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Recover Unsaved Workbooks in Excel – Instructions

/ / Excel 2016, Excel 2019, Excel for Office 365, Latest, Microsoft, Office 2016, Office 2019, Office 365
Recover Unsaved Workbooks in Excel - Instructions: A picture of an unsaved workbook recovered by Microsoft Excel.

Recover Unsaved Workbooks in Excel: Overview

            You can try to recover unsaved workbooks in Excel. To see if Excel has automatically saved a copy of an unsaved workbook, click the “File” tab in the Ribbon. Then click the “Open” command at the left side of the backstage view. In the area to the right of the command panel, click the “Recent” command. Then look at the bottom of the pane that appears to the right. You should see a “Recover Unsaved Workbooks” button appear at the bottom of the list of recent workbooks.

            Click this “Recover Unsaved Workbooks” button to launch an “Open” dialog box. This dialog box shows any copies of unsaved workbooks that Excel has recovered. It may be helpful to sort the files shown by the “Date modified” column. Doing this sorts the listing of recoverable files by date. This is helpful because the unsaved file names will probably not help you determine their content.

            Then select the copy to recover within the “Open” dialog box. Then click the “Open” button to reopen the recovered copy. If you successfully retrieve the contents of the file, you should then save the file you recovered.

Recover Unsaved Workbooks in Excel - Instructions: A picture of an unsaved workbook recovered by Microsoft Excel.

Recover Unsaved Workbooks in Excel – Instructions: A picture of an unsaved workbook recovered by Microsoft Excel.

Recover Unsaved Workbooks in Excel: Instructions

  1. To recover unsaved workbooks in Excel, click the “File” tab in the Ribbon.
  2. Then click the “Open” command at the left side of the backstage view.
  3. In the area to the right of the command panel, then click the “Recent” command.
  4. Then look at the bottom of the pane shown to the right.
  5. A “Recover Unsaved Workbooks” button should appear at the bottom of the list of recent workbooks.
  6. Click the “Recover Unsaved Workbooks” button to launch an “Open” dialog box.
  7. This dialog box shows any unsaved workbooks Excel has recovered.
  8. You can sort the files by the “Date modified” column, as the unsaved file names are not useful in determining their content.
  9. To reopen a recovered workbook, select the workbook to recover in the “Open” dialog box.
  10. Then click the “Open” button.
  11. If you successfully retrieve the contents of the file, then save the file you recovered.

Recover Unsaved Workbooks in Excel: Video Lesson

            The following video lesson, titled “Recovering Unsaved Workbooks,” shows how to recover unsaved workbooks in Excel. This video lesson is from our complete Excel tutorial, titled “Mastering Excel Made Easy v.2019 and 365.”

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