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Summary: This guide offers solutions for Excel data recovery in cases of file corruption without backups. Methods include Excel’s repair feature, changing calculation settings, converting to SYLK format, and using Kernel for Excel Repair for advanced issues.

What should you do when you encounter a file corruption error in your Excel document, especially when you don’t have any backup copies? In this unfortunate scenario, we’ll provide you with methods and techniques to access the corrupted Excel file even in the absence of backup files.

Different Ways to Open Corrupt Excel Files

When you lack backups, the primary objective is to repair your corrupted Excel files to regain access to their data. Here are the most frequently used methods for repairing corrupt Excel files.

Open and Repair Excel files

Microsoft provides an in-built repair feature in the Excel application known as Open and Repair. Here is the process to use this facility.

  1. Open the Excel program. Go to File > Open.
  2. Now, click on the Browse option.
  3. Select the corrupted Excel from the system location and expand the Open menu. Select the Open and Repair option from the drop-down list.
    Select the corrupted Excel
  4. Click Repair to start the repair process on the file.
    Click Repair to start the repair process
    Note: Users can choose the second option, Extract Data, when the above Repair attempt did not yield the results.
Modify the Calculation settings

The Excel file may get opened if the users change or modify the Calculation settings in Excel to manual.

  1. Open Microsoft Excel; Open a blank workbook by following: File>New>Available Templates>Blank workbook.
  2. Now on the blank workbook, go to File > Options.
  3. Move to the Formulas category and under Calculation options, select Manual. Click OK.
    Click OK
  4. Now open the Excel file again by visiting File > Open from the same page.
Convert to a different file format

You can attempt to resolve the Excel workbook’s printer corruption error by saving it in the SYLK (Symbolic Link) format. This format can filter out the corrupted elements. Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to do it:

  1. Open the Excel file and follow: File>Save As.
  2. Select SYLK as the saving file format and click on the Save option. Users can save the current opened excel page only from the workbook in the SYLK format. Provide the location and select the SYLK format. Click Save.
    Click Save
  3. Now, from the File tab, select the Open option.
  4. Browse and add the just saved SYLK file.
  5. Now again, using the Save as option, save this file into Excel workbook format.
  6. This time, you may be able to open the last saved Excel file.
Repair using a professional tool

When manual recovery methods prove ineffective, the recommended solution is Kernel for Excel Repair, a leading option in the market. This tool is designed to address all Excel file-related issues and recover their contents, objects, properties, and more, restoring them to their original state. The tool boasts a user-friendly interface, making the entire repair process simple and straightforward. It involves adding the Excel file, scanning, repairing, previewing, and saving it to the desired location, ensuring an effortless recovery experience. To get a better understanding of the tool, it’s advisable to try the free trial version, which allows you to repair corrupted Excel files.

 repair any corrupted Excel file

The previously mentioned solutions are practical and can be executed by users to successfully repair a corrupt Excel file and access its contents even without a backup file.

To ensure the safety of their Excel files and data in the future, we recommend that users adopt the following manual backup techniques:

Backup Techniques for Excel File

The Excel application has two features using which users can have the backup copy of the Excel file or an option to restore the file.


If the user has enabled this feature, there is an opportunity to restore the file using the last autosaved version. This feature in the Excel program allows users to create a recovery file at specified intervals. Let’s explore how to do it.

  1. Open the Excel application on your system.
  2. Go to File>Options.
  3. The Excel Options page will get opened. Here, click on the Save option from the left panel.
  4. On the right panel, select the checkbox saying Save AutoRecover information every “dash: minutes. Enter the desired number for minutes. Against the AutoRecover file location option, provide the saving path location for the auto recovered file.
    Also, confirm that the checkbox Disable AutoRecover for this workbook only is not selected.
  5. Click OK finally to set the settings.

It’s advisable for all Excel users to incorporate the practice of pre-emptively creating backups for their important files. This straightforward process helps prevent data loss in the event of unforeseen incidents. Here are the steps to follow:

  1. Open your Excel file. Click File and select Save As option.
  2. Now, follow Computer>Browse.
  3. From the Save as page, go to the Tools option at the bottom, click the arrow next to it and then select General options.
  4. The General Options dialog box will get opened. Here, select the checkbox Always create backup and click on OK.
  5. It creates a temporary file at these locations:
    On Windows 8/10 – C:\Users\\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Office\UnsavedFiles
    On Windows 7 – C:\Users\name\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Excel\
  6. These files can be used to recover Excel files by saving it to a different destination location and simply changing the extension from .tmp to .xls.

These strategies offer various ways to safeguard your Excel data and recover it when facing challenging situations. We trust that you’ve found the right solutions to address your issue.

Wrapping Up

Excel files and their data hold significant importance for many users, making data corruption an unwelcome occurrence. We’ve endeavored to offer comprehensive guidance on how to regain access to Excel data when it becomes inaccessible, even in the absence of a backup.

Kernel for Excel Repair