How To Repair And Recover Data From Corrupt Excel Files?

Published on January 22nd, 2024

Corruption in Excel files is a common issue that Excel users often report on different technical forums.

The Excel files (XLS/XLSX) can get corrupted due to factors, such as abrupt closure of Excel application, overgrown file size, virus attacks, and many others.

The corrupted Excel files can give random errors and even sometimes fail to open.

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Common Excel File Corruption-Related Errors

When trying to access corrupted XLS/XLSX files, you can face these errors:

  • Excel found unreadable content in ‘[filename].xls’. Do you want to recover the contents of this workbook, click Yes.
  • The file is corrupt and cannot be opened.
  • Unable to read files.
  • The workbook cannot be opened or repaired by Microsoft Excel because it is corrupt.

What Causes Corruption In Excel Files?

Several factors can contribute to the corrupted Excel files, including

  • Virus attacks
  • Sudden power failures
  • The hard drive where your Excel file is located is faulty.
  • Abrupt Excel application shutdown.
  • Problematic Microsoft Office updates

Below, we’ll be sharing some workarounds to repair and recover data from damaged Excel (XLS/XLSX) files.

Workarounds To Repair And Recover Data From Corrupt Excel Files

If you’ve a backup, then you can restore the Excel file from backup. If you don’t have backup or the backup file is obsolete, then you can try the following workarounds to repair and restore data from damaged XLS/XLSX files.

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1: Revert To The Previously Saved Version

The Excel application automatically saves a version of the file, if the AutoRecover option is enabled. You can recover the previously saved version of the affected file. Follow the below-cited steps:

  • Open the corrupt Excel file (if you can open the file).
  • Go to File > Info > Manage Workbook.
  • Select Recover Unsaved Workbooks.

opening corrupt excel files

  • Select the available last auto-saved file, listed under the recent unsaved files.
  • Click Open and then verify the data.
  • Click File and select Save As to save the file.

2: Set The Calculation Option To Manual

You may fail to open the Excel file, if it is large and contains too many formulas. In such a scenario, changing the calculation settings in Excel from Automatic to Manual can help you open the affected file. The steps to change the Calculation Settings in Excel are as follows:

  • In Excel, go to File > New and select Blank Workbook.
  • Navigate to File > Options > Formulas.
  • Under the Calculations options, choose Manual. Then, click OK.

repairing corrupt excel files

  • Now click File > Open and click on the corrupted Excel file to open it. If the issue persists, then follow next solution.

3: Repair Corrupted Excel File

Open and Repair is a built-in utility in Excel to repair and restore the corrupted Excel file. The steps to use this utility are as follows:

  • In the Excel application, navigate to File and then click Open.
  • Select the affected workbook in the Open dialog box.

repair corrupt excel files free

  • Click on the arrow next to the Open option and from the dropdown options, select Open and Repair.

how to fix corrupt excel files xlsx

  • A dialog box with three options: Repair, Extract Data, and Cancel will appear on the screen.

corrupt excel files

  • The ‘Extract Data’ option will help you recover the workbook data without formulas and values, and the ‘Repair’ option will help you recover maximum data possible. Choose one of the options and wait till the process is completed.

The Open and Repair utility may not be effective in fixing complex corruption-related errors in Excel files.

Also, using this utility for repairing multiple Excel files is a time-consuming process. In such scenarios, you can opt for a professional Excel repair tool.

Stellar Repair for Excel is a suitable tool for repairing severely corrupted Excel files.

This tool also allows you to repair multiple Excel files in a batch, thus help you save time and effort. Here are some powerful features of Stellar Repair for Excel:

  • Repairs highly corrupted XLSX and XLS files.
  • Repairs multiple Excel files of any size.
  • Option available to preview recoverable Excel file data.
  • Supports Microsoft Excel 2019 and all lower versions.
  • Compatible with Windows 11 and earlier versions.

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Excel application may fail to read the corrupted Excel file and display random errors when you try to access the file.

You can try the workarounds mentioned in this article to repair and recover data from corrupt Excel files.

You can use an Excel repair tool, such as Stellar Repair for Excel to repair severely corrupted Excel files without losing any data.

This tool can recover all the data from corrupt Excel file with complete consistency and accuracy. You can download and run this tool on any Windows system.

Feature Image Source: Rubaitul