5 Easy Ways to Diagnose Excel Workbook Corruption


Share post:

Excel files are prone to corruption. When an Excel file gets corrupted, it does not behave as it should. You may experience formulas not working or missing formulas. In some cases, due to corruption, the Excel file doesn’t open or even becomes inaccessible. Besides these, there are various signs that indicate corruption in Excel files. This post will discuss 5 easy ways to diagnose corruption in an Excel workbook. It will also share some effective solutions to repair and restore corrupt Excel files.

How to Diagnose Corruption in Excel File?

Here are some signs that you can look for to know if your Excel file is corrupted.

1. Microsoft Excel Crashes Frequently

If your Excel file is corrupt, you may experience frequent crashing or freezing of the Excel application. When you try to open the file, you may encounter error messages, like “Microsoft Excel is not responding.”

2. Recovery Mode Automatically Starts

When Microsoft Excel detects corruption in the Excel file, it automatically starts the File Recovery mode and tries to repair the workbook.

3. Unable to Open Excel File

Sometimes when you try to open an Excel file, it fails to respond. This is also an indication that the file is corrupted. You may also get the following errors:

  • Unable to read file.
  • Excel cannot open the file.
  • Microsoft Excel has stopped working.

4. Excel File Behaves Strangely

When you open a corrupt Excel workbook, it may open but fail to work as expected. For example, some formulas are missing or the Excel menu buttons are not displaying.

5. Excel Displaying Error Messages

If an Excel file is corrupt, you may encounter error messages while opening it. Some common ones are:

  • The file is corrupted and can no longer be opened.
  • Excel is unable to read file.
  • Microsoft Excel has encountered a problem and needs to close.
  • This file is not in a recognizable format.
  • Excel found unreadable content in (filename).
  • File name is not valid.
  • abc.xls file cannot be accessed. The file may be read-only.

How to Repair and Restore Corrupted Excel File?

When you detect corruption in an Excel file, it is important to take immediate remedial action to avoid further issues.

Revert to the Earlier File Version

Microsoft Excel has an auto-recover option that saves the file version automatically. If this feature is enabled, you can use it to revert to the file’s earlier version. Below are the steps to use the Recover Unsaved Workbooks option:

  • Open the Excel file (if you’re able to open it).
  • Go to File option, click Info, and then choose Manage Versions.
  • Select Recover Unsaved Workbooks.
  • Click on the available last auto-saved file version and then click Open
  • Click File > Save As to save the file. 

Set Calculation Option from Automatic to Manual in Excel

You can try changing the Calculation settings from automatic to manual in Excel. It can help you to open the corrupt Excel file. The following are the steps:

  • Click open Microsoft Excel and head straight to File New.
  • Click Blank workbook.
  • Click File > Options.
  • Tap on the Formulas category> Manual option under Calculation options. Click OK.

Repair Corrupt File using Open and Repair Utility

Microsoft Excel has a built-in utility – Open and Repair – to repair damaged or corrupted Excel file. To repair the file using this utility, follow these steps:

  • Go to File Open > Browse. 
  • In the Open dialog box, click on the corrupted Excel file. 
  • Click the arrow next to the Open button and click Open and Repair from the dropdown.
  • Select Repair to recover as much data from the file as possible.


Excel files corruption discusses 5 ways to diagnose Excel workbook corruption. If your Excel workbook is corrupt, you can follow the methods mentioned above to repair and recover the Excel file.

However, if the above methods do not work, then use professional Excel file repair software. Advanced software that can repair severely corrupt Excel files and recover all its objects with 100% integrity. The tool is compatible with Excel files created in MS Excel 2019, 2016, 2013, 2010, 2007, 2003, or 2000.

Cody Rhodes
Cody Rhodes
Cody Rhodes a learning specialist, designs and delivers learning initiatives (both in-class and online) for a global and internal audience. He is responsible for the ongoing development, delivery, and maintenance of training. He has the ability to manage competing priorities to execute time-sensitive deliverables within a changing environment. He contributes to continually improving the team's processes and standards and works as a member of the team to assist with team initiatives.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Related articles

Xiaomi 14T and 14T Pro tipped to debut in September! Here’s what we know so far

Xiaomi is reportedly gearing up to launch its next-gen Xiaomi 14T series, which will succeed the current 13T...

Updated List of Cheat Codes for GTA 5 on PC/PS4/PS5/Xbox

More than a decade after its release, GTA V continues to be classic and as captivating as ever,...

Sony Xperia 1 VI first look render images leaked! Get a peek into Specs

The Xperia 1 VI is expected to follow the release pattern of its predecessor, the Xperia 1 V,...

Chainsaw Man Chapter 163: Release schedule and where to read in English 

Chainsaw Man manga has picked up steam with its recent developments! The decision of mangaka Tatsuki Fujimoto to...