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Recovering Data From a Previous Version of an Excel Spreadsheet

May 29, 2024

You’ve accidentally made changes to an Excel spreadsheet, and you want to roll them back. Good news: It’s not an especially difficult task. 

Newer versions of Microsoft’s Excel software include a Version History feature, which you can use to restore older versions of your spreadsheet. The exact process will vary depending on your version of Excel — and, potentially, the circumstances of the data loss scenario. 

Here’s what you need to know to restore your Excel spreadsheets following an accidental change.

Microsoft Office 2016 – 2021: Using the File History

If you’ve made a change to the spreadsheet without renaming or replacing the file itself, you can restore an earlier version within Microsoft Excel.

  1. Open the Excel spreadsheet.
  2. Select File, then History.
  3. Select a version of the file to open in another window.

From here, you can restore the previous version of the file. You can also save it separately (recommended if you’ve made changes to the newer version that you’d like to keep or reintroduce to the older spreadsheet).

Restoring Data from a Deleted or Replaced Spreadsheet File

What if you’ve accidentally copied an old version of a spreadsheet to a folder that contained the newer version? 

In this case, the Version History will probably be blank, or it might not list the version of your file that you need. We recommend consulting with a data recovery company if the data is irreplaceable. A reputable data recovery provider can take steps to prevent permanent data loss while providing the best possible results. provides risk-free evaluations and a no data, no charge guarantee. To get sarted, schedule an evaluation online or call 1-800-237-4200 to speak with an expert. 

With that said, if the file isn’t especially important — or if data recovery isn’t a practical option for other reasons — you can try using the Windows Restore Previous Versions feature. 

In Windows 10 or higher: 

  1. Open a File Explorer window and navigate to the file you need to restore. 
  2. Right-click the spreadsheet.
  3. Select Restore Previous Versions.
  4. This will bring up a dialog box with a list of previous versions of the file. Select the version you’d like to review, then select Open to view the file.
  5. Select Restore to restore the spreadsheet. 

Warning: Files restored by the Restore Previous Versions feature may be corrupt or unreadable. Once again, we strongly recommend seeking assistance from a professional data recovery provider. 

Microsoft 365 Spreadsheets: Reviewing and Restoring Past Versions

If you’re using the Microsoft 365 subscription service, you can restore older versions of the file within that service. 

  1. Open the file.
  2. In the dialog box, click the file name and select Version History. On Mac, select Browse Version History.
  3. Select a version to review it in a new window. 
  4. Select Restore to overwrite the current version of the spreadsheet with the older version. Save the file to avoid overwriting the newer sheet.

Personal Microsoft accounts have a version history limited to 25 versions; earlier versions are permanently deleted. 

Professional Data Recovery Resources for Damaged Excel Spreadsheets provides comprehensive resources for spreadsheet data recovery. Whether you’ve accidentally deleted files, overwritten sheets with inaccurate data, or lost access due to hard drive/server failure, we’re here to help.

Call 1-800-237-4200 to speak with a member of our team or set up a risk-free evaluation online.