Repair Excel File – Learn Few Easy Manual Tricks Here

Is your Excel spreadsheet is inaccessible due to corruption? Are you feeling helpless? Since the Excel spreadsheets are prone to corruption, you may lose your crucial data at any time. You should try your best to protect your data from being lost due to corruption. After reading this article, you’ll be able to repair Excel file manually, i.e. without using any 3rd party tool. Even you don’t need any expert’s help.

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Microsoft Excel РAn Overview 

Microsoft Excel is a popular electronic spreadsheet application, available in the Microsoft Office suite. Also, it comes as a separate application. The Excel program creates tables in spreadsheets where you can store, organize, and manipulate a large amount of data. Generally, a spreadsheet file represents the tables in which data and information are stored in multiple rows and columns. All the rows and columns of a table in a spreadsheet can be easily manipulated by using basic and complex arithmetic operations and functions. Additionally, it supports programming feature via Microsoft Visual Basic for Applications (VBA).

Microsoft Excel is commonly used for individual as well as business or organizational purpose. As an individual, we use Excel for record keeping and storing contacts (which is now an old trend). But in businesses and organizations, Excel tool is mainly used for business analysis which includes data analysis as it has financial and statistical functions, data storage in a systematic way, creation of charts for business presentation, creation of invoices, timesheet, trackers, etc.

Users might also be interested in Repair Word Document by using 4 Easy Manual Tricks

Microsoft Excel File Types

XLSX is the new file extension used for Microsoft Excel spreadsheet to store data and information. Excel 2003 and its earlier versions use XLS, while Excel 2007 and later versions use XLSX as the default format. Also, it supports XLS format. Due to its backward compatibility feature, you can open an XLSX file in the earlier versions of MS Excel via Open XML component support. An XLSX file contains rows (arranged in a grid of rows and columns), charts, mathematical functions, styles, and formatting.

Corrupt Excel File

As no computer file is immune to corruption, so is the Excel spreadsheet. Sometimes while working on an Excel spreadsheet, you may receive an error message reporting corruption. There are many reasons which can cause corruption in Excel spreadsheet, such as virus attackbugs infection, unexpected system shutdown, software malfunction, storage media failure, etc.

corrupt Excel file

Common Error Messages 

I’ve listed a few common error messages below which you may receive while opening a corrupt Excel file:

  • Excel can’t open the file abc.xlsx because the file format or file extension is not valid. 
  • The file is corrupt and can’t be opened. 
  • File error: Data may have been lost. 
  • Excel found unreadable content in filename.xlsx. 
  • Unable to read the file.

Have you ever received any of these error messages before? Do you remember how you resolved the error? Receiving error messages simply means the Excel file is corrupt. If you don’t do anything in time, you may lose your crucial data and information forever. There are a few highly useful tips & tricks which effectively work with your corrupt Excel file. So before you can purchase any Excel Recovery software, you must try them.

Microsoft Office users can also refer to Repair PowerPoint Presentations with Easy Manual Tricks

Useful Tips & Tricks to Repair Excel File

Method #1: Open and Repair

One of the easiest and quickest ways to repair Excel file is Open and Repair. It’s a built-in repair feature in Microsoft Excel program to repair Excel file and make it accessible. Follow these simple steps:

Step 1: First, launch Microsoft Excel on your system.

Open and Repair in Excel

Step 2: Click the File tab > Open. Or press Ctrl+O.

Open and Repair in Excel

Step 3: Locate the corrupt Excel file and select it.

Open and Repair in Excel

Click the drop-down arrow shown beside the Open button. Click Open and Repair…

Step 4: Before Microsoft Excel can attempt to repair the file and open it, you need to select the action:

Open and Repair in Excel

Click Repair to recover as much as possible data. Also, you can click Extract Data if Excel was previously unable to repair the workbook.

Step 5: Within a few seconds, the file will be repaired.


Click Close to exit.

It hardly takes a couple of seconds to repair Excel file, and the file will be opened without having any issue. But this solution may fail in severe corruption. If the Excel file contains a very crucial chart, but you can’t open the file due to corruption, you can try a manual solution to extract the source data of the chart.

Method #2: Data Extraction

By using a macro, you can easily extract data from the corrupt spreadsheet. Follow these simple steps:

Step 1: In a module sheet, you need to enter the following macro code.


Step 2: Now insert a new worksheet in your workbook and rename it ChartData.

This time you need to select the chart from which you want to extract the underlying data values.

Step 3: Now run the GetChartValues97 macro.

Method #3: Using the SYLK (Symbolic) format

There is one more manual solution to repair Excel file. You can convert your corrupt Excel file into SYLK or symbolic link format to recover data from it. This solution is highly recommended by Microsoft to filter out the corrupt elements from the Excel workbook. This solution is very helpful if corruption takes place due to printer fault or any printing problem. Follow these simple steps:

Step 1: Open Microsoft Excel on your system. Click the File tab > Save As.

Step 2: Click the arrow shown next to Save as type box. Select SYLK (Symbolic Link) (*.slk) from the list.

Step 3: Type a new name for this active worksheet and click Save button.

Important note 

If the workbook contains only one sheet, you have no need to give a new name for it, i.e. the above step is unnecessary.

You will receive a message shown below.


As you want to save only the active sheet, you need to click OK.

Again you will receive a new message shown below.


Click Yes.

Step 1: Now click the File tab on the main menu, and click Exit.

Note: If you receive a message that asks you to save the changes that you made, click Yes.

Step 3: Now open Microsoft Excel on your system.

Step 4: Click the File tab in the main menu > Open. Or press Ctrl + O button.

Step 5: Now locate the “Filename.slk” file you saved earlier and select it. Click the Open button.

Step 6: This will open the Excel file. To see the .slk file, you may need to click All Files or SYLK Files in the Files of type list.

Step 7: Again click the File tab. And then click Save As.

Step 8: On the Save as type box, select Excel Workbook.

Step 9: On the File name box, type a new name for the workbook to create a copy without replacing the original workbook. Then click Save.

Important note

The SYLK (Symbolic Link) format saves only the active worksheet in the workbook, make sure you open the corrupted workbook repeatedly and save each worksheet separately.

You may also try to open a corrupt Excel file in other programs, like WordPad, Microsoft Word, and Calc. If you can open the corrupt Excel file in MS Word or WordPad, you can restore your important data excluding the formulas. MS Word or WordPad can convert an Excel file’s content into text, and then you can easily recover them. Or, you can try to open the file in OpenOffice Calc. It can open a corrupt Excel file if possible.

Professional Solution to Repair Excel File 

If none of the above tricks work for you, switch to a professional solution to repair Excel file. I would recommend you Excel Recovery Software here, programmed for handling major corruption issues which you can’t fix manually. With this software, you can successfully fix corruption and recovers all standard cells’ properties and other crucial data items, such as graphs, tables, Unicode character, formulae, images, text formatting, notes, etc. It supports both XLS and XLSX files created by all major versions of Microsoft Excel including the latest 2016.

Important note for Excel users

If you’re an Excel user and you want to import all the contacts from an Excel spreadsheet to vCard format, you can try an easy manual trick. Refer to this article for some useful information – An Insanely Easy Way to Convert Excel to vCard Format

Watch the online video tutorial below

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