Excel: I Just Closed an Unsaved Workbook

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Problem: I had 20 budget files open and I used the previous trick to close all workbooks. I used shift-click on Don't Save to close all without saving. But then I realized that I also had another file opened that I needed to save.

Strategy: If you are in Excel 2010 or later, you might be able to recover that file. You have to meet all of these criteria:

  • You have to be using Excel 2010
  • The file has to be old enough to have been AutoSaved
  • The file must never have been saved (i.e. it is still called Book7 or something like that.

When you realize that you closed Excel and did not save the workbook, follow these steps:

  1. Open Excel.
  2. Open the File menu and go to the Recent Documents.
  3. At the bottom of the right panel, use the Open Recent Documents icon.

  1. Find this at the bottom of Recent Places.

    Gotcha: The Recover Unsaved Workbooks feature only handles the workbooks that had never been saved.

    As a test, I just closed the workbook from the next topic without saving. When I look at the unsaved documents, I have four books from the last week. None of them are the workbook from 2:10 PM on May 25.

  2. Microsoft saved four workbooks that I didn't think were important.

    Here's why: the workbook had been saved previously with a real file name. It will not appear in this list. But, you still have hope!

    Instead, you should open the last saved version of that workbook. Then, go to File, Info, Manage Versions. The unsaved version of that file could be available there.

  3. This is good"¦the unsaved version is still available.

    You should click on the unsaved version to open it in read-only mode. The message bar will tell you that it is a temporary version.

  4. Examine the workbook to make sure it is better than the last saved version.

    If this workbook is the one you want to keep, click Restore. After you confirm, the workbook will overwrite the saved version.