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

Limiting Entries to Numeric Values

When creating a worksheet, you may need to limit what can be entered into a particular cell. Using data validation you ...

Discover More

Merging Custom Dictionaries

It is possible to develop a custom dictionary on your computer that reflects the types of documents with which you work ...

Discover More

Recording a Data Entry Time

When entering information in a worksheet, it is common to also note a date or time corresponding to the entry. There are ...

Discover More

Program Successfully in Excel! John Walkenbach's name is synonymous with excellence in deciphering complex technical topics. With this comprehensive guide, "Mr. Spreadsheet" shows how to maximize your Excel experience using professional spreadsheet application development tips from his own personal bookshelf. Check out Excel 2013 Power Programming with VBA today!

More ExcelTips (ribbon)

Getting Rid of Empty Rows after Importing

Import data into a worksheet (or paste it there) and you may find that you end up with a group of blank cells you need to ...

Discover More

Full Path Names in Excel

Need to know what the full path name is for the current workbook? With a simple macro you can display the full path name ...

Discover More

Determining the Length of a Text File

When processing plain text files in a macro, it is often helpful to know how much data the file contains. The normal way ...

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 9 + 2?

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.