How to Recover Unsaved Excel Files [2023]

It is quite painful of losing an important Excel Workbook due to power failure or software crash while working on it for hours without hitting a Save button. But don’t worry, as this optimized post contains ample information on how to recover unsaved Excel files in no time.

So, without any further ado, let’s get started…

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  2. Select the corrupt Excel file (XLS, XLSX) & click Repair to initiate the repair process.
  3. Preview the repaired files and click Save File to save the files at desired location.

Can I Recover an Excel File I Didn’t Save?

Yes, of course, you can recover an Excel file you didn’t save.

But how???

Many of you are unaware of a few functionalities of MS Excel where it can assist you in bringing back your unsaved Excel data in various circumstances.

Here’re the two scenarios where Microsoft Excel’s in-built checks for the unsaved file and try to recover it:

Scenario 1- You’re working on a new Excel file for hours (haven’t saved it yet) & suddenly system or Excel crashes.

Scenario 2- You updated an Excel file which is previously saved & Excel crashes before you could save the changes.

Now, let’s scroll down this page to find out Excel recover unsaved file solutions according to circumstances…

Please NoteExcel deletes the entire earlier Autosaved versions at the time you close the document. If you want to look at the previous version, then it is better to create a backup of your data.

How to Recover Unsaved Excel Files Automatically?

If you don’t have a backup of your unsaved Excel file then simply try the recommended MS Excel Repair & Recovery ToolThis advanced program has the ability to repair all sorts of errors, corruption, or issues in Excel workbooks.

Apart from this, it allows to restore all the corrupt Excel data such as charts, properties cell comments, worksheet, and other important stuff.

It is a unique tool to repair multiple excel files in one repair cycle and recovers the entire data in a preferred location.

The best thing about this utility is- it is easy to use and compatible with both Windows as well as Mac operating systems.

* Free version of the product only previews recoverable data.

Even it supports the entire Excel version. All you need to do is to just download & install this tool on your PC and follow the below step-by-step guide to know how it works:


Also ReadRecover Excel Data After Accidentally Clicked Don’t Save Excel File

How To Recover an Unsaved Excel File Under Different Situations?

Recover a New Unsaved Excel File (That Wasn’t Saved)

In case, if you are working on a new Excel file and suddenly the program or system crashes. And after a few seconds, you realize that you haven’t saved the workbook.

In such a case, you can still recover deleted unsaved Excel files. Here’s how you can do so:

  • Launch a new Excel file.

Recover Unsaved Excel File

  •  Go to FILE >> click ‘Open’

Recover Unsaved Excel File

  • Select Recent Workbook.

Recover Unsaved Excel File

  • Now scroll down > click on Recover Unsaved Workbooks button.

Recover Unsaved Excel File

  • And when the Open dialogue box pops up, select the necessary file > click Open. 

Recover Unsaved Excel File

The document opens in Excel and will prompt you to save it. Click on the Save As button, in the yellow bar above your worksheet and save the file to the desired location.

Retrieve Unsaved Excel File (The File Was Earlier Saved)

Excel Autosave and AutoRecover are the two best features that help the user to recover unsaved Excel file data if they are enabled.

Excel AutoSave is a tool that automatically saves a new document that was created just now but hasn’t been saved yet. This helps the user to recover important data that have been lost due to power failure or crash.

Excel AutoRecover allows the user to restore the unsaved files lost after an accidental closure and other unexpected reasons. With this, you can recover the last saved version displayed in the Document Recovery Pane, when the Excel file is started next time.

Documentary pane

This feature only works on Excel workbooks that have been saved at least once, otherwise, the Document Recovery pane won’t show up in Excel. Besides, these two features are amazing to recover unsaved Excel workbooks or restore overwritten Excel files. And this option by default comes ON in an Excel file.

Steps to Organize The AutoSave (AutoRecover) Settings In Excel:

  • First, go to FILE tab > select Options.

Retrieve Unsaved Excel File

  • Then click Save on the left-hand side of the Excel Options dialog box
  • Assure both “Save AutoRecover information every X minutes and Keep the last autosaved version if I close without saving” are checked.
  • Click OK.

The AutoRecover feature is by default set to automatically save changes to your workbook every 10 minutes. You can increase or decrease the time period as per your recommendation.

You can also change the Excel AutoRecover file location and specify AutoRecover exceptions.

Also Read: Recover Corrupted Excel File Data

How To Recover Overwritten Unsaved Excel Files?

There are two ways to recover overwritten unsaved Excel files one is via OneDrive and another is via Windows File History.

Here we have discussed briefly:

Way 1- From OneDrive

OneDrive is used to keeps a version history which you can easily browse & recover from whenever you would like. Thus, if you are also using a OneDrive, then you can recover overwritten Excel files from OneDrive.

Here is how you can do so:

  • First, visit
  • After this, click on a folder where you’ve saved your file.
  • In this instance, find a document you are looking for >> right-tap on it.
  • Choose the Version history. Here, you’ll get the list of all versions which OneDrive has saved. Luckily, you can even preview each version.

recover overwritten Excel files

  • Choose the needed document version & select Restore or Download in order to overwrite a current version.

recover overwritten Excel files

Way 2- Restore from the File History

In case, you are not using OneDrive, then you can recover your overwritten Excel files using File History. Though, you can only use this feature if you have previously it in your Windows OS.

Thereby, if you have enabled it, follow the below steps carefully:

  • First, right-click on the file >> click ‘File history’
  • Find the version that you need to restore.
  • Click on ‘Open’ option or ‘Restore Previous Versions’ button to select what you need to do with a file.

Restore from the File History

Bonus Tip To Avoid Excel Data Loss

#1: Save a Backup Copy of Your Workbook

The Auto Backup feature in Excel is very useful it allows the users to recover a previously saved version of the workbook. Making a backup of the important file is a very important and good habit to overcome the data loss situation.

This also protects the work if you accidental loss or in the situation you save changes that you do not want to keep or delete the original file. So, in this case, backup proved to be the best, as you have the current saved information in the original workbook and all previously saved information in the backup copy.

Well, this is a very helpful feature; but this is hard enough to find in Excel 2010 / 2013. So here follow the steps:

  • First, go to File> Save As.
  • And choose Computer> click on the Browse 

  • As the Save As dialogue window pops up > click on the small arrow next to the Tools button
  • Now choose General Options from the drop-down list.

  • And check Always create a backup box in the General Options dialog > click OK.

  • Then rename your file > select the desired location to save it. Excel creates the backup copy of the document in the same folder.

Please Note: The backed copy is saved with different .xlk file extension, as you open it, Excel pop-up a message to verify that you really want to open this workbook. Click YES and you can restore a previous version of your spreadsheet.

Related FAQs:

Where Do Unsaved Excel Files Go?

All the unsaved Excel files should be shown in the Document Recovery pane that pops up when Excel was shutdown erroneously.

How to Recover Excel Data After Accidentally Clicked Don T Save Excel File?

To recover Excel data after accidentally clicked don’t save Excel file, try the below methods:

  • Try to recover via Auto Recovery
  • Through Recycle Bin
  • Search for the Autorecover files
  • Look for the Temporary Files.

Also Read: Recover Lost/Disappeared Data In Excel

Bottom Line:

I hope the given methods will help you to recover unsaved Excel file Mac/Windows or overwritten Excel files.

However, all the solutions mentioned above are very effective but the MS Excel Repair & Recovery Tool is the best among them. Furthermore, don’t forget to create a backup of your important files regularly to avoid such Excel data loss situations.

Thanks for reading…!

Priyanka is an entrepreneur & content marketing expert. She writes tech blogs and has expertise in MS Office, Excel, and other tech subjects. Her distinctive art of presenting tech information in the easy-to-understand language is very impressive. When not writing, she loves unplanned travels.