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Microsoft 365 has certainly upgraded the level of Excel version control features through AutoSave. Whereas AutoRecover Excel saves your work after a set time interval, AutoSave does so in real-time when your work is uploaded to OneDrive or SharePoint.

Knowing how to recover an unsaved Excel file is crucial in cases where Excel or your computer suddenly shuts down without having saved the file at all. But, what happens when you realize that specific edits are wrong and want to recover a previous version of your Excel workbook?

In this article, you’ll learn how to restore a previous version of an Excel file depending on your file location, including how to recover a previous file version on Mac, Windows 10, and via SharePoint or OneDrive. All situations are based on the Microsoft Office 365 plan.

How to restore a previous file version in Excel Office 365?

These methods illustrate how to restore a previous file version in Excel Office 365. These steps will show how to recover a file version saved on your desktop, for Windows 10 and Mac.

How to recover a previous version of an Excel file in Windows 10?

  1. 1. Open the most recent version of the Excel file you would like to recover and go to File > Info > Version History.
How To Restore A Previous Version Of An Excel File Version history
How To Restore A Previous Version Of An Excel File - Version history
  1. 2. Double-click on the version to recover from the right-hand menu.
How To Restore A Previous Version Of An Excel File Select version
How To Restore A Previous Version Of An Excel File - Select version
  1. 3. The selected version will open as a new Excel file. At this point, you can click “Restore” or click on the link “You can copy content from this version, or save this version as a separate file”.
How To Restore A Previous Version Of An Excel File Restore or Copy
How To Restore A Previous Version Of An Excel File - Restore or Copy

Now that you’ve seen how to recover a previous version of an Excel file in Windows 10, let’s see how it works in Mac.

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The Beginner's Guide to Excel Version Control

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How to recover a previous version of an Excel file on Mac?

If you are using a Mac, you can easily recover the previous version of your Excel file following these steps:

  1. 1. Open the Excel file you want to recover and go to File > Browse Version History.
How To Restore A Previous Version Of An Excel File Browse Version History
How To Restore A Previous Version Of An Excel File - Browse Version History
  1. 2. Click on “Open Version” to view the file version to restore or copy.
How To Restore A Previous Version Of An Excel File Open Version
How To Restore A Previous Version Of An Excel File - Open Version
  1. 3. The selected version opens in a new window. Click “Restore” to save this version as the current one, or copy the data you want to keep from that version.
How To Restore A Previous Version Of An Excel File Restore
How To Restore A Previous Version Of An Excel File - Restore

One of the key benefits of Office 365 is the variety of apps offered, including the two cloud storage platforms, SharePoint and OneDrive. Let’s first explore how you can recover a previous version of an Excel file that is stored in SharePoint.

How to recover a previous version of an Excel file using SharePoint?

Although SharePoint is included in Office 365, you may also be using it as a separate tool. In any case, you’ll be able to recover any previous version of an Excel file in just a few steps.

  1. 1. Open SharePoint and click on the file icon on the left-side menu. Then, double-click on the file to recover the version.
How To Restore A Previous Version Of An Excel File Files
How To Restore A Previous Version Of An Excel File - Files
  1. 2. Your Excel file will open in a new tab. Click on the file name at the top, and select “Version History” from the pop-up window.
How To Restore A Previous Version Of An Excel File Version History 2
How To Restore A Previous Version Of An Excel File - Version History
  1. 3. A “Version History” pane should now appear on the right-hand side of your screen. Select the version by clicking on the drop-down arrow next to the time.
How To Restore A Previous Version Of An Excel File Click arrow
How To Restore A Previous Version Of An Excel File - Click arrow
  1. 4. The “Show Changes” option is now enabled, so you can view all the changes in each saved version. As soon as you click on the preferred version, two options will appear at the top, “Save a Copy” and “Restore”.
How To Restore A Previous Version Of An Excel File Save a Copy or Restore
How To Restore A Previous Version Of An Excel File - Save a Copy or Restore

Don’t forget, if you “Restore” any changes made after will be lost, so we recommend to “Save a copy” unless you are certain. Now, you’ll see how to recover an old version using OneDrive, very similar to the steps shown for SharePoint.

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How to Recover Unsaved Excel Files

How to recover an old version of an Excel file using OneDrive?

  1. 1. Open OneDrive and click on “My Files”. Select the file you want to restore the version from by ticking the option to the left of the filename, as shown below.
How To Restore A Previous Version Of An Excel File Save a Copy or Restore 2
How To Restore A Previous Version Of An Excel File - Save a Copy or Restore
  1. 2. Click on the “⁝” icon to the right of the “Share” icon and select “Version History” from the drop-down menu.
How To Restore A Previous Version Of An Excel File Version History 3
How To Restore A Previous Version Of An Excel File - Version History
  1. 3. Select the version to recover from the pop-up “Version History” box, and click on the “⁝” icon next to the version name. If you don’t want to lose the changes made after the selected version, choose “Open File” to save a copy of the version.
How To Restore A Previous Version Of An Excel File Save a Copy or Restore 3
How To Restore A Previous Version Of An Excel File - Save a Copy or Restore

Although Microsoft Office 365 offers a powerful workflow platform for your business, Layer represents a user-friendly and flexible alternative, providing you with a complete history of changes and file versions, whether it’s Excel or Google Sheets. It will take a single click to download or restore any file version.

How to monitor and review Google Sheets changes?

Layer adds productivity features to your Google Sheets. Share parts of your spreadsheet, request input, and accept or reject changes to make collaboration seamless and more efficient while keeping full control over your data.

Using Layer, you can:

  • Manage Access: Give spreadsheet access to relevant stakeholders on a tab or cell level.
  • Review & Track: Consolidate input, and easily track changes.
  • Collaborate: Define, assign, and automate tasks and set deadlines.

Sign up for early access and start automating your Google Sheets workflows with Layer!

Conclusion

Although the most common search is to find solutions on how to recover an unsaved file, knowing how to recover a previous version of an Excel file is a valuable skill that most users need to know, to ensure they are prepared for any type of file recovery.

You now know how to restore a previous version of an Excel file (depending on your operating system being Windows 10 or Mac) and how to access the file, via OneDrive, SharePoint, or the Office 365 desktop app.

Google Sheets also offers version control features. If you prefer collaborating on this platform, you can also track changes in Google Sheets and use the version history to restore a previous version.

Hady ElHady
Hady is Content Lead at Layer.

Hady has a passion for tech, marketing, and spreadsheets. Besides his Computer Science degree, he has vast experience in developing, launching, and scaling content marketing processes at SaaS startups.

Originally published May 18 2022, Updated Sep 23 2022