘Open and Repair’ utility doesn’t work.

Make use of the given solutions one by one and check which one works for you. Despite this if you are not technically savvy then makes use of the Excel Recovery Tool, this allows you to repair and recover corrupt Excel file with ease.

Moreover, as I always say make sure to back up your important Excel data regularly or utilize Excel Autorecover feature this automatically backup data in set intervals.

If, in case you have any additional questions concerning the ones presented, then visit our Repair MS Excel Ask Question

Good Luck….

Repair Excel File When Open and Repair Inbuilt Tool is Not Working
Repair Excel File When Open and Repair Inbuilt Tool is Not Working
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Repair Excel File When Open and Repair Inbuilt Tool is Not Working
When your Excel Open & Repair free tool does not work & you fail to resolve MS Excel file corruption then try other methods to recover corrupt workbook data discussed in this blog.
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