How to Repair Corrupted Workbook?

Summary: Corruption in an Excel workbook could lead to data loss. This blog outlines the possible reasons behind corrupted workbook and describes how to repair the workbook manually and using an Excel repair tool.


How to Repair Corrupted Workbook?

Is your Excel behaving differently, for instance, stops responding or freezes? Or have you encountered a warning or an error message indicating corruption in the Excel workbook?

corruption in excel file

Figure 1 – Corruption Warning in Excel: The corrupt workbook cannot be opened or repaired

Excel file corruption message

Figure 2 – Excel File Corruption Message

In any of these situations, you won’t be able to open your Excel workbook.

TIP! If you’re unable to open an Excel workbook, it does not necessarily mean that the workbook is corrupt. Try a few workarounds to resolve the issue, like disabling the ‘Protected View Settings’, disabling add-ins, or moving the workbook to another drive.

You will need to repair the corrupted Excel workbook to make it usable. Before discussing the repair methods, let’s first look at the possible reasons behind file corruption.

To jump to methods to repair the workbook, click here.

Possible Reasons behind Corrupted Excel Workbook

  • Large size of a workbook: A workbook containing lots of information or objects like images, shaded cells, or other visual representations is prone to corruption.
  • Unexpected system shutdown or power loss: If you haven’t saved your Excel file, abrupt system shutdown or power failure can corrupt the data and render the file inaccessible.
  • Bad sectors on storage media: Accumulation of bad sectors on storage media on which Excel files are saved is another reason that may lead to Excel file corruption.

Other common reasons causing Excel file corruption are virus attack, network errors, etc.

Methods to Repair Corrupted Excel Workbook

Note: Repairing the corrupt workbook may result in data loss. And so, it’s recommended to back up the workbook before attempting to repair the file.

Method 1 – Repair the Excel Workbook Manually  

Use the Excel ‘Open and Repair’ feature to repair your corrupt workbook manually. Here’s how:

Step 1: In Excel, click the File tab and then click Open.

Step 2: Select the corrupt Excel file, click the arrow button next to the Open button and then select Open and Repair.

Excel Open and Repair Feature

Figure 3 – Excel Open and Repair Feature

Step 3: In Microsoft Excel dialog box that opens, click Repair to begin repairing your corrupt workbook.

Repair the Microsoft Excel File

Figure 4 – Repair the Microsoft Excel File

Note: If the Excel repair process fails, repeat Steps 1 till 3 and click the ‘Extract Data’ button. This will help you extract values and formulas from the corrupted workbook.

Performing these steps will repair your Excel file. If the issue persists, skip to the next method.

Method 2 – Use Excel File Repair Software

If the above method failed to fix corruption in the workbook, use Excel file repair software to repair your workbook quickly. This Excel repair tool is purpose-built to help users repair large-sized Excel files (.xlsx and .xls) in just a few clicks. Also, it helps recover all the data from the corrupted workbook while preserving the cell formatting and worksheet properties. 

Steps to Repair Corrupt Excel File Using the Software

Step 1: Download, install, and open Stellar Repair for Excel software.

free download

Step 2: Click Browse to select your corrupted .xlsx or .xls file. If you are not aware of the file location, click Search to locate and select the file.

Select Corrupt Excel Workbook

Figure 5 – Select Corrupt Excel Workbook

Step 3: Once the file is selected, click Repair.

Step 4: A preview of recoverable workbook data gets displayed.

Preview of Recoverable Excel Workbook Data

Figure 6 – Preview of Recoverable Excel Workbook Data

Note: You will need to activate the licensed version of Stellar Repair for Excel software for saving the repaired file. Once activated, proceed with the steps below to save the repaired file.

Step 5: Click Save File on the File menu. This will open a Save File dialog box with options to save the repaired .xlsx/.xls file at default or new location. After choosing the appropriate option, click OK.

Save Repaired Excel File

Figure 7 – Save Repaired Excel File

The repaired file will get saved at the selected location.

Key Features of Stellar Repair for Excel Software
  • Repairs severely corrupt Excel file and recovers pivots, pivot tables, conditional formatting rules, chart, chart sheets, etc.
  • Can repair multiple Excel files in a batch simultaneously
  • Can handle all types of Excel file corruption errors, like “Excel found unreadable content in filename.xls”, “Excel cannot open the file filename.xlsx”, etc.
  • Supports repairing corrupt workbooks of Excel 2019, 2016, 2013, 2007, 2003, and lower versions.

End Note

If your Excel workbook has turned corrupt, try using the methods discussed in this blog to repair the workbook. Once it is repaired, you must follow preventive measures to avoid your Excel file from getting corrupt. Some of these measures are as follows:

  • Turn on the ‘AutoRecover’ and ‘AutoSave’ features in Excel

Read also Best Excel File Recovery Tools

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