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 May 21, 2021)

4

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. ...

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What is five more than 0?

2021-05-21 22:05:21

Dan D.

You can also look into any number of third party Office compatible programs. Many as able to open older Office files. Things like Ultra Office or Softmaker Office.


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


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