It’s hard to imagine that an Excel file stored in the cloud can be damaged. But it happens. Excel files can be damaged for multiple reasons, besides the cloud storage itself. Here is a brief list of potential file damage causes:

  • incorrect work of Microsoft Excel
  • incorrect closing of an Excel file
  • incorrect file synchronization with the cloud storage
  • incorrect operation of version control programs
  • hardware issues (power outages, memory crashes and such)

You are trying to open your Excel file from different devices and keep getting similar error messages:

Figure 1.1. Error opening the file on a Windows device

Figure 1.2. Error opening an xlsx file on an Android device

Figure 1.3. Error opening an xls file on an Android device

Figure 1.4. Error opening an xlsx file on an iOS device

Figure 1.5. Error opening an xls file on an iOS device

The file may have been damaged beyond recovery. However, you should try fixing the file. There are several ways of fixing the problem of a corrupted Excel document using:

  1. a built-in Microsoft Excel function
  2. a corresponding Open Office function
  3. special online services
  4. special programs

Try all the options and one of them may work.

Option 1: built-in Microsoft Excel function

When trying to open a damaged document stored in the cloud, Microsoft Excel will suggest restoring it. You will see the following dialog:

To start the recovery procedure, click on the “Yes” button.

Sometimes, Microsoft Excel immediately reports an incorrect file format and doesn’t suggest fixing it:

The recovery functionality is found in all recent versions of Microsoft Office, starting from Office 2007. This function is available via the main menu:

  1. Go to the main menu and select “File”
  2. Choose “Open”
  3. Find the damaged document in the cloud and select it
  4. Open the dropdown menu to the right of the “Open” button
  5. Click on the “Open and repair” command

The built-in file repair function of Microsoft Office can restore a damaged file in 10-20{e7d47c856744df2248f2195fd30fbdddbceff01679799ef4d661e6a47ab6faaa}{e7d47c856744df2248f2195fd30fbdddbceff01679799ef4d661e6a47ab6faaa} of real cases. If the built-in function fails to recover your data or you keep seeing gibberish instead, you should try alternative methods.

Option 2: Open Office built-in function

Microsoft Office and Open Office data storage formats have been fully compatible since Microsoft Office 2007. This compatibility lets you use Open Office for repairing Microsoft Office documents. Download and install the Open Office installation package from Then use the built-in Open Office function to repair Excel documents in the XLS/XLSX format.

If Open Office fails to repair your Excel File, proceed to the next option.

Option 3: online Excel file recovery services

There aren’t many online Excel spreadsheet repair tools on the market:

They are all paid (from $5 to $40+) but support all operating systems (iOS, Android, MacOS, Windows) and devices (a computer, a tablet, and even a phone). You need to upload the file, make a couple of clicks, and see the recovery results for each service. If the online service can repair the file and extract data from it, you can pay for the service and download the document.

The most affordable and convenient tool in this category is The cost of recovering a document is just $5. The interface is also available in Russian. The service is very easy to use, making it a great choice for anyone.

All online services are quite intuitive and straightforward, but there are risks associated with sharing information with third parties. Besides, you pay for each document individually. Let’s take a look at another method of repairing documents.

Option 4: Special tools for recovering Excel spreasheets

There are plenty of special applications created specifically for repairing Excel documents. Nearly all of these programs support Windows. They have been on the market for 15-20 years and their proprietary recovery algorithms work much better than the ones used in Microsoft Office.

The DEMO versions of the tools answer a single question: is it possible to recover a damaged Excel file? The user will then need to pick the tool that recovers most information and purchase a license. A licensed version enables you to save the recovered information from a faulty XLS/XLSX file to a new Excel document.

In our test, we used over a dozen different Excel spreadsheets that had been intentionally damaged. Recovery Toolbox for Excel worked a bit better than the rest of the programs:

It could be our set of files that helped the program to perform better than its competitors. Recovery Toolbox for Excel may work quite differently with a different data set or user file. In order to be able to answer this question correctly, MAKE SURE to try the DEMO version of each tool prior to purchasing a license.

Useful tips about Microsoft Excel

Always keep auto-save turned on in Microsoft Excel. If there has been a crash and the auto-save function is enabled, you will have a copy of the file that will be just 10-15 minutes old. This is configured in a couple of clicks: