How do I Recover a Microsoft Excel Spreadsheet That I Accidentally Saved Over?

Written by stephanie ellen
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How do I Recover a Microsoft Excel Spreadsheet That I Accidentally Saved Over?
Recovering data is possible with the right tools. (computer image by blaine stiger from

When you save over an Excel file, the original file is deleted from your computer. If you've spent a lot of time creating the perfect spreadsheet only to accidentally save over it, then you know what a frustrating experience it can be to try to recreate the data. Recovering an Excel spreadsheet that you've accidentally saved over is possible---although it mostly depends on the operating system you are using.

Skill level:

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  1. 1

    Try pressing the "Ctrl" and "Z" keys together on your keyboard to undo the latest keyboard strokes. If you've just made the change, this keyboard combination may work for you.

  2. 2

    Check the folder where you have saved the Excel spreadsheet to for a temporary file. There's a small chance that the save process got interrupted and the original file still exists in the folder. For example, if you saved your document in your "My Documents" folder, check that folder for a duplicate file name with the file extension .tmp. If you find it, double-click on the icon to open the original file and save it to a new location.

  3. 3

    Download software that recovers your data for you. There are a variety of options to choose from, including Active Undelete, WinUndelete and File Scavenger (see Resources for links). Although these all offer free trial versions, you may have to purchase the full version to successfully recover your data.

Tips and warnings

  • Contact your local PC repair shop and ask if it recovers files. Some PC shops will recover a file for a nominal fee.

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