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1: Let Excel try If Excel's automatic recovery mode fails, there's a manual feature for recovering a corrupted workbook:
Attempt to manually recover a corrupted workbook.
You can repair a workbook or extract the data from a corrupted workbook. If you're lucky, Excel will repair the file. However, this feature recovers files when something goes wrong with Excel, so it won't recover every corrupted file. Once you've made every attempt to recovery the file, you might have to make do with recovering just the data. When that's the case, click Extract Data in step 4.
2: If the corruption occurs while the workbook is open If corruption occurs while the workbook is open, do not save the workbook. You'll just save whatever corrupted the workbook along with the most recent changes. Instead, revert to the last saved version. Doing so, without saving first should discard the corrupted component. You'll possibly lose data, but often, you can rebuild quickly enough (a good reason to save your work often).
To revert to the last saved version, do the following:
You're really just reopening the workbook — there's nothing special going on.
3: Disable automatic calculation If Excel fails to open the file on its own or via the Open And Repair option, try setting the calculation method to manual and try again. To reset the calculation setting:
Then, try to open the corrupted workbook. Sometimes Excel can open a corrupted workbook if it doesn't have to recalculate.
4: Try Microsoft Office Tools If Excel can't open the corrupted workbook, give Microsoft Office Tools a whirl:
Office Tools might recover a corrupted workbook. The recovery tool will close Excel and then restart it, displaying a list of recovered workbooks (if any). If you're lucky, your corrupted workbook will be in the list. Simply open it and count your blessing.
5: Move the file Sometimes, a corrupted workbook isn't really corrupted in the traditional sense. It just isn't accessible as usual; networks and servers often mask errors as corrupted files. If you encounter a seemingly corrupted workbook that Excel can't repair, move the corrupted file to another folder, drive, or server.
6: Let the competition try Some people claim extraordinarily good results using OpenOffice Suite, a free open source alternative to Microsoft Office. This suite's Excel counterpart, Calc, should open a corrupted Excel file. Unfortunately, it means a lengthy download, but if it works, it's well worth the effort.
7: Open the corrupted workbook in WordPad or Word If you can't repair the workbook, try opening it in WordPad. If it works, WordPad will convert everything to text — but you'll be one step closer to recovering important data. Unfortunately, this method won't recover formulas. On the other hand, unlike many other data recovery methods, WordPad will recover your VBA procedures (macros). Simply search recovered text for Sub and Function to find them.
You might also be able to open the corrupted .xls file in Word, but the results will be limited. For this method to work, you must install the Microsoft Office Excel converter. And unlike WordPad, Word won't recover your procedures.
8: Use external references Sometimes, you can recover data by referring to the actual cells in a corrupted workbook. You won't recover formulas, formats, charts, macros, and so on, but recovering the data is better than recovering nothing. To recover data by referencing the corrupt workbook, do the following:
If the corrupted file has multiple sheets, specify a sheet.
Replace the referencing formulas with data.
9: Try SYLK format to recover data Microsoft recommends using the SYLK format to filter out corrupted elements, especially if the corruption is printer related. You must be able to open the corrupted workbook for the following to work:
Save each sheet using the SYLK format. It's important to know that the SYLK format saves only the active sheet. However, you won't notice that the format has stripped all of the pages but the active one until you close and reopen the .slk file. To recover data from all the sheets, you must reopen the corrupted workbook and save each sheet individually. That's why step 3 instructs you to give the sheet a descriptive name. You'll find those names helpful when reconstructing the multiple-sheet workbook.
After saving all the sheets to the SYLK format, open one of the .slk files and rename it using the .xls format. Be careful not to use the corrupted workbook's name. Once you've reconstructed the workbook, you can discard the corrupted file or rename it, freeing up the original name. Don't replace it until you're sure you've recovered as much data as possible. Then, reconstruct the workbook by importing or copying data from the .slk files. It's a tedious process, but worth the effort if nothing else works. This method saves values resulting from formulas, but not the formulas themselves.
10: Recover macros If you can recover data but not macros via one of the previous tips, you can still save macros — at least sometimes. To try, do the following:
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