How to Recover Deleted or Unsaved Office Excel Files from Windows and Mac

Roxanne updated on Sep 17, 2020 to Data Recovery | How-to Articles


How to recover deleted Excel files? How to retrieve unsaved Excel files? EaseUS data recovery software makes Excel file recovery simple and effective for both Windows and Mac users. No matter you are running Windows or Mac, you can always find a way to undelete your excel files.

Part 1. Restore Deleted Excel Files in Windows 10/8/7 (4 Methods)
Part 2. Retrieve Unsaved Excel in Windows 10/8/7 (2 Solutions)
Part 3. Three Ways to Recover Deleted Excel Files from Mac
Part 4. Two Solutions to Get Back Unsaved Excel from Mac

Microsoft Office Excel, a spreadsheet application, distributed by Microsoft. Its wonderful features make it a very widely applied spreadsheet. From Microsoft Office Excel 2007 for Windows, 2008 for Mac, Office Excel 2009/2010 till now Office Excel 2016, Microsoft really made a great job in updating its Office tools.

When you delete Excel files from the computer and empty the Recycle Bin or Trash Bin, they would disappear from your computer. The Excel contents would not be destroyed immediately. Windows or Mac will mark Excel files for deletion and removes them from the file system database when you delete them. This doesn't mean they are immediately gone, and you still have a chance to undelete Excel files. 

Part 1. Restore Deleted Excel Files in Windows 10/8/7 (4 Methods)

In fact, when you delete a file, Windows will mark the space occupied. Therefore, if you need to recover deleted Excel files, don't save new data to space where you used to store the Excel files so to prevent new data overwriting the deleted Excel files. So, how to recover deleted Excel files? Here are 4 methods on how to recover deleted Excel, follow the details below:

Method 1. Undelete Excel Files from Recycle Bin

If you delete the Excel files on your hard drive, you should go to the recycle bin to restore them. If you delete a file on an external device, this method will not work. 

Step 1. Open "Recycle bin".

Step 2. Right-click the deleted Excel and choose "Restore".

recover deleted windows excel from windows

Method 2. Restore Deleted Excel from the Previous Version

This method is very helpful for users to restore Excel files or documents on partitions, not on the desktop. This method only works when Windows Backup functionality is enabled. How to do it?

Step 1. Locate the folder that used to contain the file. Right-click it and choose "Properties".

recover deleted excel from previous version

Step 2. Open the "Previous Version" tab to list all the previously stored version of the Excel file.

Step 3. Choose the right version and click "Restore" to retrieve the document.

Method 3. Undelete Excel Files Using "Ctrl+Z"

Once you deleted your Excel files, you still can undelete your Excel files by clicking "Ctrl+Z" to undo deleted Excel files. 

Important: After you deleted an Excel file, you should perform no further action on the computer.

You can hit "Ctrl+Z" to undo delete your Excel files, and the files will go back to the computer hard drive location. Also, you can right-click on the panel and click "Undo Delete" option to get your files back.

undo delete using ctrl z

Method 4. Recover Deleted Excel Files with Undelete Software

This method is used to restore permanently deleted Excel files without backups. If you have emptied the recycle bin in Windows 10/8/7 etc, you'll need professional data recovery software to help you. EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard is a powerful disk data recovery software. It undeletes files even if you've emptied the Recycle Bin or format the file. 

  • Supported OS: Windows 10/8.1/8/7/Vista/XP, Windows Server 2003 - 2019.
  • Supported Office Version: Office 2003 - 2019 (Including Word, Excel, and PowerPoint).

Simple steps for Excel file recovery are as follows:

Step 1. Specify a location.

Run EaseUS Data Recovery Software. Choose the drive X: or perhaps a specific folder on Desktop or somewhere else where you lost the excel files, and then click "Scan".

select a location and click scan

Step 2. Scan for data.

During the scan, you'll see more and more data showing up very quickly in the "Deleted files" result. That's part of what the software has found and displayed. To quickly find the Excel files in the massive data in the scan results, click on the "Filter" on the top area and choose "Documents". Or, search .xls or .xlsx in the Search box. 

scan excel files

Step 3. Preview and recover.

You can double click on a file to preview its integrity. Finally, select the desired files and click "Recover".

preview and recover excel files

Also read: Recover Deleted or Unsaved Word Document on Windows 10

Part 2. Retrieve Unsaved Excel in Windows 10/8/7 (2 Solutions)

If you forget to save your Excel files, you can follow the two solutions to restore Excel files in Windows 10/8/7.

Solution 1. Restore Unsaved Excel From Temp File 

Step 1: Follow the temporary file folder location on your PC and find the crashed or unsaved/lost Excel document.

  • For Windows 10/8 users: C:\Users\username\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Office\UnsavedFiles
  • For Windows 7 users: C:\Users\username\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Excel\ 

Step 2: Check and select the temporary unsaved Excel file in which the program crashes, then copy and save it as a new file.

recover excel from temp files

Solution 2. Get Back Unsaved Excel From AutoRecover

Make sure that you have turned on the AutoRecover feature in Excel and then you can recover data.

Step 1: Open a new Excel file.

Step 2: Click "File" > "Open" > "Recent" option.

Step 3: Then check the recently used Excel document and find the unsaved file.

Step 4: Click "Recover Unsaved Workbooks" and wait.

recover unsaved excel from autorecover

Step 5: You can open the Excel file and click "Save AS" to store the Excel as a new file to a safe location on your PC.

Part 3. Three Ways to Recover Deleted Excel Files from Mac

What if you deleted Excel files from Mac? How to recover deleted Excel files from Mac? You can get back deleted Mac files by following the methods below:

Method 1. Restore Excel from Mac Trash

The Trash on Mac is where files stored after being deleted from the Mac system. If you move an item to the Trash Bin, you can recover your deleted files or folder using one of the three options below:

  • Open "Trash" > drag the items out
  • Go to "Trash" > select the items > click "File" > choose "Put Back" 
  • Open "Trash" > choose the items > tap "Edit" > choose "Copy [filename]" > paste the items to elsewhere

Method 2. Recover Lost Excel from  Mac Backup

If you have turned on Time Machine and made a backup plan for backing up Excel files on your Mac, you can follow the next steps to recover lost Excel files with Time Machine:

Step 1. Enter "Time Machine"

Step 2. Select the file or folder you want to restore, then select an older version of the file or folder.

Step 3. Press the "Space" bar to preview and see whether it's the one you want.

Step 4. Click "Restore" to restore the selected Excel files.

recover mac deleted files from time machine backup

Method 3. Recover Permanently Deleted Mac Excel Files Using Software

If your Word, Excel or PPT got lost permanently from your Mac resulted from mistaken deletion, disk formatting, virus attack, partition loss, etc., you can use third-party software to recover the files. And EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard for Mac is one of the top best Mac data recovery software worthy of trying. With this tool, you can recover Mac deleted files from memory card, USB drive, internal/external hard drive, and more. Follow the video to get back lost Office files from Mac:

Part 4. Two Solutions to Get Back Unsaved Excel from Mac

Two ways are listed below to recover the unsaved Excel files on Mac. We also offer online tutorials on how to recover unsaved or lost Word documents on Mac, check it if you need. 

Also read: How to Recover Unsaved Word Document on Mac

Solution 1. Recover Unsaved Excel File from the Temporary Folder

If you forget to save your Excel files on Mac, you can follow this method to bring back lost Excel files:

Step 1. Go to "Applications" > "Utilities" > "Terminal".

recover unsaved mac excel files

Step 2. Type open $TMPDIR and press "Return" to open the Temporary files folder. Select the folder named "TemporaryItems". Then, find the unsaved Excel file under "TemporaryItems" and restore it. 

restore mac excel -2

Solution 2. Restore Unsaved Mac Excel File from AutoSave

AutoSave automatically saves a new Excel document that has been created but not saved yet. While AutoRecover can help users retrieve unsaved Excel files on Mac. If the two options are enabled, you can retrieve unsaved files on Mac in Excel 2010 - 2016. 

Step 1. Go to "Applications" >" Utilities" > "Terminal". 

Type defaults write AppleShowAllFiles true into Terminal and hit "Return" to make all the items visible.

Step 2. Click "Finder" > press "Return" on your Mac.

Type /Users/username/Library/Containers/ and click "Go" to open Excel's AutoRecovery folder.

restore unsaved mac excel using autosave

Step 3. Find the unsaved Excel files. Then recover them to another safe location on Mac. 

restor unsaved excel using autosave-2


After reading, you must have known how to recover deleted Excel files in different situations and different devices. Also, if you forget to save Excel files, you can also try the solutions above to get back the unsaved Excel files. If you are looking for ways to undelete Word, we can also do you a favor. By the way, take a regular backup of your 2016, 2013, 2010, 2007 & 2003 Excel files so that you can restore them, even you are faced with system crash or permanent deletion of the files. 

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Frequently Asked Questions

1. Why choose EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard?

"EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard is the best we've seen. It's far from perfect, partly because today's advanced disk technology makes data-recovery more difficult than it was with the simpler technology of the past, but it's fast and efficient..."PCMag

"The first thing you'll notice about EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard Pro is that its interface is very clear and uncluttered, with only a small collection of self-explanatory controls. You won't find lots of extra options hidden in a system of hidden menus, either; what you see really is what you get."techradar

"Recover lost files, even after deleting a partition or formatting your drive."Macworld

2. Why cannot I recover 2GB data for free?

It is recommended to check the version installed is Free or Trial because they are different versions.

Trial has data preview function but cannot save any files, while the Free version enables to recover 2 GB files. The default free space is 500 MB and you may share the product on social media to get another 1.5 GB.

3. Why cannot the recovered files be opened?

A file is saved as 2 parts on the storage device: directory info (which is comprised by file name, time stamp and size info, etc.) and data content.

If the files with original file names and folder structures cannot be opened, one possible reason is the corrupted directory info. There is still a chance to recover the data content with the RAW Recovery method in our software.

4. Why isn't it suggested to recover the files back to the original drive?

The storage structure of the lost files would be altered or damaged by any changes on the drive. If you save the recovered files back to the same drive, the original data structures and data content would be corrupted or overwritten, which causes permanent data loss. So you should prepare another disk to save the files.

5. How can I check whether my data is recoverable or not before purchase?

The Free version helps you save 2GB files to better verify the recovery quality of our product before purchase.

6. How long does it take to scan the drive?

It strongly depends on the capacity of your hard drive and the performance of your computer. As reference,most drive recoveries can be completed in around 10 to 12 hours for a 1-TB healthy hard drive in general conditions.

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