What file formats can Microsoft Excel open?

Teodor Nechita
by Teodor Nechita
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Excel

Anyone that uses a PC for either school or work will need to use a spreadsheet sooner or later. While there are plenty of spreadsheet programs out there, few can rival Microsoft’s very own Excel in terms of popularity and versatility.

This neat little tool is part of the Microsoft Office Suite and contains all the tools that you will ever need to create and manage spreadsheets that you can later use in databases.

Of course, it doesn’t matter how popular a program is, it is impossible for everyone to know everything about it.

That is why there are still plenty of users out there that don’t know what are the supported file formats that Microsoft Excel can handle.

What file types can Microsoft Excel handle?

1. Excel file formats

Excel has several proprietary file formats that stem from the various spreadsheet types it can create. Additionally, new formats appeared as newer and newer versions of Excel were launched.

Excel Workbook
.xlsx
XML Spreadsheet 2003
.xml
Excel Macro-Enabled Workbook (code)
.xlsm
XML Data
.xml
Excel Binary Workbook
.xlsb
XML Data format.
.xlam
Template
.xltx
Excel 97-2003 Add-In
.xla
Template (code)
.xltm
Excel 4.0 Workbook
.xlw
Excel 97- Excel 2003 Workbook or Template
.xls
.xlt
Works 6.0-9.0 spreadsheet
.xlr
Microsoft Excel 5.0/95 Workbook
.xls

2. Text file formats

As you know, you cannot create a spreadsheet without any text, so Excel is designed to handle several very popular text files types.

Formatted Text (Space-delimited)
.prn
Text (Tab-delimited, Macintosh, MS-DOS)
.txt
Unicode Text
.txt
CSV (Comma delimited, Macintosh, and MS-DOS)
.csv
DIF
.dif
SYLK
.slk

3. Other file formats

Microsoft Excel is made to handle other popular file formats as well. PDFs can be opened and placed within a spreadsheet.

Additionally, a lot of times you may want to print your spreadsheet, so XPS files are also supported.

DBF 3, DBF 4
.dbf
OpenDocument Spreadsheet
.ods
PDF
.pdf
XPS Document
.xps

Other software tools that are similar to Microsoft Excel

As far as PDF files go, Microsoft Excel is pretty good but it isn’t the best available. For better alternatives in opening PDF files, check out these neat tools:

In addition to these formats, Excel supports even more file formats, but only for use in the clipboard, such as when you Copy-Paste an image file inside your document. These include JPG, BMP, HTM and HTML, and more.

Are you surprised by just how many file formats Microsoft Excel can support? Let us know what you think in the comments section below.

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