How to Create Backup Copies of Excel Spreadsheets

By Ashley Donohoe

Back up your company's Excel spreadsheets in case of file corruption or loss.
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If your business maintains important Excel spreadsheets, you may want to create backups in case a file gets corrupted, deleted or inadvertently changed. Excel enables you to save a copy of your workbook manually to your hard drive or another storage location. In addition, the program includes the same AutoSave feature found in other Microsoft Office programs, which saves the documents you're working on according to a set frequency, such as every 15 minutes. If Excel crashes before you save the file manually, you can recover your data as of the most recent AutoSave point.

Manually Create Copies

Open the spreadsheet you want to back up in Excel.

Click "File" and select "Save As." Navigate to the location you want to store the backup copy and then type a file name. Backing up files to an external device such as a USB thumb drive or portable hard drive adds extra security because the file will then be stored on two separate drives.

Click "Save" to create a backup copy in the desired location. The backup file then becomes the active spreadsheet, so close it and then reopen the original when you want to make changes to the main spreadsheet.

Automatically Save Backup Copies

Click "File" and then "Options" to access Excel's settings.

Select the "Save" tab to access the program's AutoSave configuration.

Click the check boxes beside "Save AutoRecover information every X minutes" (the default is 10 minutes, but you can change this number using the up and down arrows in the box) and "Keep the last automatically saved version if I close without waving" if these options are not selected. If desired, you can type a new file path in the box next to “AutoRecover file location” to indicate where AutoRecover files are stored.

Click "OK" to apply Excel's AutoRecover settings.


After Excel recovers your spreadsheet following a crash, save it manually.


If you make changes to the original Excel spreadsheet you manually backed up, you need to use the "Save As" process again to create an up-to-date backup copy.

Since the AutoRecover feature depends on the AutoSave frequency you select, continue saving files whenever you make changes. If your computer crashes or Excel stops functioning, you may lose changes made after the most recent auto-save.