Excel is a valuable tool in a lot of ways, but it’s not perfect. Having to deal with corrupt Excel files is inevitable. When that happens, here are the 7 easiest ways to deal with it.
1. Open and Repair
Microsoft knows Excel isn’t infallible and built the Open and Repair tool to help users recover corrupted Excel files. This should happen automatically when you open a corrupted workbook, but if it doesn’t, here’s what to do:
• Click File > Open and find the workbook in question.
• Before opening the file, click the arrow next to the “Open” button and click the “Open and Repair” option.
• If the option is available, click “Repair.” But if that isn’t available, pick “Extract Data” instead. That should at least salvage the information in the workbook, if not the workbook itself.
2. Set the Calculation Options as Manual
Changing the calculation setting to manual from automatic may let you salvage your data. If the corruption is stemming from a formula being calculated in Excel, stopping your formulas from calculating automatically should let you open your workbook and fix the problem.
• Open a blank workbook.
• Open File > Options.
• In the Formulas category, under Calculation Options, select Manual.
• Open your corrupted file. It should now open without a problem.
• Open Excel and navigate to File. Click “Open.”
• Find the corrupted workbook, right-click the file name, and click “Copy.”
• Cancel out of the “Open” window.
• Open a new blank workbook.
• In the first cell, type =!A1.
• Press Enter, then select the corrupted workbook and the specific sheet you want to recover.
• Copy the information in the workbook you want to recover.
• Paste it into the empty workbook. Click the arrow next to the “Paste” button and choose “Values.” This should leave you with only the values, not the formulas, and should solve your problem.
4. Recover the Last Saved Version of the Workbook
Sometimes workbooks become corrupted while you’re in the middle of working, before you have a chance to save your changes. If that happens, simply try reopening the file. If you’re lucky, you’ll be able to reopen the file without a hitch. You’ll lose out on whatever work you did between saving and the file shutting down, but at least you still have most of your work.
5. Use a Tool like Recovery Toolbox
If none of your troubleshooting options are working, you may want to consider trying an Excel recovery software like Recovery Toolbox.
6. Solve the Problem Before it Happens
The best way to solve a problem is to prevent it from happening in the first place. If you’re putting a lot of important information into Excel, we strongly recommend setting up your workbooks to automatically save backup copies on a regular basis. This will save you trouble and stress down the road. You can find instructions on how to do this here.
Whether you’re troubleshooting a corrupted Excel file right now or are just reading up to prepare, these Excel repair skills are a valuable asset to have on-hand.