One of the great things about Excel is the built-in Open and Repair tool for quick Excel fixes when you’re in a pinch. But sometimes even the Open and Repair tool fails you. When that happens, here are a few Excel fixes to try.
Revert the Workbook to its Last Saved Version Before the Corruption
Restart Excel and open the corrupted file. Excel will give you the option of opening a recovered version of the file that was salvaged before the file was corrupted. Choose that option. You might lose some changes you made after the file was corrupted, but at least you still have a working file and don’t have to work from scratch.
Save the Corrupted File as a SYLK File
To try this, start Excel, go to File, and click Save As. In the “Save As” file type field, choose SYLK (Symbolic Link) and click “Save.” Then try opening your file. Why does this work? SYLK files bypass the corrupt parts of your workbook, thereby giving you access to your data again. However, note that this method will only salvage the workbook’s active sheet.
But sometimes you can’t even open the file to begin with, which means you can’t use the Open and Repair tool or either of these fixes. In that situation, you’ll have 2 options.
Set the Calculation Option to Manual
Open a new workbook in Excel. In the “Available Templates” window, click on “Blank Workbook.” Under File, click Options. In the Formulas section, in the Calculations options, choose “Manual.” Then click “OK.” In Excel, now try opening the corrupted file. This time, since you’ve told Excel not to perform calculations on the workbook, it might be able to open your file without the error that ended you up in hot water in the first place.
Open Excel. Under File, click Open. Highlight and copy the corrupted file’s name and click “Cancel.” Then under File, click New. In the Available Templates window, select a blank workbook. In the new workbook, on cell a1, type “=File Name!A1”. In that line of code, the “File Name” denotes the name of the corrupted file.
On the Update Files dialog box, select the corrupted file and click “OK.” In the Select Sheet pop-up box, click the appropriate sheet and click “OK.” Then click on cell A1 again. Select the range of rows and columns the data in the corrupted sheet occupies. Paste the corrupted sheet values.
This method lets you recover the data, but not the values and formulas from the workbook. So you might have to rewrite those formulas. But at least you still have the raw information and don’t have to start from scratch.
Open and Repair is a great tool for troubleshooting Excel, but it’s not foolproof. When Open and Repair lets you down, give these workarounds a try. Your Excel workbook should be back up and running properly before you know it.