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How to Recover an Excel Work File That Wasn't Saved

Updated March 23, 2017

If you are working on an Excel file and failed to save it at any point before the program crashed or if you closed the file before saving it, you can reopen it if you are using Microsoft Excel 2010. Excel will save the file temporarily, so you should recover the file as soon as possible. However, it is important to remember that even though this is an option, you should always save your work frequently.

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  1. Reopen Excel.

  2. Click on "File" in the upper-left hand corner of the screen. Then click "Recent."

  3. Select "Recover Unsaved Workbooks." This will display a list of any workbooks you worked on that were not saved.

  4. Select your file you were working on. Excel will record the time that the file was last worked on, so you can tell which file is the one you want if the time is close to when you closed Excel without saving or Excel crashed.

  5. Click "Open."

  6. Click "Save As" to save your file. You need to name the file and then click "Save."

  7. Open the document you were working on.

  8. Click "File" in the upper left-hand corner of the window.

  9. Click "Info."

  10. Under Versions, click the version labelled "(when I closed without saving)".

  11. Click "Restore."

  12. Tip

    Be sure to save your file after opening it.

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About the Author

Carter McBride

Carter McBride started writing in 2007 with CMBA's IP section. He has written for Bureau of National Affairs, Inc and various websites. He received a CALI Award for The Actual Impact of MasterCard's Initial Public Offering in 2008. McBride is an attorney with a Juris Doctor from Case Western Reserve University and a Master of Science in accounting from the University of Connecticut.

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