Solved : ‘Open and Repair’ Doesn’t Work in Excel

Updated on December 15th, 2020

Alexis Llontop

Summary: In this Blog, we will go through Microsoft office most important product i.e Microsoft excel, let’s get into all possible Manual and an alternate method to deal with MS Excel open and Repair doesn’t work issue, read on to know more.

Whether you are a student or an entrepreneur, the features of Microsoft Excel do not delude anyone. Setting goals, creating budgets, analyzing data, calculating salaries, is there anything that Excel can’t do? All of us have used it and trusted it to calculate and provide a solution to our most difficult problems. However, like every other software application, this otherwise reliable application can sometimes fall prey to unexpected errors which can even threaten to make our critical data inaccessible.

Open and Repair doesn’t work

A good idea to avoid loss of data when a Microsoft Excel file becomes corrupt is to take some proactive measures, such as saving a backup copy of your files and creating an automatic recovery file at periodic intervals. If you are faced with a corrupted Excel file, you know you can still use the ‘Open and Repair’ function provided by Microsoft to fix and open corrupt Excel file. However, what should a user do when ‘Open and Repair’ is not working? This is a query shared by millions of Excel users worldwide. Sometimes, the ‘Open and Repair’ functionality of Excel stops working due to unknown reasons. In such cases, if users face Excel file corruption, they get stuck with no idea how to fix the Excel file.

Manual method “Reference”

In this guide, we’re providing you with the solutions to this very problem. If Excel ‘Open and Repair’ is not working, read on to find out the procedures that you can perform to open corrupted files.

‘Open and Repair’ doesn’t work: Try an alternative solution i.e. Stellar Repair for Excel to recover everything from corrupt Excel files.

How to Fix Excel file that Won’t Open

If your workbook is opening in Excel, there are two options to recover its data. It would be best if you try to perform one, and if you are unsuccessful, move on to the next.

Revert the workbook to the version that was saved before the corruption

  • Launch Excel and click File -> Open
  • Select the file that is corrupted and open it
  • Click ‘Yes’ to save the copy of the workbook that was saved before corruption

Important Note: If you use this method, you will lose all changes made to the file after it was corrupted.

Save the workbook in the SYLK file format

  • Launch Excel and click File -> Save As.
  • In the Save as Type field, select SYLK (Symbolic Link) from the drop-down menu, and click Save.
  • To save only the active sheet in the workbook, click OK. The system will display a message that the sheet has features that are not compatible with the SYLK file format.
  • Click Yes.
  • In Excel click File -> Open.
  • Select the file that you saved in SYLK file format and open it.
  • In Excel click File -> Save As.
  • In the Save as Type field, select Excel Workbook from the drop-down menu.
  • In the File Name field, type a new name for your workbook and click Save.

The SYLK file format will filter out the corrupted elements from your workbook, thereby restoring your data.

Important Note: Using this method you only be able to salvage the active sheet in the workbook.

How to Open/Fix an Excel file that cannot be opened

In this case too, there are two options to recover the data. Try to perform one, and if you are unsuccessful, move on to the next.

Set the calculation option to Manual

  • Launch Excel and click File -> New.
  • From the Available Templates window, select Blank workbook.
  • Click File -> Options.
  • Under Formulas, in the Calculation options section, click Manual.
  • Click OK.
  • In Excel click File -> Open.
  • Select the corrupted file and open it.

The system opens the corrupted file. Since the workbook won’t be calculated, it might open.

  • Launch Excel and click File -> Open.
  • Copy the name of the corrupted file and click Cancel.
  • In Excel click File -> New.
  • From the Available Templates window, select Blank workbook.
  • In the new workbook, on cell A1, type the following:

=File Name!A1

In the above command, the filename is the name of the corrupted file.

  • On the Update Values dialog box, select the corrupted file and click OK.
  • On the Select Sheet dialog box, select the sheet and click OK.
  • Select cell A1. Select the same range of rows and columns as occupied by the data in the corrupted sheet, including cell A1.
  • Under the Home tab, in the Clipboard section, click Paste.
  • While the range of rows and columns are still selected, click Copy.
  • Click the Paste
  • Under Paste Values, click Values.

Note: This method lets you recover only the data but not the values and formulas from the workbook.

Alternative Solution

In addition to the above-mentioned techniques, you can also use macros to extract data from a corrupted workbook. However, macros are generally risky, and executing them needs prior technical knowledge.

Thus, if the above methods do not yield the desired results, a quick and easy way for reconstructing Excel files is to use Excel Recovery Software. Stellar Repair for MS SQL software is the best choice for rebuilding damaged Excel files and restoring everything to a new Excel file. The product lets you recover table, chart, chart-sheet, cell comment, image, formula, sort and filter data from damaged workbooks and also allows you to fix multiple files at one go.

Excel repair download

Wrapping it up

Though one of the above-mentioned techniques should recover Excel file if ‘Open and Repair’ utility doesn’t work, in case you’ve reached nowhere even after using them, contact Microsoft support for more help.

About The Author

Jyoti Prakash

Problem solver and Data recovery specialist. Usually share informative articles on data recovery, database corruption and ways to recover lost data. 

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    1. Thanks for sharing your valuable opinion with us. This reference will help other excel users a lot.

  1. I had a corrupt excel file so I downloaded the stellar demo version, I chose a file to repair and scanned it but it shows only preview in a demo version.

    How do I unlock all the features of this software?

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