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)

3

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

Changing Color in WordArt

You can make your document flashier by using WordArt to punch it up. Here's how you can change the color of the text in ...

Discover More

Forcing the Properties Dialog Box to Appear

Do you want the Properties dialog box to appear when you first save a Word document? You can configure Word so that it ...

Discover More

Making All Occurrences Bold

Want to make instances of a given word or phrase bold throughout a worksheet? Here's a way you can make the change quickly.

Discover More

Comprehensive VBA Guide Visual Basic for Applications (VBA) is the language used for writing macros in all Office programs. This complete guide shows both professionals and novices how to master VBA in order to customize the entire Office suite for their needs. Check out Mastering VBA for Office 2010 today!

More ExcelTips (ribbon)

Avoiding Scientific Notation on File Imports

When importing information from a CSV file, you may get unintended results from time to time. Here's how to force Excel ...

Discover More

Creating a CSV File

Need to get your data into a format that can be easily read by other programs? Chances are good that a simple CSV file ...

Discover More

Full Path to Workbook

Need to get the full path of your current workbook into the Clipboard? Excel doesn't make it quite as easy as it used to ...

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 3 + 0?

2020-07-01 06:09:38

Peter Atherton

You can buy floppy disk readers from Amazon, they cost about £25.
https://www.amazon.co.uk/slp/floppy-disk-reader/ybps8srmpfbf7gp

Hope this is of some use.


2020-06-30 21:42:20

John Mann

Problem with loading old software in Window 10 or other recent versions is that the computer likely doesn't have a floppy disk drive, and the old software is probably on floppies. I've got lots of old software I can't use for just that reason, including Excel 4, WordPerfect (2 vesions including the clasic 5.1), earlier versions of Lotus SmartSuit, etc.


2019-07-30 10:28:40

Stu

Or you can load Multiplan in a DOS Box and run it on Windows 10 Pro


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.