Did you know that Microsoft Excel is the world’s most popular data analysis application? According to a recent study, more than 90% of businesses use Excel to manage and analyze their data. As a result, businesses must have a basic understanding of how to repair Excel files and recover lost data.

Microsoft Excel files are among the most widely used office documents. Excel spreadsheet Corrupted documents mean lost important data, which could have a serious impact on your business.

Do you also have an Excel file corruption problem, or does your Excel workbook become inaccessible? In this blog post, we’ll go over ten simple methods for repairing corrupted Excel files and recovering lost data. 

Corrupt Excel File

How to Know if you have a Corrupt Excel File?

Here are some errors that work as a sure sign for a corrupt excel file:

  • You can’t open your Excel file and receive error messages like: 
    • The file is corrupt and cannot be opened.
    • Excel cannot open the file <filename>, because the file format or file extension is not valid. Verify that the file has not been corrupted and that the file extension matches the format of the file.
    • Unable to read the file
    • Excel cannot open the file test.xlsx.
    • Can’t find a project or library. MS Excel is restarting…
    • Excel found unreadable content in <filename>. Do you want to recover the contents of this workbook? If you trust the source of this workbook, click Yes.
  • You can open your spreadsheet, but you see weird characters/data entries.
  • Excel freezes or the file crashes, not allowing to access the Excel workbook as usual.
  • While saving the Excel Workbook, you receive unanticipated error prompts. Similar prompts to those listed below:
    • “An unexpected error has occurred. AutoRecover has been disabled for this session of Excel”.
    • “Errors were detected while saving <filename>”.

Reasons for Excel File Corruption

File corruption is caused by corrupted metadata, which can occur for a variety of reasons, including:

  • Unexpected power outage
  • System shutdown error Virus or malware infection
  • Editing the file in various versions of Microsoft Office
  • The file size is quite large
  • Storage media with bad sectors
  • Errors in the Operating System
  • Problems with the Microsoft Office Application
  • The Excel workbook was abruptly closed
  • Corruption of a hard drive
  • Leaving open Excel files on a Shared Network

Best 10 Methods to Repair Excel File

If you are having trouble opening Excel files after upgrading to the most recent Windows Operating System (OS) and Office program, try updating both your Office and Windows OS to the most recent patches available on the Microsoft website. Microsoft releases Office and Windows OS patches on a regular basis to correct known errors. After installing the update, you may be able to open the corrupt workbook.

Even if the file isn’t corrupt, you may be unable to open it and receive errors indicating file corruption. The methods described here would take into account both scenarios. While we troubleshoot the problem, we’ll determine whether or not the file is corrupt and take appropriate action.

Let’s learn various methods to repair excel files.

10 Methods to Repair Excel Files are:

  • Change back the Sheet to the last version
  • Use built-in “Open & Repair” utility
  • Disable “Add-Ins”
  • Disable “Protected View”
  • Check and Change the file extension
  • Check and Modify “Component Services” settings
  • Restore corrupted Excel file from TMP file
  • Restore From File Recovery
  • Try Microsoft Office Tools
  • Use Repair Excel File Software

Let’s read each method in detail to help repair the excel file efficiently.

Method 1- Revert the Excel Sheet to the last saved version

If an Excel sheet becomes corrupt while you’re working on it, revert to the last saved version before saving the changes.

[Note: If the AutoRecover option is enabled, you can save versions of your file while you work on it. When you saved something, it determines how you recover it.]

In case, you saved the file, proceed as follows:

  • Open the active file or the file you are working on.
  • Select File > Info.
  • Select the file labeled — “when I closed without saving” under Manage Workbook or Manage Presentation.
  • Select Restore in the file’s top bar to overwrite any previously created versions.

In case, you haven’t saved the file, proceed as follows:

  • Recover Unsaved Workbooks in Excel or Recover Unsaved Presentations in PowerPoint by going to File > Info > Manage Document.
  • Select the File, then click Open.
  • To save the file, click Save As in the file’s top bar.

Method 2- Use built-in “Open & Repair” utility

  • Open an Excel spreadsheet by clicking File > Open.
  • Select the corrupted Excel file. Then, next to the Open button, click the arrow and then Open and Repair.
  • If Repair does not successfully repair the corrupt Excel file, select Extract Data.

However, it has been observed that in the case where the files are severely damaged, this step might not be the one for you. So, you may make use of the professionally recommended Excel File Repair Tool, to recover corrupted Excel files.

Method 3- Disable “Add-Ins”

You may receive an error message indicating that the file is corrupt, but the actual problem could be conflicting COM Add-Ins. To disable the COM Add-Ins, follow the steps below:

  • In the new Excel file, go to File > Options.
  • Select Add-Ins. Select COM Add-Ins from the Manage menu. Click the Go button.
  • Uncheck all of the checkboxes and click “Ok.”
  • Open the affected Excel file.
  • If this resolves the problem, it was caused by one or more Add-Ins.
  • Enable one of the Add-Ins and restart the Excel file in question.

Repeat the previous steps for the remaining Add-Ins. If the problem reappears after enabling a specific Add-In, that Add-In must be kept disabled to resolve the problem.

Method 4- Disable “Protected View”

  • Open a new Excel file and navigate to File > Options.
  • Navigate to Trust Center > Trust Center Settings.
  • Uncheck all of the boxes under Protected View. Select OK.
  • Open the excel file that has been affected.

Note: Disabling “Protected View” may damage your computer by exposing it to security threats. If you can access the file after disabling “Protected View,” rename it and re-enable “Protected View.”

Method 5- Check and Change the file extension

It’s possible that your current version of Microsoft Office does not support the file extension of your excel file. Replace the file extension with.xls. Take the following steps:

  • Copy the affected excel file to the root of a volume on your computer, such as the ‘D’ volume.
  • Start Command Prompt as Administrator.
  • Enter the path to the volume to which you copied the affected excel file. For example, type D: and press Enter.
  • Execute the following command: Ren MyExcelBook.xlsx NewExt.xls

Where MyExcelBok.xlsx represents the affected excel file with the previous extension, and NewExt.xls represents the same affected file with the.xls extension.

Try opening the file now to see if the problem has been resolved.

Method 6- Check and Modify the “Component Services” settings

Here are the steps to follow in order to check and modify the “Component Services” Settings.

  • Start your system by pressing the Start button in the bottom-left corner.
  • Enter Doom.
  • Select Run as Administrator by right-clicking Component Services Application.
  • Go to Component Services > Computers > My Computer.
  • Right-click My Computer. Choose Properties.
  • Click the Default Properties button. Select Connect under Default Authentication Level. Select Identity under Default Impersonation Level.
  • Click Apply, and then OK.

Method 7- Restore the corrupted Excel file from the TMP file

Microsoft has an Auto Recovery feature that allows Excel files to be saved automatically, much like a temp file on the Windows operating system. So that if one of your MS Office applications, such as Excel, PowerPoint, or Word, crashes or becomes corrupted, you can recover it.

Open the folder on your computer where your temporary file is stored. Then, look for Excel temp files with the extension. tmp.

For Windows 8 or 10 Users:


For Windows 7 users:


  • Now, locate the excel file that starts with “$” or “~” > and ends with “.TMP”.
  • Copy the files > Save them somewhere else > Change the.TMP file extension to.XLS or .XLSX.

Method 8- Restore From File Recovery

One of the alternative backups is File recovery. It implies that when a file contains Excel data can be accessed in case the original Excel workbook gets corrupted or damaged.

So, when any Excel file corrupts, and the user attempts to open the file- it automatically enters the File Recovery mode in order to repair the excel file. You can have a recovery file created automatically at regular intervals.

Steps to follow to restore from file recovery:

  • Open Excel and go to File > Options.
  • Then, in the Excel Options dialogue box, go to Save > check every box of the Save AutoRecover information > and set the time limit as you see fit (the default is 10).
  • In the AutoRecover file location box, specify where you want to save the recovery file.

Make sure that the Disable AutoRecover is unchecked only for this workbook.

Method 9- Try Microsoft Office Tools

If you are unable to open the corrupted workbook, use Microsoft Office Tools to recover data from corrupted Excel files.

Steps to follow to recover or restore using the Microsoft Office tools:

  • Select All Programs from the Start menu.
  • After that, go to Microsoft Office > Microsoft Office Tools.
  • Select Microsoft Office Application Recovery now.
  • And then, in the resulting dialogue box, select Microsoft Office Excel.
  • Then, select Recover Application.
  • The entire procedure takes a few minutes and responds to the prompt to Send Report to Microsoft.

Method 10- Use Repair Excel File Software- Stellar Repair for Excel

Repair Excel File

There is numerous excel repair software on the market that can be used to recover corrupt excel files. Stellar Repair for Excel is one such reputable program for repairing corrupt Excel files. If you decide to use this software, look over its features.


Excel is a necessary application that is used on a daily basis; therefore, it is recommended that you handle the Excel file properly and take the best preventive measures to keep your Excel files from becoming corrupted.

Given the growing reliance on Excel files for business purposes, this may not be good news. It is best to work in Microsoft Excel with automatic backup enabled. This ensures that if your workbook is accidentally deleted or corrupted, you can restore it from the backup. 

However, if you are still dealing with a corrupt Excel sheet, this post has outlined a few methods for retrieving your files. Try the solutions provided one by one to see if they help you restore a corrupted/damaged XLS/XLSX file. If none of these methods work, you can use Stellar Repair for Excel software to recover damaged/corrupt files.

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