How to Fix or Recover a Corrupted Excel File on Mac

You can fix or recover a corrupted Excel file on your Mac with AutoRecover. Since it saves Excel files periodically, you can find a previous version in the AutoRecovery folder. Alternatively, you can also use Numbers, Time Machine, and Terminal.

Hi, I’m Devansh. In my experience, a corrupted Excel file can be frustrating, especially if it contains important data or complex formulas.

In this article, I’ll show you how to open the AutoRecovery folder on your Mac. In addition, I’ll discuss three alternative methods to recover your corrupted Excel file. I’ll also answer some common questions.

If your Excel file is corrupted and doesn’t open properly, keep reading!

1. The Native Method

Using AutoRecover, you may be able to retrieve the most recent version of your file before it became corrupted. To check if it’s enabled, open Excel, go to Preferences, click Save, and see if Enable AutoRecover is enabled.

Now, follow these steps.

Step 1: Open Finder, click Go in the menu bar, and Go to Folder.

Step 2: Paste this file path in the blank box:

/Library/Containers/ Support/Microsoft

If you’re using Office 2011, paste this instead:

/Library/Application Support/ Microsoft/Office/Office 2011 AutoRecovery

Here, you may find a previous version of the Excel file

Step 3: If you find a previous copy of the Excel file, open it and save it under a new name.

Since AutoRecover is enabled by default, there’s a good chance that this method might work for you. If this doesn’t work, here are some additional recovery methods.

2. Open Corrupted File in Numbers

You can try opening the corrupted Excel file with Numbers. To do this, right-click the corrupted Excel file, click Open With, and choose Numbers from the list.

If the file opens in Numbers, examine it and check if it works properly.

You can also modify the extension of the corrupted Excel file. First, make a copy of it, remove the last ‘x’ in the file extension, and open it. Alternatively, the ‘.htm’ and ‘.xml’ extensions are also worth trying out.

3. Use Time Machine to Recover Previous Version

If you’ve enabled Time Machine on your Mac, the built-in backup feature in macOS provides a great way to recover your corrupted Excel file. Click the Time Machine menu in the menu bar to open it.

Once you’ve opened Time Machine, you can use the arrows next to the window to navigate to a previous version of the Excel file. If you find it, right-click it, and select Restore. To learn more about Time Machine, check this support page.

4. Use Terminal to Find Temporary Files

It’s also possible that you might be able to find a recent version of the corrupted Excel file as a temporary file stored on your Mac. You can access temporary files with Terminal.

Open Terminal, type Open $TMPDIR, and press Enter. In the window that opens, scroll down and open the TemporaryItems folder. Find your Excel file there and restore it.


Here are some common questions about recovering a corrupted Excel file on Mac.

Are There Any Third-Party File Recovery Tools Available for Mac?

Yes. You can check this post for some well-known ones. If the above methods fail to recover your corrupted Excel file, you can use these recovery tools as a last resort.

What Precautions to Take to Avoid File Corruption?

Here are three essential ones you should keep in mind. Manually save the Excel file when you make major changes, avoid abruptly force quitting or shutting down your Mac while Excel is still running, and keep macOS and the Excel app updated.

Do You Need to Enable AutoRecover on Mac Manually?

No, it’s enabled by default. If you think you might’ve disabled it in the past, you can check by opening the Preferences window, going to Save, and seeing if Enable AutoRecover is enabled.

Where is the ‘Open and Repair’ Option in Excel on Mac?

Unfortunately, the Open and Repair option isn’t available on Mac. As a Microsoft agent on this community post said, “Currently, I’m afraid there is no out-of-the-box option to repair file in Excel on Mac.” Let’s hope they add it in a future update!


You can find a recent version of the corrupted Excel file in the AutoRecovery folder on your Mac. Alternatively, you can open it with Numbers or modify the file extension if you can’t find it there. Lastly, you can use Time Machine and Terminal to find previous versions of the file.

In most cases, Excel may attempt to repair the corrupted file when it’s opened automatically. If it’s unsuccessful, you can take steps to fix it. I hope this article guided you in recovering your Excel file successfully!

Do you have further questions about recovering a corrupted Excel file on Mac? Let me know in the comments.

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