Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Excel versions: 2007, 2010, and 2013. If you are using an earlier version (Excel 2003 or earlier), this tip may not work for you. For a version of this tip written specifically for earlier versions of Excel, click here: Setting the AutoRecover Directory.

Setting the AutoRecover Directory

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated February 7, 2018)


Excel has a feature that causes automatic saving of temporary files, in case there is a problem with your computer. (You know the routine—power goes out, whatever.) This feature is called AutoRecover. When an AutoRecover file is saved to disk, it is placed in a directory that you specify. To change the directory used for saving AutoRecover files, follow these steps:
  1. Display the Excel Options dialog box. (In Excel 2007 click the Office button and then click Excel Options. In Excel 2010 and Excel 2013 display the File tab of the ribbon and then click Options.)
  2. Click the Save button at the left side of the dialog box. (See Figure 1.)
  3. Figure 1. The Save options of the Excel Options dialog box.

  4. In the AutoRecover File Location box, enter the full path of the folder in which you want the files saved.
  5. Click on OK.

ExcelTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training. This tip (6172) applies to Microsoft Excel 2007, 2010, and 2013. You can find a version of this tip for the older menu interface of Excel here: Setting the AutoRecover Directory.

Author Bio

Allen Wyatt

With more than 50 non-fiction books and numerous magazine articles to his credit, Allen Wyatt is an internationally recognized author. He  is president of Sharon Parq Associates, a computer and publishing services company. ...


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What is 1 + 5?

2018-02-28 05:10:35

Phil Brannigan

Hi Allen, we work with Excel files containing confidential data supplied to us by clients, and we have to comply with their data security requirements. We have set up a cloud-based service that allows us to open the files in Excel from the cloud store without downloading them. We can set permissions that enforce this practice. The client is happy with this except for one thing. Although the Excel file itself is not stored on the user's local drive, the temporary and auto-recover files are, and the client wants to know how we can ensure these cannot be used to view the confidential data. Is there a safe way to ensure these files are deleted once the Excel work is complete?

2015-07-07 07:37:42

Thomas Roes

I try setting this autorecover folder to a folder in the user home-directory using management software but...... autorevoverfiles are still created in the default folder (in the roaming profile, so this profiles grow's out off proportion).

This bloats the roaming profile.

Because I set this through management software (I can't/won't ask my users to set this all by themselfs) any manual changes will be overwritten.

The folder I specify does exist. What could be wrong.

2014-07-06 09:01:07


If you have an 'office' setup where the auto-recover file is saved to a Network location you could have a problem if the Network goes down as part of the failure.

2014-07-05 06:58:29


Interesting tip...but is there some advantage to switching the auto-recover file location? Presumably it will work just the same wherever it's filed.

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