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What Are Effective Ways to Solve Excel 2016 Not Saving Changes

Why is Excel not saving changes? You can solve Excel not saving changes by repairing corrupted Excel files, starting Excel in safe mode, changing ownership, repairing Office installation, and more.

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You add new data, formulas, and formatting on your worksheet, then hit File and Save As to keep the changes. But when you bring up the file later to find that your changes are gone and not saved. What an annoying thing it is!

Sometimes, you may face the problem that Microsoft Excel not saving changes or Excel not saving formatting changes on existing. Although Excel has an AutoSave (how to turn on Excel AutoSave) function that will automatically store your workbook as you edit it, it doesn't work in this case where you've saved the files on one's own initiative.

The reasons behind Excel's not saving changes problem are diverse. Read on and know why is Excel not saving formatting, and how to troubleshoot.

Why Is Excel Not Saving Changes (Formatting, Data, and Formula)

Do you have any idea why Excel 2016 not saving changes? The following information can help you identify possible causes of this issue.

  • Lack of permission to the folder where the file is saved.
  • Third-party Add-ins are interfering with Excel saving.
  • Excel XLS or XLSX file is corrupted due to uncertain factors.
  • Insufficient disk space for saving Excel changes.
  • Antivirus software conflicts with Excel and prevents saving changes.

Now that you've understood the causes of the Excel not saving changes problem, let's begin to address it.

Fix 1. Repair Corrupted Excel XLS or XLSX File

At the very beginning of problem-solving, you should first check whether your workbook is intact. If the Excel document workbook is damaged, of course, it cannot save the changes.

To repair corrupted Excel documents, you have two ways to make it.

Use a File Repair Tool

To repair damaged Excel, Word, or PTT Office documents, you can apply EaseUS Fixo File Repair for help. It supports repairing corrupted PDFs, PowerPoint files, and Word documents efficiently. Follow the steps below to repair Excel files within three steps.

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Step 1. Download and launch Fixo on your PC or laptop. Choose "File Repair" to repair corrupted Office documents, including Word, Excel, PDF, and others. Click "Add Files" to select corrupted documents.

add files to repair documents with Fixo

Step 2. To repair multiple files at once, click the "Repair All" button. If you want to repair a single document, move your pointer to the target file and choose "Repair". You can also preview the documents by clicking the eye icon.

select documents to repair

Step 3. Click "Save" to save a selected document. Select "Save All" to save all the repaired files. Choose "View Repaired" to locate the repaired folder.

save repaired documents in Fixo

Use Office Open or Repair Option

Microsoft Office offers an inbuilt Open or Repair tool to fix corrupted documents.

Step 1. Start Excel 2016, 2013, 2010, or other versions.

Step 2. Click "File" at the top left corner, then, click "Open".

Step 3. In the Open dialog box, choose the Excel file that cannot be saved.

Step 4. Click the down arrow on the "Open" button, and then click "Open and Repair".

repair corrupted Excel files

Fix 2. Check the Folder Permission

When you want to save an Excel file, you need to have the read, write, and modify permissions to the folder in which you are going to save the workbook.

You can right-click the folder, choose "Properties" > click the "Security" tab. Check the permission for the folder.

check folder permission

If the read and write permission are denied, the Excel saving process can't be completed. And you need to take the ownership to edit and save the file.

Fix 3. Start Excel in Safe Mode

Sometimes, plug-ins are the source of the problem. If you can save Excel formatting when you run Excel in safe mode, the problem may be caused by a third-party add-in.

Start your application in safe mode and see if Excel not saving changes problem has gone away.

Hold the Ctrl key and click on the Excel icon. Don't release the Ctrl key till it asks you for safe mode confirmation. Click "Yes" to open Excel in safe mode.

run excel safe mode

If you can save Excel formatting changes, then open Excel normally and disable add-ins one by one and run it start again every time you disable an add-in to determine the culprit add-in.

Fix 4. Disable Add-ins in Excel

Step 1. Open Excel. Click "File" > "Options" > "Add-ins".

Step 2. Select "COM Add-ins", and click "Go".

Step 3. Uncheck all the add-ins in the list, and click "OK". Then restart Excel.

disable add-ins in excel

Fix 5. Make Sure Enough Space on Disk

When you save Excel to a hard disk or an external storage drive, you must make sure that the disk has sufficient free space to allow you to save the file. If the hard disk does not have sufficient space, Excel cannot complete the save operation, and you receive Excel not saving changes error message.

You can use an easy Windows 10 partition management tool to help you resize and extend the partition. EaseUS Partition Master allows you to extend the partition on HDD, SSD, and external hard drive without data loss.

Simple steps to increase space on a hard drive partition with EaseUS partitioning software.

Step 1. Locate the Target Partition.

Go to Partition Manager, locate the target partition and select "Resize/Move".

Select target partition to extend

Step 2. Extend the Target Partition.

Drag the partition panel rightward or leftward to add the unallocated space into your current partition and click "OK" to confirm.

choose another drive to allocate space

Extra Option: Get Space from Another Drive

If there is not enough unallocated space on your disk, right-click on a big partition with enough free space, select "Allocate space".

Then select the target partition that you want to extend at the allocate space to column.

choose another drive to allocate space

Step 3. Execute Operations to Extend Partition.

Drag the dots of the target partition into the unallocated space and click "OK".

finish extending partition

Then Click the "Execute Task" button and click "Apply" to keep all the changes. 

Fix 6. Repairing Office Installation

Microsoft has a repair utility to repair corrupted Office applications that may cause Excel not saving changes.

You can first try Quick Repair which takes a few mins. If that doesn't help then try Online Repair to fix corrupted installation that may take dozens of minutes in general.

Step 1. Right-click the Windows start button, and click "Control Panel".

Step 2. Click "Programs and Features" and click on "Microsoft Office".

Step 3. Click "Repair" > "Continue". Choose "Quick Repair" or "Online Repair". Wait for the process to finish and start Excel and see if you can save it

repair office installation

Fix 7. Deactivate the Antivirus Software Temporarily

When the antivirus software is running and protecting your computer, it may interrupt the Excel saving process and stop you from keeping formatting or data changes.  

To check whether your antivirus software conflicts with Excel, you can temporarily close the antivirus software, and then try to save the Excel file. However, Microsoft does not recommend that users turn off anti-virus software, because it makes your computer vulnerable to viruses or malware. Therefore, once the problem is figured out, you need to open the anti-virus software in time.  

Other Useful Workarounds to Save Excel Workbooks

If none of the solutions that are listed in this article helps to solve the Excel not saving changes, or Excel not saving formatting changes problem, try the following options to save your Excel files.

  • Use the Save AS feature to save Excel by using a new file name.
  • Move the original worksheets to a new workbook.
  • Save the file as a different Excel file type, such as change .xls to .xlsx or convert .xlsx to .xls.
  • Save the workbook to a different location.
  • Try to save the Excel files in safe mode.

To Sum Up

That's it. We have tried out best to cover all the useful information about Excel 2016 or other Excel versions not saving changes issue. The reasons for this problem are restricted file permission, third-party Add-ins, not enough storage space, file damage, and conflicting antivirus software.

To solve Excel cannot save matter, you can take corresponding measures to solve Excel not saving changes. For example, check folder permission, disable add-ins, extend the disk space, turn off antivirus software, as well as repair corrupted Excel files with a file repair tool.

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If the methods don't work, and your Excel still not saving formatting changes, take the several tips to save Excel files in other ways.

Hope this user guide can help you.

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Updated by Dany

Dany is an editor of EaseUS who lives and works in Chengdu, China. She focuses on writing articles about data recovery on Mac devices and PCs. She is devoted to improving her writing skills and enriching her professional knowledge. Dany also enjoys reading detective novels in her spare time.

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Written by Cedric

Cedric Grantham is a senior editor and data recovery specialist of EaseUS. He mainly writes articles and how-to tips about data recovery on PC and Mac. He has handled 10,000+ data recovery cases and is good at data recovery of NTFS, FAT (FAT32 and ExFAT) file systems, and RAID structure reorganization.

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