Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Excel versions: 2007, 2010, 2013, and 2016. 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: Accessing Old Excel Data.

Accessing Old Excel Data

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated June 3, 2017)

If you have used computers for some time, you have accumulated quite a bit of data over the years. Unfortunately, not all that data is accessible any more. I have very old spreadsheet data stored in Multiplan files, and if I search around a bit longer, I can probably find some disks containing VisiCalc information.

Accessing information stored in old formats can be a big problem. If you update your computer every couple of years—hardware and software—there is a very good chance that you have old data that is essentially lost because you can no longer load it into a program.

There are several approaches you can take if you need to access older data. First, you can install the older versions of the software on your system (if you have the software) and then save the data files in some "exchange" format. For instance, you can save old Multiplan or early Excel information in SYLK format, which can then be read into newer versions of Excel.

Second, you can search through the Microsoft Knowledge Base for information on doing conversions. For instance, when I searched through the Knowledge Base for "Multiplan," I was able to find several pertinent articles that discussed different ways to update information for use with recent versions of Excel. The Microsoft Knowledge Base is available online at this URL:

http://support.microsoft.com/

Third, you could contact a user in your community who has the older version of the software and use their computer to do the upgrade. Many times you can find such users through a local user's group or through a computer store that sells used computer systems.

Finally, there are companies that specialize in doing data conversions. You can search on the Web for such companies and get quotes for updating your data.

ExcelTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training. This tip (11418) applies to Microsoft Excel 2007, 2010, 2013, and 2016. You can find a version of this tip for the older menu interface of Excel here: Accessing Old Excel Data.

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. ...

MORE FROM ALLEN

AutoText Entries Don't Stick

AutoText can be a great tool, but it is of little worth if you can't get Word to remember the AutoText entries you ...

Discover More

Odd & Even Headers and Footers

Adding a running header or footer to a document can be a nice touch. If you want, you can even tell Word to use a ...

Discover More

Applying Consistent Shading to a Table

Formatting tables can be very time consuming. When you get a document from another person, you can spend a lot of time ...

Discover More

Excel Smarts for Beginners! Featuring the friendly and trusted For Dummies style, this popular guide shows beginners how to get up and running with Excel while also helping more experienced users get comfortable with the newest features. Check out Excel 2013 For Dummies today!

More ExcelTips (ribbon)

Determining If a File Exists

Before you have your macro open and read a file from disk, you'll want to check to make sure it is really there. Here's ...

Discover More

Saving a Workbook with a Preview

When you save your workbooks, Excel can also save a preview image (thumbnail) that can be displayed in the Open dialog ...

Discover More

Finding the Size of a Workbook

Keeping tabs on the size of a workbook can be important when using Excel. You have a couple of options that will allow ...

Discover More
Subscribe

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in ExcelTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

View most recent newsletter.

Comments

If you would like to add an image to your comment (not an avatar, but an image to help in making the point of your comment), include the characters [{fig}] in your comment text. You’ll be prompted to upload your image when you submit the comment. Maximum image size is 6Mpixels. Images larger than 600px wide or 1000px tall will be reduced. Up to three images may be included in a comment. All images are subject to review. Commenting privileges may be curtailed if inappropriate images are posted.

What is nine more than 3?

There are currently no comments for this tip. (Be the first to leave your comment—just use the simple form above!)


This Site

Got a version of Excel that uses the ribbon interface (Excel 2007 or later)? This site is for you! If you use an earlier version of Excel, visit our ExcelTips site focusing on the menu interface.

Newest Tips
Subscribe

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in ExcelTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

(Your e-mail address is not shared with anyone, ever.)

View the most recent newsletter.