How To Fix Corrupted Excel File in 2024?

5 minutes read

Most of us have faced this situation at least once. If you think it’s a done deal for your corrupted Excel file, then wait until the end of this article as it explains various ways to fix a corrupted Excel file and restore it without any backups. Try these simple solutions to repair and view your workbook.

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Factors like Intentional file corruption, virus attacks, sudden power outages, and large Excel files can cause Excel file corruption. However, you are on the safer side if you have enabled File History or any other backup solutions that can help you with these situations.

But what if you don’t have any backups? Let’s cut to the chase and start with fixing the damaged Excel files.

DIY Ways To Repair Damaged / Corrupt Excel Files

MS Excel’s Open and Repair Feature

Microsoft has a built-in feature to repair minor issues with XLS or XLSX files, make use of this feature to repair damaged and corrupt Excel files, Launch the Excel application and follow the steps below:

  • Click on the File tab and select Open.
choose the open option
  • Click on Browse to Locate the corrupt Excel document, click on the dropdown button next to the Open option, and choose the Open and Repair feature.
choose open and repair
  • In the prompt click on Repair to recover data from the corrupted Excel OR Extract Data if the file repairing process fails.
choose repair option

Change File Type

The older Excel file format used to be xls, but now it's xlsx, to fix the corruption issues try changing it to xlsx to fix these problems.

Typically Excel workbooks from previous versions or older computers could be unstable when you move them to newer versions. Here’s how you do it:

  • Open File Explorer and click on the View tab.
  • In the Show/hide section, check the File name extensions option.
tick the file name extensions option
  • Go to the Corrupted Excel File folder and click on Home.
  • In the organize section click on Rename.
choose rename option to rename the corrupt excel file
  • Now change the extension of the Excel file from xls to xlsx and save it.
Rename the corrupt excel file

Now double-click on the damaged Excel file to open it. If it doesn't work proceed with the next solution.

Use AutoRecover to Recover From Temporary Save

MS Excel utilizes the “AutoRecover” feature to automatically save a recovered version of a file, similar to other MS Office products.

However, the saved Excel worksheet will only exist for a certain amount of time. Hence, when you recover an Excel file using this feature it may be complete or partial.

  • Open a Blank workbook and click on File.
  • Choose Options
Choose options
  • Click on Save and note the AutoRecover file location.
copy the autosave location
  • Navigate through the location and from the available documents locate and recover the Excel file you need.

If you don’t see your Excel document then it was not saved. If you have located it change the file extension from .temp to .xlsx

Scan using an Antivirus Tool

To repair a virus-infected Excel document, use an updated antivirus tool. Windows users can utilize built-in Microsoft Defender to scan Excel documents.

Simply right-click on the corrupt Excel file and choose Scan with Microsoft Defender.

scan the corrupt excel file with defender

Once the scan is completed, Try opening the Excel file and check if all your Excel sheets are present.

Open Excel in Safe Mode

Excel in safe mode will isolate add-ins to check if the add-ins are stopping you from accessing the Excel file. If it works, then you can disable the add-ins later on to get permanent access to the Excel files.

  • Press Windows + R, Type excel /safe, and click on OK.
Open the excel application in safe mode
  • Now browse and access your Excel file.

Other Alternative Ways to Repair Corrupt Excel Files

There are third-party tools available to repair damaged and corrupted Excel files, You can choose a reputed tool to uncorrupt your Excel file. A few of the popular ones include:

  • Excel Repair Kit.
  • Excel Repair Tools
  • Kernel for Excel Repair

BONUS: What if My Hard Drive Containing Excel Files is Corrupted?

When your drive is corrupted all other data including the Excel file will also behave abnormally when you try accessing it, you will have to take quick actions like Moving your Excel file to a different disk can safeguard your Excel files.

Alternatively, you can also choose to repair your hard drive to get the Excel files back or recover Excel files from Windows. This is your call based on your priority. If the Excel files are your priority then choose to transfer the files to a healthy drive or recover them.


Taking precautionary measures like Proper handling, taking a backup of the Excel files, and avoiding random plugins can help you in the long run to avoid unwanted issues.

We hope all the built-in and third-party solutions listed in this article helped you get your spreadsheets back to their normal state so that you can keep those calculations going.

About the Author: John Harris

With a decade of experience in data recovery, John Harris, Senior Editor at Remo Software, is your go-to specialist. His focus includes partition management, Windows solutions, and data troubleshooting, delivering insightful content that serves both users and search engines. John's expertise shines through in illuminating blog posts, untangling data loss intricacies across diverse storage platforms.…