How to recover a previous version of an Excel spreadsheet after saving it

You can often run into issues working with anything. Sometimes, technical obstacles can prove to be significant setbacks. Such setbacks are typical when you’re required to revert recently made progress due to erroneous or otherwise invalid changes you (or others) have made to your work. Take, for instance, applying a series of new functions to your spreadsheet and overwriting your prior save — only to find out your recent changes don’t work as intended. Fortunately, you have more options than simply replacing each function once again.


  1. Open your Excel file
  2. Select File
  3. Open Info
  4. Select Manage Workbook
  5. Select Recover Unsaved Workbooks
  6. Open your file

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In this post, we will be discussing the use of Excel’s native tools to revert an Excel file to an older state. In addition to this, we will also be demonstrating how you can revert work via “.tmp” files. We’ve tried to make both guides as comprehensive and straightforward as possible. So when ready, please follow along.


  1. Guide | Reverting to pre-save state in Excel
  2. Guide | Reverting via tmp files in Excel
  3. Endnote | Recap & Farewell

Guide | Reverting to pre-save state in Excel to recover a previous version of a spreadsheet

Step 1 – Access file info

Select “File” from the tab ribbon with your spreadsheet open and navigate to the “Info” tab. In doing so, you may continue to the next step.

Step 2 – Open recovery settings

Open the “Manage workbook” dropdown within the “Info” tab and select “Recover Unsaved Workbooks” to proceed.

Step 3 – Select your unsaved version

Select your file with a simple click, or enter the name and extension in the search bar. After doing so, click “Open” to finish.

Guide | Reverting via tmp files in Excel to recover a previous version of a spreadsheet

Step 1 – Access your Excel tmp folder

To begin, press the start/windows key on your keyboard and enter the directory (shown below). Ensure you replace “UserName” with your username when doing so. Afterwards, hit the enter key and wait for the file explorer to open the specified directory.


Step 2 – Convert your file

You can revert a “.tmp” file to an Excel usable file type. You will do this by first right-clicking the file and selecting “rename” within the dropdown created. Next, you will need to replace the file extension “.tmp” with a more suitable one like those below. After which, you may open your file by double-clicking it.


Step 3 – Check your file

With your file open, review its content. In some instances, you may have converted a different temp file. The issue is not entirely avoidable due to the automated naming of cache files.

Endnote | Recap & Farewell


A frequent source of workplace setbacks, reverting recently saved changes, can be tedious and consume a significant amount of time depending on the scale of your changes. Likely in anticipation of this possibility- Microsoft provided Excel with native tools to minimise the impact of such a setback. One such tool allows users to restore unsaved workbook states which would otherwise be inaccessible.


As usual, offering thanks to our readers for their support is the intention of our closing section. We’d be pleased to know you found this post helpful and informative. If you have any more Office 365 related queries, please consult our related articles (listed below). However, if you have other questions, consider looking at the rest of the site. We frequently post new stuff each week and may have the guide or troubleshooting tips you need. Regardless, we wish you a good day/night- farewell, readers. 

Buy Microsoft 365, offering an email inbox, OneDrive storage, world-class security, and the Office suite (Excel included) for as little as $6.99 per month. Use this link for the best pricing, straight from Microsoft directly.

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Jack Mitchell

Jack Mitchell has been the Operations manager at telecoms and MSP Optionbox for more than 4 years. He has played a crucial role in the company, from marketing to helpdesk, and ensures that the IT requirements of over 300 clients are continuously met. With his innate passion for technology and troubleshooting and a particular interest in Apple products, Jack now delivers the most comprehensive tech guides to make your life easier. You can connect with Jack on LinkedIn.

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