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Five easy ways to repair Excel files and recover lost data

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MS Excel is used by individuals and business organizations for doing complex calculations, preparing charts and illustrative graphics, and storing large amount of data. Though it has usability on various fronts, MS Excel can give headaches too. This is when users are not able to access Excel data properly due to corruption or other Excel errors. If not handled properly, such issues can cause huge loss of data and records.

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Here, you will find a few manual methods by which damaged Excel files can be repaired.

    1. Open and Repair Excel files
      A corrupt Excel file opens in File Recovery mode automatically. If not, you can repair it manually as below:

      1. Click on the File, and select Open.
      2. Go to the location where the corrupt workbook is present, and select the corrupted worksheet.
      3. Expand the arrow next to Open. Here select Open and Repair.
      4. In order to repair, select Repair.

      Note: If Repair option doesn’t work, you can select Extract Data and try to extract values and formulae.

      If the automatic or manual Repair doesn’t work, then a few other recovery methods can help you in overcoming the loss of data and files. These recovery methods are listed below:

    2. Recover the data from an open workbook
      If you face issues while working in an Excel file, you can choose to return to the last saved version of the Excel file. For this:

      1. Click on File. Select Open.
      2. Double click on the name of the workbook (the one that at is open in your Excel)
      3. Click Yes to reopen it.

      The workbook will now appear. Please note that you will not have latest modifications in the newly opened document.

    3. Recover by setting calculation option as manual
      You can recover data from Excel workbooks that cannot be opened. For this you will need to configure the calculation option as manual in Excel as:

      1. Begin by clicking on File. Select New. In New, select Blank workbook
      2. From File, select Options.
      3. From the Formulas category, under the section Calculation options, select Manual. Now click on OK.
      4. Now, click File, and select Open to and open the corrupted or damaged Excel file.
    4. Recover only the data
      Another way is to recover only the data (leaving formulas/calculated values) from the workbook using external references (to link Excel workbook) as:

        1. Click on File. Select Open.
        2. Navigate to the folder that contains the corrupted workbook.
        3. Now, right-click on the file name of the corrupted workbook, and click on Copy. Hit Cancel.
        4. Click File button. Then, select New.
        5. Under New, select Blank workbook.In the first cell (A1), type =!A1 and press Enter.

          • Select the corrupted workbook, in the Update Values dialogue (if it appears). Then click OK.
          • Select the relevant sheet in the Select Sheet dialogue (if it appears) sheet. Then click OK.


      1. Again select the cell A1, click on Home and select Copy.
      2. Now select (start from the cell A1) an area equal to that of the data in the original workbook.
      3. Click on Home now and select Paste.
      4. Click on Home, and select Copy again (on the same selection of cells)
      5. Click on Home, and then on the arrow below Paste. Here click Values (under Paste Values).

      By pasting values, you remove the links to the corrupted workbook leaving only the data.

    5. Using professional Excel recovery tools
      If all the manual methods fail and still things do not work as normal with Excel files, then a third party tool can be of great help. Kernel for Excel Repair Software is a professional third-party tool that repairs corrupt MS Excel worksheets. Excel files that have become inaccessible due to unexpected system shutdown, power failure, virus attacks, media errors or software crash are repaired by this tool. A few features of the tool include:

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      • Repairs corrupt all types of Excel files (XLS and XLSX formats)
      • Two repairing modes: Single-File and Multi-File
      • Supports Unicode character recovery
      • Uses Live Preview technology to view the recovered data
      • Owns friendly graphical user interface

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