Corrupt Excel files


Hello all! How are you enjoying the summer period? I spent my holidays in Italy, it was marvellous. Coming back from holidays, I experienced something we all do from time to time: a corrupt Excel file. While Microsoft does its utmost to spare us from those dreadful moments, the software can always lead to a loss of very hard work. Now, for simple files I would not bother too much, but this time it was serious. I was working on a large project involving many thousands of lines of code (for which I had a backup that was not too long ago), but the file itself was heavily corrupted. Even backups proved to be corrupt as well, that is, after observing the corrupt file I investigated my backups (obviously), but they were useless too. All kinds of strange error messages in Excel. In the end, after many hours, I gave up - you know the feeling. In the beginning, honestly, I even thought about myself delving into the xlsm files (which are in essence zipped archives), trying to come up with a fix myself, but to no avail.

So this page is not about my own contributions to Excel users worldwide, but others' contributions. I started Googling to look for a software solution for data recovery, the cheaper the better. I admitted my defeat and searched for a quick solution online. By browsing the internet, I stumbled upon the website of Cimaware Software, which offers a suite of Office file repair tools. For me it was important to have Excel 2013 covered, which they do in their product called ExcelFix. After installing the software I only had to browse to the damaged file, click on "Recover" and sit and watch to see the software do its job in the background. My entire project was recovered, so it was well worth the investment of the software!

While free tools are available through a Google search, for my case they either did not work, or were not capable to handle Excel 2013 files, or they did a poor job recovering the file. ExcelFix was my first satisfying solution, though I paid some good money I could have spent differently. But the recovery was worth the money and therefore, I recommend using the software. Their online process is very easy and userfriendly.

    I have created this page to:
  • urge you to take backups of your work, very regularly and also, different backups of the same file (versions), stored at different place and even emailed
  • let you know that professional solutions exist in case nothing else seems to help, they are effective. Not only Excel files can be recovered, also other Office products, images, … You will figure it out yourself, often when it's already too late ;-) (like myself)

The end

That's it, more interesting articles are coming up soon but this article was the most urgent one!


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About Wim

Wim Gielis is a Business Intelligence consultant and Excel expert

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