Summary: This blog highlights the main reasons for Excel 2010 corruption and offers the best solution to fix it. 

MS Excel is the most popular spreadsheet application that caters to the wide need for records management. It is the first option that strikes our mind when we need to tackle large data. With improved features and innovative functions, it has made our life easier and convenient. Further, both large and small-scale enterprises rely on Excel for performing their work.

In Excel, users can perform several operations ranging from organizing data to calculating, formatting, creating charts and graphs to data arrangement. It allows you to add macros, tables, unique codes, numerical, texts, hyperlinks, etc. in short, owing to these diverse capabilities; it has become a perfect option for users who wish to keep track of every record. 

On the other side, being one of the highly demanded MS Office tools, Excel is still prone to getting corrupt; and, this eventually results in data loss or inaccessibility. However, if you are wondering whether you have lost the data completely, then there is a reason to look up.  There are solutions to recover corrupt excel files and retrieve your lost data. 

Before we delve to the methods for recovery, let us know the reasons for Excel 2010 turning corrupt. 

Reasons that lead to a corrupt Excel 2010

  1. Unexpected Power Failure or Power Equipment Damage: It is the most common scenario when the system shuts down abruptly or unexpectedly, all the files running at that time are forced closed, eventually resulting in data loss. For example, you are using your system without a UPS, and working on an important Excel document that includes lots of graphs, charts, macros, and much more. All of a sudden, an unexpected shutdown occurs, your computer turns off instantly, and your Excel closed abruptly. Now, when you restart your computer, your Excel file is no longer available there. In another instance, while working, there is an unexpected power surge, which can also damage the system or the files as well. 
  2. Improper Handling of Excel Files: Human errors can also corrupt the Excel files. For instance, at the time of deletion, you mistakenly click on the wrong file, and as a result, an important file, which includes critical data, is lost. In another instance, you absentmindedly close the running Excel document without saving it due to which you lose the data. 
  3. Excel Applications Defect: Inevitably, this widely used Excel application can handle several issues; however, there are still some problems associated with it. There can be a situation where Excel no longer responds to your instruction; during that moment, you are bound to turn off the application, and as a result, some critical information can be lost which will eventually create inconvenience. Another instance is that of Excel versions. In new upgrades, there are several new features in comparison to the earlier. Thus, the file upgraded in new versions cannot open or be edited in most cases. Hence, if a user still tries the different functionalities, it will cause more damage. 
  4. Hardware Failure: Another common factor that can make Excel Files inaccessible to the user is Hardware failure. The hardware could be CD/DVD, USB flash drive, removable hard disk, etc. This hardware is not fail-proof. Therefore, problems such as damaged heat assembly, connectors’ problem, and the burnt-down circuit board, etc. are common instances but can easily be resolved i.e. the Excel files can be repaired. However, in a scenario such as storage media breakdown, repairing the Excel files may seem challenging. 
  5. Bad Sector: Usually, after prolonged use, hard drives get bad sectors in it. Even improper shut down also creates bad sectors. Thus, the data that falls in bad sectors section becomes inaccessible. 
  6. Large MS Excel File Size: Since MS Excel is a spreadsheet, not a database, therefore it closes on its own when it is not able to manage a large amount of data. So, when the Excel file size increases, chances of Excel file corruption is higher. 
  7. Virus Attack or Hacking: Systems are usually prone to virus attack or hacking. It brings considerable damage to the Excel files and the data contained in it may disappear. It is an alarming situation as information stored in files can misuse by hackers. In case a virus infects it, these files cannot be opened and hence inaccessible. The best solution to fix this problem would be to install an anti-virus software. Further, to protect against hackers, ensure that your data is password-protected and not shared over an unidentified network.
  8. Natural Disasters: Apart from the above-stated reasons, several other factors may also damage your Excel files, hence become inaccessible. These are natural disasters such as Tsunami, Earthquake, Flood, etc. which are unavoidable and can cause severe damage. 
Now that we have identified the reasons that lead to a corrupt Excel, let us now look at the methods by which you can repair Excel 2010.

Solution 1: Manual Repair of Corrupt Workbook: 
To repair a corrupt workbook manually, follow the below steps:
  • Click Open on the File tab.
  • Select the corrupt Workbook.
  • Click Open and choose ‘Open and Repair’ from its drop down list.
  • Next, follow any of the steps: 
    • Click Repair to recover workbook data.
    • Click Extract Data to extract formulas as well as values from the workbook when an effort to repair workbook fails.
Solution 2: Recover data from a Corrupt Workbook
If the network error or disk error are not allowing you to open a workbook, then transfer the workbook to a different hard drive and follow the steps below: 
  1. Relapse the Workbook to the Last Version of Saving: In cases when you are editing the worksheet and it gets corrupt prior to saving the modifications, you can easily recover the original worksheet by rolling back to the last saved.  To do so, follow the steps below:
    • Click open on the File tab.
    • Double click on the workbook.
    • Click Yes to reopen.
  2. SYLK Format: This is one of the best solution to filter out the corrupt element. You simply have to save your workbook in the SYLK format.  It removes errors that you face when printing from excel. To do so, follow the steps below: 
    • Click on the File tab.
    • Click Save As option.
    • Type list and click Symbolic Link in Save As and click save.
    • Here two messages will be generated: 
      • Selected type of file does not support workbook containing multiple sheets—In this case, click Ok and save only the active sheet.
      • Workbook can contain Features not supported with the SYLK format—Click Yes.
    • Next, click on File tab and click Open.
    • Select saved .slk file and click Open.
    • Click Save As and in its type box, click Excel Workbook
    • To create a copy, type the name of the workbook and click Save. 
  3. Turn Excel Calculation Option to Manual: Usually, a calculation setting is set as automatic. Therefore, in case you are unable to open a workbook, you can alter it to the manual mode. This may help you in the opening workbook, as it will not be recalculating.  To do so, follow the below steps: 
    • Open a blank Excel.
    • Click Options in the File tab.
    • Click Manual under Calculation options in the Formula Category.
    • Click OK.
    • Now Click open in the File tab.
    • Select corrupt workbook and try to open it.
  4. Use External References: Use of external references to link the corrupt workbook is an effective solution when you only want to recover data instead of calculated values or formulas from the workbook. To perform this action, follow the steps below:
    • Click Open in the file tab.
    • Select the corrupt workbook folder.
    • Copy the corrupt workbook file name and click on cancel.
    • Again click the File tab and click New.
    • Click the Blank workbook under Available Templates.
    • In A1 cell, type =File Name!A1,( here file name is the corrupt workbook name)
    • Press Enter.
    • In case you see an update values dialogue box, choose the corrupt workbook and click Ok; if you see the select sheet dialogue box, choose an appropriate sheet and click Ok. 
    • Again select cell A1 and in Home tab, press Ctrl + C.
    • Now, starting from cell A1, select approximately the same size area in the new workbook corresponding  to the range of cells in the corrupt workbook
    • Next, press Ctrl +V.
    • With range selection, press Ctrl + C once again.
    • Now, select Values under Paste Values options.
Solution 3: Create an Auto-save Backup Workbook Copy
It is advisable to create an auto-save backup workbook copy. This is because it helps you ensure that you will have a copy that you can use to access the workbook if the original file turns corrupt or is accidentally deleted. To perform this action, follow the below steps: 
  • Click the File tab.
  • Click Save As.
  • Click the General option located subsequent to the Save button.
  • Checkmark Create Backup.
Solution 4: Create an Auto Recovery File at Defined Intervals
To avoid corruption of Excel File, you can configure an automatic recovery file option at periodic intervals. It will make sure that in a case of corruption or accidental deletion, you have access to copy. To perform this action, follow these steps: 
  • Click option in the File tab.
  • Under Save workbook, select AutoRecover information and enter time.
  • Now, in AutoRecover file location box, specify the location to save the recovery file.
  • Ensure that the Disable AutoRecover checkbox is unmarked. 
So these are the solutions to repair a corrupted Excel file 2010. If above methods do not work then Microsoft support service will help. I also read about Excel file repair software to fix the corruption of Excel file but, I didn't try it. 
Note: Always try the demo version of any third party tool before buying it. 

A corrupt or damaged excel is a commonplace.  Here, we have identified the common reasons that lead to a corrupt excel as well as learnt the varied solutions available at hand.