Microsoft Excel is used worldwide majorly for business purposes. It is the simplest tool which helps in maintenance of records, timelines and tasks in a table based format. Most of us have used or currently use the row-column cell based approach of MS Excel in our day to day working. However, an Excel workbook can get as complicated as a mysterious maze if one gets lost. And that is primarily contributed to the high level of sophistication this simple looking software offers in terms of formula computations, macros and VBA code. This article will be focusing on a very important aspect of working with Excel sheets – their corruption and recovery from it.
Detecting Corruption in MS Excel
Sooner or later while working with Excel, one comes across a worksheet in which the cell contents look bizarre. Simple format changes or trying to re-write them doesn’t seem to help and the more we try to fix them, cell contents start looking even weirder. It is at this time when we need to realize that our Excel worksheet has in fact been corrupted. But this is often easier said than done. Detecting where corruption lies in an Excel workbook and what is the cause of it can be as difficult as finding a needle in a haystack. Thankfully, you’ve got us to help you out.
Have a look at the following scenarios which will help you in understanding and detecting Excel corruption better:
- The most obvious sign of corruption of an Excel sheet is if it cannot be opened. If there is some technical issue with an Excel worksheet and it does not open, a good way to access it is to try and open it with another version of MS Office. However, if the worksheet does not open on any other version of MS Office too, be assured that it has suffered corruption.
- The following error messages prove very helpful when trying to detect corruption of an Excel sheet. They usually appear when user tries to open a corrupted Excel sheet:
- "Excel found unreadable content in ‘excelname.xlsx’. Do you want to recover the contents of this workbook? If you trust the source of this workbook, click Yes."
- "We found a problem with some content in ‘excelname.xlsx’. Do you want us to try to recover as much as we can?"
- "Excel cannot open the file ‘excelname.xlsx’ because the file format or file extension is not valid."
- "Can't find project or library. Microsoft Excel is restarting..."
- Multiple custom UI parts were found in the file. Only one part is expected.
- If you’re a regular MS Office user, you don’t need an introduction to AutoRecover. And you know that AutoRecover saves a document every couple of minutes depending upon user settings. So, if your AutoRecover displays a sudden warning while you’re working on an Excel sheet, you can regard that as a sign of Excel corruption.
- Trying to save a corrupted Excel sheet will also give rise to errors like:
"Errors were detected while saving ..."
"Excel was able to minimally save your file to ...."
- Random Excel crash. Though every random Excel crash does not necessarily mean corruption, but Excel does crash randomly when it happens.
Now that you know what to expect when any of these happen, let’s move to the challenging part that is, recovering a corrupted Excel sheet.
Corrupted MS Excel File Recovery
Before we proceed to the actual process, it is important to know and accept a few things:
- Trying to recover an Excel sheet without knowing the actual cause of its corruption could prove futile since it may occur again. Until you repair the cause of problem, you haven’t really repaired anything.
- After being repaired, the Excel sheet may look different. There might be data missing or placed somewhere else. Or the sheet might still be partially damaged.
- Excel file corruption cannot be recovered from every time. There might be instances where recovery fails.
Now, once you’ve understood the above, take a deep breath and try to DO the following:
- When an error pops-up with any of the messages mentioned under point 2 of previous section, click on “No”. This is because auto-repair could lead to deletion of some data or formula from the Excel sheet.
- Close all open Excel workbooks
- Open a backed up copy of the affected worksheet and try to re-fill it with the correct data.
DO NOT attempts the following:
- Over-writing the corrupted excel worksheet with the auto-repaired excel worksheet if you’ve selected to do that in a hurry. Instead save it under a new name
- Try to repair it yourself based on tutorials or YouTube videos
The most recommended solution for repairing a corrupted Excel sheet and recovering data from it is to use a good quality file repair software. Here again, do not try to go for free software since they might prove to be waste of time and effort. Engage a premium file repair software with full features since at a crucial time such as this, your data is of utmost importance.
Our suggestion would be to go with Stellar Phoenix Excel Repair software to repair your corrupt Excel files. It is a very professional software which efficiently repairs even severely damaged Excel worksheets and restores all data to a new Excel sheet. It even preserves the original worksheet’s properties and cell formatting. The software does all of this with the surety of making no modifications to original content, so you can forget your worries about loss of data too.
So in the future, do not let Excel worksheet troubles bother you. If you face corruption of Excel files, use a professional file repair software like Stellar Phoenix Excel Repair to fix your problems.