How To Automatically Backup Excel Files

Accidental deletions or changes to an Excel file can ruin your day if you don't have a backup of your original file. Creating an automatic backup of critical Excel workbooks can come in handy.

How To Automatically Backup Excel Files and Escape The Threat of Accidental Deletions

Accidental deletions or changes to an Excel file can ruin your day if you don’t have a backup of your original file. Creating an automatic backup of critical Excel workbooks can come in handy.

Excel has a backup feature that keeps your data safe by automatically saving the previous spreadsheet version.

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How to Create A Backup Copy of a Workbook With Microsoft Excel

Setting up the autosave feature on Excel is easy. Here’s a step-by-step procedure to get you through the entire process:

  1. Open your Excel file
  2. Choose File at the top left of your screen. A new window will open
  3. Select Save As at the left pane. Another screen will open on your right
  4. Click on More options. Excel will take you to the Save as dialog box. From the dialog box, you can change the file name and location. However, your focus on this tip is auto backup.
  5. Navigate Tools at the bottom of the dialog box and select it. A drop-down menu will open.
  6. Choose General Options from the drop-down menu. A small window will pop up.
  7. Check the Always create backup box. By default, the option is unchecked.
  8. Hit the OK button to save your settings
  9. Select the Save button and confirm that you want to replace the file

How Excel Auto Backup Works

With the auto backup active, every time you change the original spreadsheet and save it, the backup file will update to reflect your spreadsheet before the last save. Excel will create a backup file with a .xlk extension whenever you save the file.

The first time you save a file, the file is the same as the backup. However, when you make edits to the original file and save it again, the current version will show the original copy will show the changes, but the backup will still be the previous version.

The backup file is always one version behind the current version. If you make several changes and save your file — you can go back to the previous version with no current changes. Just open the backup file.

How to Access The Auto Created Backup Files

Excel will save the backup file at the location you choose. The file will have the .xlk extension and Backup of (your file name).

If you have problems locating the file extension, proceed as follows:

  1. Open Windows Explorer
  2. Select the View at the top right of the window
  3. Navigate the File name extensions option on the top right of the screen. The file will arrange depending on the file extension.

Windows will make it a little easier to distinguish between the backup and current files. However, the backup and the original file have different names, and it should be easier to find the backup file.

If you need to, you can open the backup file, reflecting the changes you made before the last time you saved the file.

When you open the backup file, Excel might send a prompt text telling you the extension file doesn’t match and that the file could be corrupted. Click the Yes button to view your backup file.

Excel’s Auto Backup Shouldn’t Substitute Regular System Backup

While Excel backup is excellent in tackling accidental deletion, it shouldn’t substitute for regular system backup. Whether you have an IT team, execute system backup on OneDrive or another automated backup service.

An Excel auto backup will help you feel more comfortable making changes and working actively with your Excel workbooks.

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