Data Disappears in Excel – How to get it back

Summary: You may face the issue of ‘Excel spreadsheet data disappeared’ after changing Excel file properties and formatting rows and columns. This blog discusses the possible reasons for data disappearance and the solutions to fix the issue. Also, it mentions an Excel file repair tool to retrieve the data from the file. Sometimes, while editing or formatting a cell in an Excel spreadsheet, the data may go missing or disappear. Let’s discuss in detail the reasons that may cause the ‘Excel data disappeared’ issue along with the solutions.

Data Disappears in Excel – How to get it back

Probable Reasons of Data Disappearing in MS Excel and Solutions Thereof

Reason 1 – Unsaved Data

While entering data in an Excel spreadsheet, it is important to save the data at frequent intervals. Doing so prevents any unsaved data from disappearing if you lose power or accidentally click ‘No’ when prompted to save the file. Unfortunately, such a situation is quite common as users often close the file without saving the recently made changes to a spreadsheet.

Solution – Use the ‘AutoSave’ Feature

With the AutoSave feature enabled in Excel, data won’t be lost in the event of power failure or abruptly closing the Excel program. By default, Excel automatically saves the information in a spreadsheet after every 10 minutes. You can reduce the limit to a few seconds to reduce the chances of Excel file data lost after being saved.

Change excel autosave internal

Reason 2 – Changing Excel Format

You can save an Excel file in various formats, like spreadsheet, text, webpage, and more. However, at times, saving the spreadsheet in a different format may lead to missing data. For example, when you save a workbook to a text file format, all formulas and calculations applied to the data will be lost.

Solution – Adjust a Spreadsheet for the Changed Format 

If you’re changing the format of a spreadsheet, make space for the rows and columns. Also, remove all calculations before saving the file.

Note: If the sheet is shared on multiple computers, then save the file in compatibility mode.

Reason 3 – Merging Cells

You can combine two or more cells data to make one large cell. This technique is primarily used to fit the text of a title in a sheet. If there is data in two or more cells, then only the data in the top-left cell is displayed and the data in all other cells is deleted. If the other merged cells have been populated with data after merging, the data is not featured and it does not appear even after remerging the cells.

Solution – Merge Cells inside One Column

To merge cells without data loss, combine all the cells you want to merge within a column and do the following:

  • Select the cells to be combined.
  • Ensure that column width is wide enough to fit the contents of a cell.
  • In the spreadsheet, under the Editing group, click ‘Fill,’ and then click ‘Justify.’
  • Under Alignment, click on the ‘Merge & Center’ option to center align the text. Or, click on ‘Merge Cells’.

Note: This solution works for text only. You cannot use it to merge formulas or any numerical values. If you need to combine two or more cells with formula into a single cell, try using the Excel CONCAT function.

Reason 4 – Cell Formatting

Cells and text in the cells can be displayed in different colors to make the spreadsheet simple to create and infer. You may experience data loss when you try to modify the data or change the color or size of the data. Though the information may exist, the data may show an error due to the following reasons:  

  • White-colored text will not show in a white-colored cell
  • Large font-sized data may not appear in small-sized cell
  • Calculations may show (#VALUE) error after cell-formatting

Solution – Check and Clear Formatting

Make sure to use dark-colored text on a white-colored cell. Also, resize the cell to fit the text size. Check if numbers in a cell are entered as text. If so, you need to apply a number format to the text-formatted numbers. Read more about it, from here.

What Else You Can Do to Resolve the ‘Excel Data Disappeared’ Issue?

If you can’t recover the missing Excel file data, try to repair or extract the data from the file using the built-in Excel repair tool. Follow the below steps to use the tool:

  • Open MS Excel, click File > Open > Computer > Browse.
  • On the ‘Open’ window, select the file you want to repair and then click on the Open dropdown.
  • Select Open and Repair.
Open and repair

Use the ‘Repair’ option to repair the file and recover as much data as you can from the repaired file. If this doesn’t work, use the ‘Extract’ option to recover the data.

If you fail to retrieve the disappeared data from that file using the above-listed steps, opt for an Excel repair tool, like Stellar Repair for Excel. This software has a proven track record of repairing corrupt or damaged Excel files and recover all the data.

free download

The software helps:

  • Fix all corruption errors. It helps in getting back the data which has disappeared.
  • Repair a single as well as multiple Excel files.
  • Recover all components of XLS/XLSX files – tables, chart sheet, cell comment, image and more.
  • Preserve the worksheet properties and cell formatting.
  • Support the latest Excel 2019 and earlier versions.

The Excel repair software repairs the Excel file in these simple steps:

  • Launch and open the software.
  • Select the corrupt Excel file by using the ‘Browse’ option. If the file location is not available, then find the Excel file using the ‘Search’ option.
Browse and Search
  • Click ‘Repair’ to scan the corrupt file.
Scan corrupt file
  • Once the repair process is complete, verify the components of Excel file and check if the available preview shows complete data that disappeared from Excel.
Disappeared from excel
  • Save file at default location or preferred location.
Default location

The Excel file with all the restored data will be saved at the selected location.


It is better to repair the affected Excel file than suffer the loss when data or text disappears in Excel. A professional software ensures that users get back all the data in the form of a new Excel file. Stellar Repair for Excel software repairs the corrupt file without modifying the original content and file format. The software’s easy-to-use user interface lets you perform the functions without formal software training and technical expertise.

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