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How to Recover Excel Temporary Files [3 Effective Ways]

Wondershare Recoverit Authors

Apr 29, 2024 • Filed to: Recover Files • Proven solutions

How to Recover Excel Temporary Files in Windows 10/11 is a common query. Computers work logically with applications. That includes optimizing the memory of storage resources. Across many applications, files are updated in instances, either default or according to user preferences. Files of Microsoft Excel temporary files in Windows are no exception to the above rules.

All along, there are many instances where users are required to initiate the Excel temp files recovery. This is a handy resource that will guide you regarding the instances and the exact steps to help you. And most application users with this knowledge find it helpful in many scenarios. Join me, and let's dive into the finer details.

Related: What are temporary files

Part 1: Where Are Temporary Excel Files Stored in Windows

Excel Office has the feature- Autorecover - which saves files as you work on an Excel inclusive application. (Autorecover also helps in word and PowerPoint applications)

Microsoft Excel creates a temporary file every time you create a new spreadsheet. The most efficient and easiest way to perform Excel temporary file recovery is going to the default directory where the temp files are saved. The default directory for the storage of Excel temp files is:

Different Windows versions will store unsaved spreadsheets in the following default directories. However, you may find excel storing the same temps in various locations according to user preferences. You can copy the corresponding path in the search bar of File Explorer, then press enter.

temp files folders

On most occasions, you'll notice Excel files that are a little unique. Excel temp files have a prefix in their filename with a squiggly hyphen, or better known as the toddle ("~")

squiggly tem file

Also, in case you save the Excel file in a network drive, you'll not necessarily find it in the default directory as above.

Pro-Tip: When you see the temp files, do not delete them. Neither should you panic. If you check later, they disappear. You may also notice that temp files appear every time you make copies and paste them in separate locations or directories.

Part 2: How to Recover Temporary Files in Excel 2016/2013/2010

Office has an AutoRecover tool, and it covers you if your version is any of 2016/2013/2010. Simply, it autosaves your work and is very helpful in case you require to retrieve one.

Auto recovery helps you with anything from loss of power, system crashes, or misoperations while working on Excel files.

Please note that AutoSave and AutoRecover are all the same but vary in line with versions of Office versions installed on your PC.

Method 1. Using Recover Unsaved Workbooks

  1. Open Excel, go to File->Open->Recent->Recover Unsaved Workbooks.

    recover unsaved workbooks excel

  2. Select the unsaved file and tap 'Open'.
  3. Choose Save as to recover the file.

Method 2. Using Manage Workbooks

  1. Open Excel, go to File->Info->Manage Workbook. Select “Recover Unsaved Workbooks”.

    recover unsaved workbooks manage workbook

  2. Select the unsaved file and click Open.
  3. Choose Save as to recover the file.

Method 3. Using Recoverit Data Recovery

If the methods introduced above failed to help you recover the excel temporary files, you can try with the Recoverit File Recovery Software to get all your unsaved/lost/deleted Excel files back.


Working with Excel versions can be tricky at times. And it saves my days. As a finance modeling specialist, you create and archive numerous spreadsheets and share them as well.

And the surefire way to keep everything intact is to deploy Recoverit as part of your backup strategy. Without a whiff of doubt, you are well covered by Recoverit and more than 1000 + typical applications you use. The other excellent scores of Recoverit are a high recovery rate and working great for any storage media.

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How to Recover Unsaved Excel Files with Wondershare Recoverit?

1. First, download and install Wondershare Recoverit on your computer.

2. Launch the program and go to Hard Drives and Locations tab. Select the Drive where you lost the Excel files to scan.

start drive scanning

3. Wait until the recovery process completes. Or you also can check whether the unsaved files are found from the list. You can select the files and click Recover directly if you've found the files you need.

scanning the excel files

4. Lastly, preview all your files after recovery. Do not stop at that. Transfer them to a secure location.

excel preview

Now you are done!

Part 3. Recover A Temp Excel File From Onedrive

OneDrive is great for your back up. It allows you to access versions of your Excel files. OneDrive makes updates and therefore covers you in case of data loss while working on spreadsheets. Data loss due to failure of Hard Drives is a mess you easily overcome with OneDrive backups.

recover excel temporary files with onedrive

Step 1. Locate the blue icon for your OneDrive. Click on it and proceed to select more, and go to the View online option.

onedrive search online to recover excel temporary files

Step 2. Using the Search box on OneDrive, search through the recycle bin.

Step 3. Once you locate a lost Excel file, select the Restore File Option. [Hint: do not ignore other storage locations or emails]

Step 4. Finally, update the lost and found files via OneDrive sync and ensure you update your local copies

Video Tutorial on How to Recover Excel Document Files

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Bonus Tip: How to Enable Excel AutoSave Feature?

If the Excel's autosave feature wasn't enabled on your computer, you can simply follow this way to turn it on:

  1. Open Excel->File->More->Options.
  2. find the Save option from the left sidebar.
  3. Ensure the box "Save AutoRecover information every" and "Keep the last autosaved version if I close without saving" are checked.
  4. Click OK to save the changes.

The Bottom Line

If you are an Excel user, data loss should not shift you from thinking about your business's primary focus. You may also come across Excel files whose names have this sign(~). Do not fear. Over time they clear your system. Those are just TEMP files or, preferably, files in transformation.

As a Pro User of Excel, you do not have to fear data loss as such. You have two handy tools in your arsenal:

One is the recovery of the Temp file versions of Excel. Second is a superb data recovery tool - the Recoverit Data Recovery.

With Recoverit, all you need is to download, install, and launch a scan to recover temporary excel files. While Recoverit sorts you across many data recovery needs, you need to follow the particular function for Deleted Files Recovery. Once you launch recovery, ensure you save the files in a safe location.

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Recoverit author

Eleanor Reed

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