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Methods to Recover Deleted Excel Sheet

Methods to Recover Deleted Excel Sheet

Accidentally deleting an Excel sheet can be a nightmare, especially when it holds crucial data. Whether it’s due to a mistaken keystroke or a complex software error, knowing how to recover deleted Excel sheets can save you from a lot of trouble. From personal experience, I’ve explored various methods to rescue data from such mishaps. In this guide, I will share these techniques with you, step by step, to ensure that you can retrieve your vital information efficiently. If you’re interested in the best data recovery tools, you can find them in this article.


Common Scenarios:

Deleting the Sheet by Mistake 🗑

  • It’s common to delete an Excel sheet by accident, especially when working on large and complex workbooks. A mistaken right-click or a wrong keystroke can result in losing an essential sheet.

Software Crash During Work 😱

  • Software crashes can occur at any time, leading to unsaved changes or outright deletion of sheets. This is often caused by bugs in the software, power outages, or hardware malfunctions.

File Corruption 🚫

  • Another frequent issue is file corruption. Corruption can happen due to virus attacks, improper shutdown of the system, or errors during the saving process, making it appear that an Excel sheet is lost or deleted.

Step-by-Step Guide. Recover Deleted Excel Sheet:

Method 1: Using Undo Feature ↩

  • Immediately after deleting an Excel sheet, the first resort should be the Undo feature.
  • Press Ctrl + Z on your keyboard to undo the deletion. This command works if you realize the mistake instantly.
  • Alternatively, click the Undo button in the quick access toolbar at the top of Excel.
  • This method is limited to the most recent actions, so act quickly to recover your sheet.

Note: This method is only effective if you haven’t closed the Excel file after deleting the sheet.

Conclusion: The Undo feature is a swift and effective way to recover an accidentally deleted sheet, provided you act immediately.

Method 2: Recovering from a Previous Version ⏪

  • Open the Excel workbook where the sheet was deleted.
  • Navigate to File > Info.
  • Look for the Manage Workbook section. Click on the Recover Unsaved Workbooks option.
  • Select the appropriate file version from the available list and open it.
  • Save this version of the workbook to restore the deleted sheet.

Note: This method relies on Excel’s ability to auto-save versions of your work. Ensure that auto-save is enabled in your Excel settings.

Conclusion: Recovering from a previous version can be a lifesaver, especially if you frequently save your work or rely on auto-save.

Method 3: Using Excel’s AutoRecover Feature 🔄

  • Launch Excel and head to File > Open.
  • At the bottom, click on Recover Unsaved Workbooks.
  • Choose the file that contains the deleted sheet from the list of unsaved files.
  • Open the file and look for the deleted sheet. Once found, re-save the workbook to ensure the sheet is recovered.
  • This process uses Excel’s built-in AutoRecover feature, which periodically saves your work to prevent data loss.

Note: Ensure that the AutoRecover option is enabled via File > Options > Save. Set the save interval to a frequency that suits your needs.

Conclusion: Excel’s AutoRecover feature is a valuable tool for recovering lost data, providing peace of mind during unexpected crashes or unwarranted deletions.

Method 4: Checking Excel’s Temporary Files 🗂

  • Sometimes, temporary files created by Excel can be used to recover lost data.
  • Navigate to the folder where the temporary files are stored. Typically, this path is C:UsersYourUsernameAppDataLocalMicrosoftOfficeUnsavedFiles.
  • Look for files with a *.asd extension or similar temporary file extensions.
  • Open these files in Excel to see if your deleted sheet can be recovered.
  • Once identified, save the recovered sheet immediately to prevent further loss.

Note: Accessing temporary files might require enabling the ‘Show hidden files’ option in your system settings.

Conclusion: Temporary files can offer a hidden yet efficient way to recover lost Excel data, making them worth checking in the event of accidental deletions.

Method 5: Restoring from Backups ⛑

  • If you regularly back up your Excel workbooks, you can restore the deleted sheet from those backups.
  • Open your backup software or service, such as Windows Backup, OneDrive, or an external backup solution.
  • Locate the backup file that contains the version of the workbook with your deleted sheet.
  • Restore the backup file to its original location or download it to your current workspace.
  • Open the restored workbook in Excel to verify that the deleted sheet is back.

Note: Make sure to regularly schedule backups to avoid significant data loss.

Conclusion: Restoring from backups is especially useful when dealing with significant data loss and provides an additional safety net against accidental deletions.

Method 6: Using Third-Party Recovery Software 🖥

  • Sometimes, relying on third-party recovery software offers the best solution to complex data loss issues.
  • Choose a reputable data recovery tool. Some popular options include Stellar Data Recovery, Disk Drill, and Recuva.
  • Download and install the chosen software on your computer.
  • Follow the software’s guided steps for scanning and recovering deleted Excel files or sheets.
  • Once the software completes the recovery process, open the retrieved file in Excel to ensure the sheet is restored.

Note: Be cautious when installing third-party software to avoid potential risks. It’s advisable to read reviews and use reputable sources.

Conclusion: Third-party recovery software can be highly effective, especially for complex data recovery scenarios where in-built Excel features fall short.

Method 7: Reaching Out to IT or Data Recovery Professionals 📞

  • If all else fails, seeking help from IT professionals or data recovery services might be necessary.
  • Contact your organization’s IT department if available, as they might have specialized tools and expertise.
  • Alternatively, look for professional data recovery services. Many companies offer specialized services to recover lost or deleted data.
  • Provide them with details about the incident, such as how the deletion occurred and any steps you’ve already tried.
  • Allow the professionals to handle the recovery process to ensure the best results.

Note: This method might be costlier but can be indispensable when dealing with critical data that must be recovered at all costs.

Conclusion: Professional help ensures a higher chance of successful recovery when internal methods and tools aren’t sufficient.


Precautions and Tips:

Best Practices to Prevent Data Loss 💡

  • Regularly Save Your Work: Frequently save your work to avoid complete loss in case of accidental deletions or system crashes.
  • Enable AutoSave and AutoRecover: Use these built-in Excel features to automatically save your progress and create recovery points.
  • Maintain Routine Backups: Schedule regular backups of your important workbooks to external drives or cloud storage services like OneDrive or Google Drive.
  • Careful with Permissions: Ensure appropriate user permissions to prevent unauthorized deletions and changes to crucial files.
  • Use Reliable Antivirus Software: Keep your system protected from malware that can lead to file corruption or loss.

Optimizing Excel’s Features for Data Safety 💼

  • Version History: Leverage Excel’s version history to restore previous versions of your workbook without hassle.
  • Protect Sheets: Use the ‘Protect Sheets’ feature to restrict actions that could lead to accidental deletions or changes.
  • Integrate with Cloud Storage: Sync your Excel files with cloud storage to add an extra layer of data safety and accessibility.
  • Utilize Macros with Caution: While macros can automate tasks, they should be used carefully to prevent unintended deletions or changes.
  • Regular Software Updates: Keep your Excel software up to date to take advantage of the latest features and security improvements.

Extra Tips

While facing data loss can be daunting, understanding and utilizing various recovery options can make a significant difference. Always consider the importance of the data you are working with and act accordingly to prevent its loss. For instance, using reliable antivirus programs can help mitigate the risk of file corruption due to malicious software. Always ensure your antivirus software is up-to-date and running periodic full system scans. You might find more details on effective antivirus solutions at TechRadar’s best antivirus guide.

Additionally, understanding the role of Excel’s ‘Track Changes’ feature is vital for collaborative projects. This tool allows you to see the changes made by different users and restore earlier versions if something goes wrong. Delve deeper into utilizing ‘Track Changes’ through Microsoft’s official guide here.

Investing in a good UPS (Uninterruptible Power Supply) can also save your progress from power outages, thereby preventing data loss due to unexpected shutdowns. For more insights on selecting the best UPS for personal or professional use, explore DigitalTrends’ UPS battery backup recommendations.

Proactive measures such as these not only safeguard against data loss but also enhance your overall efficiency in working with Excel. Regular training sessions on Excel for all team members can further reinforce these best practices, ensuring everyone is equipped with the knowledge to handle potential data loss scenarios effectively.


In conclusion, knowing how to recover a deleted Excel sheet can be an invaluable skill. By leveraging built-in Excel features such as the Undo function, AutoRecover, and exploring temporary files, you can rescue your valuable data. Additionally, regular backups, using third-party software, or seeking IT professional help when needed can significantly increase the chances of successful recovery. For further reading and tools, you can visit Microsoft Excel’s Official Site and explore more about these features and tips. Avoiding such incidents in the future involves proactive measures, like regular saving, backing up, and securing your system against potential threats. Equip yourself with these strategies to ensure that you never lose valuable data again.


If the Excel file was recently deleted, it may still be in your computer’s Recycle Bin. Open the Recycle Bin, locate the file, right-click, and select Restore.

If you accidentally close an unsaved Excel file, open Excel again, go to File, then Info, and select Manage Workbook to see the AutoRecover files.

Excel’s AutoSave and AutoRecover features might help. Go to File, select Options, then navigate to Save, and locate files in the AutoRecover folder.

If your Excel files are saved on OneDrive, they could be in the online Recycle Bin within OneDrive. Visit OneDrive, and right-click the file to Restore.

Yes, data recovery software like Recuva or Disk Drill can scan your computer for deleted files and help retrieve Excel sheets. Always choose a reputable software source.

Right-click the folder where the Excel file was saved, choose Restore Previous Versions, and select a version to restore the deleted sheet.

Open Excel, go to File, choose Open, select the corrupt file, and then click the drop-down menu next to the Open button to select Open and Repair.

Excel sometimes stores temporary files in its cache. Searching your system’s temporary folder might let you locate and open the latest cache version of the deleted sheet.

If your files are backed up with a cloud service like Google Drive, check the version history to restore the required file.

Utilize backup solutions such as Windows Backup or third-party services to systematically restore deleted files by selecting the latest intact version stored in the backup.