How To Recover A Previous Version Of An Excel File

When working with Excel files, accidental deletions or unintentional changes to the data can be a major setback. I’ve personally experienced the frustration of losing important data due to such mishaps. Fortunately, Excel provides a built-in feature that allows you to recover previous versions of your files, which can be a lifesaver in such situations.

Enabling AutoRecover in Excel

Before we dive into the process of recovering a previous version of an Excel file, it’s important to ensure that the AutoRecover feature is enabled. This feature automatically saves a temporary version of your file at regular intervals, providing a safety net in case of unexpected file closures or crashes.

To enable AutoRecover, follow these steps:

  1. Open Excel and click on the “File” tab.
  2. Click on “Options” to open the Excel Options dialog box.
  3. Click on “Save” in the left pane of the Excel Options dialog box.
  4. Check the “Save AutoRecover information every X minutes” box and set the desired time interval for AutoRecover saves.
  5. Click “OK” to save the changes.

Recovering a Previous Version

If you find yourself in a situation where you need to recover a previous version of an Excel file, here’s how you can do it:

  1. Open Excel and navigate to the folder where the file is saved.
  2. Locate the file, right-click on it, and select “Properties.”
  3. In the “Properties” dialog box, go to the “Previous Versions” tab.
  4. You will see a list of previous versions of the file with their respective dates. Select the version you want to recover and click “Restore.”

Using Excel’s Version History

If you are using Excel in conjunction with OneDrive or SharePoint, you can take advantage of the version history feature offered by these platforms. This feature allows you to view and restore previous versions of your Excel files directly from the cloud storage.


Recovering a previous version of an Excel file can be a real lifesaver, especially when dealing with critical data. By enabling AutoRecover and utilizing the version history feature, you can mitigate the risk of data loss and ensure that you always have access to earlier versions of your files.