How To Recover Previous Version Of Excel File

In the fast-paced world of data and spreadsheets, losing crucial information due to an unintended change or overwrite in an Excel file can be a nightmare. Fear not, as we unravel the methods to recover previous versions of Excel files. This comprehensive guide explores the problems associated with accidental changes, provides diverse solutions, recommends software alternatives, and addresses common questions related to recovering previous versions of Excel files.

Unveiling the Predicament

Understanding the Problem
Imagine spending hours crafting the perfect Excel spreadsheet, only to accidentally overwrite or make changes that lead to data loss. The frustration is real, and the following paragraphs delve into the intricacies of this problem and the potential causes.

Common Causes of Excel File Changes

  1. Accidental Overwrites: Users inadvertently make changes to a file, thinking they are working on a copy or a different version.
  2. AutoSave Features: AutoSave features may save unintended changes, making it challenging to revert to a previous state.
  3. Collaborative Editing: Multiple users collaborating on a file may introduce unexpected changes, impacting the original content.

10 Effective Solutions

1. Utilize Excel’s “Version History” Feature

  • Explore the “Version History” feature in Excel to view and restore previous versions of the file.

2. Recover from Temporary Files

  • Look for temporary files or unsaved versions of the Excel file using the AutoRecover feature.

3. Check OneDrive or SharePoint Versioning

  • If the file is stored on OneDrive or SharePoint, utilize versioning features to recover previous versions.

4. Restore from Backup

  • If regular backups are in place, restore the Excel file from an external backup source.

5. Excel’s “Restore” Function

  • Excel offers a “Restore” function that allows you to revert to a previous version of the file.

6. Use File Recovery Software

  • Consider using file recovery software to scan and recover previous versions of the Excel file.

7. Shadow Copies

  • Explore the system’s shadow copy feature to recover previous versions of files.

8. Microsoft 365 Subscription Features

  • Microsoft 365 subscribers can leverage additional features like “File Recovery” to restore previous versions.

9. EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard

  • Pros: User-friendly interface, efficient data recovery, supports various file types.
  • Cons: Free version limitations on data recovery capacity.

10. Disk Drill
Pros: Comprehensive data recovery, additional disk management tools.
Cons: Free version limitations on recovery size.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Q: Can I recover an Excel file if I accidentally saved changes?
A: Utilize the “Version History” feature in Excel or consider using file recovery software to attempt recovery.

Q: How often does Excel’s AutoSave feature save changes?
A: The frequency of AutoSave depends on the settings, and changes are typically saved every few minutes.

Q: Can I recover a previous version of an Excel file from OneDrive?
A: Yes, use OneDrive’s versioning feature to restore previous versions of an Excel file.

Q: Does Excel’s “Restore” function affect the entire workbook?
A: The “Restore” function reverts the entire workbook to a specific version, affecting all changes made since that version.

Q: What is the difference between Excel’s “Version History” and “Restore” features?
A: “Version History” allows you to view and choose specific versions, while “Restore” reverts the entire workbook to a chosen version.

Q: Can file recovery software retrieve Excel files from a formatted drive?
A: Yes, file recovery software can often retrieve Excel files from a formatted drive.

Decoding Technical Terms

1. AutoSave Features: Automatic saving of changes at regular intervals to prevent data loss.

2. Version History: A record of changes made to a file over time, allowing users to revert to previous versions.

3. Shadow Copies: Copies of files created by the Volume Shadow Copy Service, enabling recovery of previous versions.

Expert Tips

1. Enable AutoSave with Caution:

  • While AutoSave is helpful, enable it with caution to avoid unintended changes.

2. Utilize Cloud Storage Versioning:

  • If using cloud storage, leverage versioning features for added file recovery options.

3. Regularly Back Up Excel Files:

  • Establish a routine of backing up Excel files to prevent permanent data loss.


In conclusion, the process of recovering previous versions of Excel files involves a combination of built-in features, software tools, and proactive measures. Whether using Excel’s native features, exploring external software options, or relying on system capabilities, these methods provide a roadmap to regain control over your Excel data. Remember to act swiftly, explore multiple solutions, and implement preventive measures to ensure the safety of your crucial Excel files.