The Ultimate Guide to Excel Version History

To access Excel version history, you simply have to enable autosaves and decide the intervals. You can boil this down to the file path of File > Options > Save AutoRecover information every n minutes. Then you just have to enter a number into the n box and click Ok.

Once you’ve ensured that AutoRecover is enabled, you can head to File > Info > Manage Workbook to access older versions of your workbook.

That should be enough to get you going, but if you need a more in-depth guide, read on to learn more.

What Is Version History in Excel

The version history feature in Excel is a great feature that users can use to store older file versions in either  OneDrive or locally. Storing the files in the cloud can be very beneficial as it allows you to have an overview of all the versions, and you also can restore a previous version of an Excel file in case you want to go to an older version or check the changes made by others. The version history feature is available for Excel 2019, 2021, and Office 365 users.

The feature is very similar to the version history feature in Google Sheets, one of the direct competitors of Microsoft Excel. Before we look at the version history feature in Microsoft Excel, let’s finally settle the debate of which spreadsheet is better. Here are some of the key differences between Excel and Sheets in 2024.

How to Modify Excel File History Settings

If the AutoRecover feature is enabled, then a backup version of the document is saved after every 10 minutes. However, the feature might be disabled by default on the Excel version on your computer. Let’s take a look at how you can enable the AutoRecover feature in Microsoft Excel:

  1. Open the Excel application or open a document on your computer.
Click Options
  1. Click on Options from the main screen. If you’re in a document, click on File and then click on Options. This will open the Excel options menu in a new window.
edit the save recover time
  1. Here, click on Save in the main sidebar. Here, enable the Save AutoRecover information every n minutes. Once the option is enabled, write the number of minutes in the textbox. These minutes represent the frequency at which backups are made for your workbooks.
  2. Click on OK to save the changes.

You can set the AutoRecover time anywhere between 1 and 99 minutes. The default AutoRecover time is 10 minutes. With the feature enabled, Excel will make a backup copy of the file every time the specified amount of time passes.

Not everyone wants to stick to just one spreadsheet program. Most people use both Google Sheets and Microsoft Excel. For those people, here is a guide on how to convert Sheets files to Excel.

How to Recover the Previous Version of an Excel File

Excel “restore previous version” works passively once you activate it, meaning you don’t have to do anything to access it. Any available recovered versions of the file can be found in the Excel main menu. Here is how to restore a previous version of Excel:

  1. Open the workbook you want to restore the previous version of in Microsoft Excel.
Click manage workbook
  1. Click on File in the main bar to open the Excel main menu screen. If you’re already in the main menu screen, click the Info button in the left sidebar.
  2. Scroll down to the Manage Workbook section. In some Excel versions, this heading may be Version History. Look for the version you want to restore and click on it here. This will load up the autosaved version of your workbook.
Click recover saved workbooks to get Excel Version History

If you don’t see any autosaved versions of your Excel workbook, click on the Manage Workbook button and then click on Recover Unsaved Workbooks. This will open your local file browser, where you can manually look for the unsaved workbook. Once you find it, double-click on it, and Excel will load it up.

Excel and Google Sheets are two of the most popularly used spreadsheet platforms. Here is a guide on how to convert Excel to Sheets.

How to Open a Previous Version of an Excel File in Office 365

Microsoft also offers a web-based version of Office, including the Excel spreadsheet software. Excel 365 is the subscription-based version of Microsoft Excel which works similarly to Google Sheets as opposed to fixed versions of Excel like Excel 2013, Excel 2019, and Excel 2016.

The Excel file versions are stored in OneDrive, which is linked to the Microsoft account. By default, Excel will store 25 versions of your Excel spreadsheet. The administrator can specify the number of versions to be saved to the cloud for school or work accounts. Once you delete the files from OneDrive, Excel will store the deleted files in the recycle bin for 3-30 days.

Here is how to open previous versions of Excel in Office 365:

  1. Open your web browser and head over to Excel 365.
Open a file
  1. Click My Content in the sidebar to open an existing document. In the My Content section, click All to view your documents. Click on the document you want to open.
Click the file name
  1. With the document open, feel free to make any changes. The changes will be saved, while the previous versions will be saved. To access the version history, click on the cloud icon beside the Document Name. This will open a dropdown menu.
Click Version history
  1. Click on the Version History option towards the bottom of the dropdown menu. This will open the version history sidebar towards the right side of the screen.
Open the desired version
  1. Click and select the version of the document you want to restore. The version names are denoted by the time they were edited. When you select the version you want to view, a spreadsheet preview will be shown in the window.
Click save a copy or restore

Here, you can look at the previous document’s version, or you can Restore the previous version of Excel file. You can also click on Save a Copy which will create a new document version.

Like other spreadsheet software, Google has some amazing features that make collaboration with others a breeze. Sheets also track all the changes made to the spreadsheet. Check out our guide on how to access this feature.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Is Version History in Excel?

The version history feature in Excel can be used to keep track of and store older spreadsheet versions. The feature works passively in Excel, creating the backup automatically and at specified intervals. The feature is available for Excel 2019, 2021, and Office 365 users.

How Do You Undo Changes in Excel After Save and Close?

If you saved the file before closing the Excel file, open the file you were working on and click on the File button in the top bar. There, click on Info and go to the Manage Workbook section. Click on the file with the (when I closed without saving) label. This will show a top bar over the unsaved file. Click on the Restore button to undo changes in the Excel file.

How Do You Revert Excel Files to the Previous Version in Excel 365?

To revert a file to an older version in Office 365, navigate to Excel in your web browser and access the spreadsheet file you wish to restore to a previous state. Next, select the file name in the main bar and locate the Version History feature to access a sidebar menu. From there, choose the desired file from the list to preview its previous version. Finally, select the Restore option to open the document in its earlier form.

Wrapping Up

The above is everything you need to know about Microsoft Excel version history. Please feel free to let us know in the comments if you have any further questions. If you found this guide useful, check out the related content below or our premium templates. You can also use the code SSP to save 50% on any template in our paid library.

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