How to Open Recently Closed Excel Files?

You're down to the wire on a large Excel project. You're keying in your last few cells of data, and Excel decides to freeze. Suddenly, the program crashes, erasing all of your hard work. Or did it? If you've ever been in this situation, you know how terrifying it can be when Excel quits in the middle of a project.

Fortunately, there are a few ways to open recently closed Excel files, whether you decided to close the file or if Excel decided to close it for you. Let's take a look at some ways to open recently closed files.


Excel's AutoRecover feature is a great way to protect your work in the event that Excel crashes. This feature allows you to restore an unsaved file if you accidentally close the file or if Excel crashes. It's important to note that you need to have saved the file at least once for it to be AutoRecovered in the event of an accidental file closure.

To turn on AutoRecover, go to File, then select Options in the menu. From there, select Save from the list of Options and make sure that Save AutoRecover Information is selected. You can set the frequency that the program automatically saves. You can also select keep the last autosaved version if I close without saving to protect the latest version of the file.

recently opened files

When you open Excel again, you'll see a Document Recover pane on the left side of the worksheet, allowing you to open the most recently saved version of the file. No more lost data!

Open Recently Closed Files

If you are looking for a simple way to access recently closed files and you haven't accidentally closed the file, all you need to do is open a blank workbook in Excel, then go to File > Open. You will see an option that says Recent Workbooks, allowing you to select and open a recent file you worked on.

If you haven't saved the file, at the bottom of the Recent Workbooks list there is an option to select Recover Unsaved Workbooks. This is another way to recover files that crashed unexpectedly and allows you to recover the data even if you never saved the workbook.

The next time you close out of a file, or the file crashes unexpectedly, don't panic. These two simple methods will allow you to recover your data and get back on track in no time.

File history

Another method to open a recently closed Excel file is to use the File History feature in Windows. Here are the steps:

  1. Open Windows File Explorer.
  2. Navigate to the folder where the Excel file was saved.
  3. Right-click on the folder and select "Properties" from the context menu.
  4. In the Properties dialog box, click on the "Previous Versions" tab.
  5. Select the most recent version of the folder that contains the Excel file you want to open.
  6. Click on the "Open" button to open the selected version of the folder.
  7. Look for the Excel file you want to open and double-click on it to open it in Excel.

Note that the File History feature in Windows is only available if you have turned on file history backup for your files. If you have not turned on this feature, this method will not work.

Search feature

An alternative method to open a recently closed Excel file is to use the "Search" feature in Windows. Here are the steps:

  1. Click on the Windows "Start" button on the bottom left-hand corner of the screen.
  2. In the search box, type in the name of the Excel file you want to open.
  3. Look for the file in the search results.
  4. Once you find the file, right-click on it and select "Open With" from the context menu.
  5. Select "Microsoft Excel" from the list of programs to open the file with.

Alternatively, you can double-click on the file to open it directly in Excel.

Note that this method works only if you remember the name of the Excel file you want to open and its location on your computer. If you are unsure of the file name or its location, you can use the other methods mentioned earlier in this conversation to try to recover the file.

It is always a good practice to save your work frequently and backup your files to prevent data loss. If none of the methods above work, it is possible that the file is permanently lost, and you may need to recreate it.