In this post, you can learn 8 ways with detailed guides to repair corrupted/damaged Excel files (XLS/XLSX) for free on Windows 10/11. To recover deleted or lost Excel files for free, you can try MiniTool's data recovery software.
If an Excel file is corrupted and can’t open, you can restart your computer and try to open the file again or try the 8 ways in this post to repair the corrupted/damaged Excel file for free. Some free online Excel file repair tools are also included. Besides, you can find the best free data recovery software for Windows here. Check the detailed guides below.
Also read: Unlock the secrets of hard drive data recovery and regain access to your precious files by delving into this enlightening article.
#1. Repair Corrupted Excel Files with Open and Repair
If you can’t open an Excel workbook or the Microsoft Excel app detects corruption when opening an Excel file, you can try to use Excel’s Open and Repair feature to manually repair the corrupted Excel file. Check how to do it below.
- Open the Microsoft Excel app or create a new Excel file and open it.
- Click File tab and click Open -> Browse in Excel.
- In the pop-up window, you can go to the location or directory that contains the corrupted Excel file.
- Select the corrupted workbook. Click the drop-down icon next to the Open button and choose the Open and Repair option.
- Click Repair to repair the spreadsheet. If it doesn’t fix the file by using Repair, you can select Extract Data to extract values and formulas from the Excel workbook.
#2. Run a Virus Scan for the Excel File and Your Computer
The Excel file cannot open issue may be caused by malware/virus. You can run a malware/virus scan for the problematic Excel file and your computer by using your antivirus software. Remove any possible malware or virus on your computer and try to open the Excel file again.
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#3. Repair Hard Disk Errors with CHKDSK
If it is due to a disk error that prevents you from opening an Excel spreadsheet, you can try to move the file to another hard drive and try to open it again. Or you can run the Windows CHKDSK utility to check and fix disk errors. Check how to run the CHKDSK tool below.
- Press Windows + R, type cmd, and press Ctrl + Shift + Enter to open elevated Command Prompt.
- Next, type chkdsk <drive letter:> /f /r command, for instance, chkdsk i: /f /r, and press Enter. Let CHKDSK check the hard drive to fix possible errors and mark possible bad sectors.
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#4. Recover the Excel File from the Backup Copy
If you have enabled the automatic backup feature of an Excel file, you can easily restore the workbook from the backup if the file is mistakenly deleted or corrupted. Below is a guide for how to enable the AutoBackup feature of an Excel workbook.
- Open the Excel file you want to save a backup copy.
- Click the File tab and choose Save As.
- Click Computer and click Browse.
- In the pop-up Save As dialog, you can click the drop-down icon next to the Tools button and choose General Options.
- In the pop-up dialog, tick the Always create backup option and click OK.
After you enable the automatic backup feature of the Excel spreadsheet, it will create an Excel backup file with an .xlk extension when you save the workbook. The backup file is saved to the same location as the original file.
The first time you save the file, the two files will be the same. The second time you save the original file after making some edits, the backup file will still be the same. When you edit the file and save the original file the third time, the backup file will be updated with the information as the second save. You can open the backup file when needed.
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#5. Create a Recovery File for Excel Workbook at Set Intervals
You can easily restore the corrupted Excel file if you have set to create a recovery file for your workbook. Check how to enable the AutoRecover feature in Excel.
- Open the Excel app and create a new Excel file and open it.
- Click the File tab and click Options.
- Click Save in the left panel.
- Under Save workbooks in the right window, you can tick the option “Save AutoRecover information every x minutes” option and enter a number to set a preferred time interval.
- Then you can enter a preferred location next to AutoRecover file to save the recovery file of the Excel workbook. Still, make sure the “Disable AutoRecover for this workbook only” option is unchecked.
By doing so, Excel will create a recovery file at the set time interval and save the file to the designated location. If the workbook is corrupted and can’t open, you can go to that location to find the recovery file.
#6. Repair Corrupted Excel File with Recovery Toolbox for Excel
You can also try some professional online free Excel file repair tools to repair corrupt Excel files.
Recovery Toolbox for Excel helps you fix all types of Excel files including *.xls, *.xlsx, *.xlt, *.xlsm, *.xltm, *.xltx, and *.xlam files. It can recover Excel table styles, fonts, worksheets, workbook cell data, etc.
This free Excel repair tool offers an online repair service. You can also download the app to your computer.
To repair an Excel file online, you can go to its website and click the Select File button to upload your Excel file, enter your email address and click the Next Step button. It will automatically repair the corrupted Excel file for you. After repairing, you can download the repaired file to your computer.
#7. Repair Corrupt Excel File with online.officerecovery.com
Another online tool you can try to repair the corrupted Excel workbook is online.officerecovery.com. You can go to its website, click Choose File button to select the source corrupted Excel file, and click the Secure Upload and Repair button to let the service repair the Excel file automatically. After the repair process is finished, you can download the recovered file to your computer.
You can also try some other free file repair tools to repair the corrupted Excel files on Windows 10/11.
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#8. How to Recover Deleted/Lost Excel Files for Free
If an Excel file is missing or you delete an Excel file by mistake, you can try to use a professional data recovery tool to see if it can help you recover deleted files.
MiniTool Power Data Recovery supplies secure data recovery services for Windows 11/10/8/7.
You can use this program to recover deleted/lost Excel files or any other types of files for free. It helps you recover deleted/lost files, photos, videos, etc. from Windows PC or laptop, USB flash drive, SD/memory card, external hard drive, SSD, etc. with ease.
Aside from mistaken file deletion, MiniTool Power Data Recovery also helps you restore data from other data loss situations like hard drive corruption, malware/virus infection, system crashes, and other computer problems.
Download and install MiniTool Power Data Recovery on your Windows PC or laptop, and check the simple guide below for how to recover Excel files for free.
- Launch MiniTool Power Data Recovery.
- On the main interface, if you only want to scan for Excel files, you can click the Scan Settings icon in the left panel and choose the Document Only tick *.xls and *.xlsx file types and click OK to save the scan settings. Then you can click the target drive under Logical Drives and click Scan. Alternatively, you can click the Devices tab and choose the entire disk or device and click Scan.
- Let the software complete the scan process. After this, you can check the scan result to find wanted files, tick them and click the Save Then choose a destination to store the recovered files.
Possible Causes for Excel File Corruption
- Improper ejection of storage devices.
- Malware or virus infection.
- Hard drive failures or bad sectors.
- Microsoft Excel app bugs.
- Sudden power outage.
- And more.
This post introduces 8 ways to help your repair corrupted Excel files on Windows 11/10 computer. A free data recovery program for PC is also introduced to help you recover deleted or lost Excel files or any other files.
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