Excel Fie is Replaced by Accident? Learn How to Recover Overwritten Excel File

Loss of files due to overwriting is a common error that can happen to anyone. Here are some steps to use to recover overwritten excel files.

Oct 22,2020 • Filed to: Document Recovery • Proven solutions

"While using an Excel file as an outline, somehow I hit the save button and overwrote the original file. I had multiple files open at the time. I believe I tried to close the application with the X button, and when prompted "Do you want to save changes" I hit Yes. Then all the active Excel files were closed. The unintended consequence was that a file I wished to keep was changed to something I did not really want to save. Is there a way to recover the lost data from the original Excel file?"

- a question from a user

Loss of files due to overwriting is a common error that can happen to anyone. All it needs are two file names that are identical. For example, it usually is found more with Excel and Word documents which are the most common file types that we work upon. We need to be sure that they are not overwritten, but often we choose a file name that was created earlier.

The mistake occurs when we are asked as to whether we wish to replace the first one with this new document of the same name. If we do not exercise caution at such a time and click on Yes, the previous file is overwritten by the new one.

When such an error occurs, many are in a dilemma how to restore the original file. Since the originally named document is now lost, you would want to know ways to recover an overwritten file. If you are facing such a dilemma in Excel, here are some steps to use to recover overwritten excel file.

Part1. How to Recover Overwritten Excel File from Temp Files

There are certain ways how to recover an overwritten excel file from your computer. These comprise of two methods, one is to visit the Temporary folder section of your Windows OS and then running a search as detailed below. The other option is to look for the previous version of the file.

If you have overwritten an Excel file accidentally, you could look for the Temp files in your Windows PC in order to recover excel file that was overwritten. Why? As an excel file is edited, Office creates temporary files which are in a certain location in Windows.

  1. As a temp file is created every time a file is created with an Office application, you can open the temp file folder and find files with addresses like:

    • Windows 7: C:\Users\name\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Excel\ for Windows 7.
    • Windows 8/10: C:\Users\\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Office\UnsavedFiles\.

  2. Once the right temp file is located successfully, one can save the file by changing the extension and saving it in the desired location.

how to recover overwritten excel file from temp files

Microsoft Office usually creates a temporary file of any file that is being worked upon. The specific location of the same usually resides in Unsaved Files or Temp folder of your Windows depending on the OS version you use. You can also search by typing in "$" and ending with "TMP" as well as choosing Excel as the file extension type. When these attributes are chosen correctly, all saved temporary Excel files are displayed.

Part 2. How to Retrieve or Recover An Overwritten Excel File from Previous Version?

When you wish to use the Previous Version feature in Windows to locate an overwritten Excel file, you can start by doing the following steps:

In case of Mac OS X, users can recover overwritten Excel files in a better way, assuming that the Time Machine feature is active. When this feature is active, all one needs to do is use the Finder and look for the file's previous version in the vault of Time Machine.

Please be noted that this is a backup feature that is inbuilt in a Mac system. However, in order to ensure that previous versions of files created on a Mac are saved the external hard drive needs to be set and the Time Machine made available. The Time Machine will then create copies of the files on the external hard drive. This will then help to recover any overwritten file that you might be looking for, given that you have created backups regularly.

Bonus: If It's Still Not Working, How to Get Overwritten Excel File Back?

There might be instances when the previous solutions mentioned do not help in locating the file that is overwritten. This could be due to your inability to conduct the right search among previous versions or to locate the file among the temporary folder. Thus, you might need another way to restore overwritten Excel file in Mac or Windows computer. Here, you need a tool called Recoverit (IS) software.

This data recovery tool has proved to give results in helping to recover files that are corrupt, lost, damaged, or overwritten, from your hard drive or external drives as well. The tool has excellent abilities for recovering files deeply embedded in any drive.

Recoverit (IS)

A Life Saver to Solve Your Data Overwritten Problems!

  • Support different kinds of operating systems as well as external hard drives. These can be of different brands, digital cameras, memory cards, SSD and hard drives.
  • Different file types are supported, of audio, video files, emails, documents, archived files, image files and so forth.
  • Three processes are used by the tool to scan, offer a preview of the results and then aid recovery, which are all completed within a few minutes.
  • Conduct a scan of different kinds, deep or quick scan which can help you find extensive search results as desired.
  • Satisfactory results are found in most searches conducted.
2,556,027 people have downloaded it

Now, let's check the detailed steps of recovering Excel file that was overwritten or replaced on Windows or Mac computer.

Step 1. Download, install and launch this Excel Recovery software on your PC or Mac as you like. Then, you'll be required to choose a recovery mode according to your own needs. Since the overwritten issue is a little bit complex than others, so you can take a trial on "All-Around Recovery" mode directly.

Step 2. Specify the file location where you had saved the overwritten file and click "Start" button to conduct a deeply scanning on your selected hard drive.

select a hard disk for scanning

Step 3. When the scanning is finished, you can preview and filter files as you like. Once the file is located as per the previous version of an overwritten Excel file, you can then save the file in a folder of your choice by clicking "Recover" button.

preview and recover overwritten excel document

[Attention] When one is running a scan for an overwritten Excel, the situation could be more complex. Hence there is no guarantee that the method will work.

Write in the End

Done! There are 3 different ways to recover overwritten Excel files on Windows or Mac computer. So when you find something improtant is overwritten mistakenly. Don't worry, and have a trial on the 3 solutions one by one. Then, you still have a great opportunity to get overwritten Excel file back. Of course, to avoid these situations, you'd better to create a copy of your important file and save it in other disks regularly.


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