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File Formats in MS Excel

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  • Last Updated : 23 Jan, 2023
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Microsoft created and released the spreadsheet program known as Excel. It comes from the Microsoft Office family of productivity programs. Excel groups data into columns and rows as opposed to a word processor like Microsoft Word. A cell is a location where rows and columns cross. Data, such as text, a number, or a formula, are contained in each cell. They might not be able to display every feature of a file, programs that are compatible with a file format can present an overview of a file. When we want to save our files, we will have numerous file formats including Excel workbooks, templates, etc. These file formats are divided into various types, including Excel, Word, and PowerPoint presentations.

File formats in Excel are of various types, but to determine how many formats exist in Excel, we must follow the procedure outlined below: 

Step 1: Click on the file option at the top of the ribbon.

Click on the file option.


Step 2: Select the Save As option. The Workbook can be saved on local devices (like a computer) and the internet (e.g. OneDrive).

Select the Save As option.


Step 3: Click on the option Browse and save as the dialog box opens. 

save as dialog box open.


Step 4: Choose the Save As option and you will see a list of file formats. Depending on the type of active Worksheet in your Workbook, several file types will be displayed (Data Worksheet, Chart Worksheet, or another type of Worksheet).

Select the desired file format.


Step 5: Select the desired file format by clicking.

Excel File Formats

Excel Workbook

Extension: .xlsx

Spreadsheet files were created using Excel version 2007 and later have this extension. Currently, the default file extension for Excel files is XLSX. XML is the foundation of the file format XSLX. With the aid of this technology, XSLX files are significantly lighter and smaller than XLS files, which immediately results in space savings. Excel documents may be downloaded or uploaded more quickly. The only drawback of this XSLX extension is that it cannot open files created before Excel 2007.

Excel Macro-Enabled Workbook

Extension: .xlsm

With Excel 2007 and later, including Excel macros, the spreadsheet produces files with this suffix. It’s simple to deduce that a file contains a macro with the aid of an extension. This version was created for security purposes to prevent computer viruses, harmful macros, infecting machines, etc. from accessing a file. When it comes to security and macros, this file extension is quite dependable.

Excel Binary Workbook

Extension: .xlsb

When it comes to compressing, storing, opening, etc., this file extension type completely supports excel files that include a lot of data or information. It takes a lot of time to open and process an excel file with a lot of data. It occasionally hangs while opening and regularly crashes.


Extension: .xltx

A template made by the spreadsheet program Microsoft Excel, part of the Microsoft Office family, is known as an XLTX file. It has predetermined layout options that may be used to produce several Excel spreadsheets (typically.XLSX files) with the same formatting and characteristics. XLTX files that give you a head start when making spreadsheets like bills, calendars, and budget plans. Additionally, you may make unique templates using your spreadsheets.

Template (code)

Extension: .xltm

A Microsoft Excel spreadsheet template with macro support is known as an XLTM file. It may also keep settings, spreadsheet data, and information about the layout in addition to one or more macros. When looking to generate several spreadsheets (primarily. XLSM) with the same data and style, Excel users save spreadsheets as XLTM files.
XLTX files and XLTM files are related. XLTM files, on the other hand, enable macros, which are collections of instructions that a user has organized so they may swiftly carry out a time-consuming or difficult operation, including formatting a document, inputting data, or conducting computations.

Excel Add-In

Extension: .xlam

The spreadsheet program Microsoft Excel, part of the Microsoft Office family, uses XLAM files, and add-ins that support macros. It is used in Excel to add new features and instructions. While some XLAM files are produced by Microsoft, others are produced by Excel users and third-party developers. Microsoft Excel users can add more features since different users use the program for various, specialized purposes. Users must install an XLAM file-based Excel add-in to add this functionality.

XML Spreadsheet 2003

Extension: .xml

A plain text document is an XML file, and to distinguish them, they are saved with the.xml file extension. The XML file format was created to convey data over the internet and can hold hundreds of entries in the computation. Either humans or machines can read it.. The majority of programming languages make use of XML libraries to do the parsing. Down-converting is the process of converting XML files to other required forms.

XML Data

Extension: .xml

Other description languages like RSS, DOCX format, XSL, and Microsoft don’t employ XML as a format. The text editor notepad++ can open this XML file natively. We need to have a few interactions with the various file organizations to manage the different file formats. The only organization that is required for data and web pages is XML. Next, you could double-click the browser—the file’s default viewer—on occasion to examine a file.

Microsoft Excel 5.0/95 Workbook

Extension: .xls

A spreadsheet file, known as an XLS file, can be produced by Microsoft Excel or exported by another spreadsheet application, like OpenOffice Calc or Apple Numbers. It includes one or more worksheets that store and present data as tables. The Microsoft Excel Spreadsheet (XLS) binary format was introduced together with the initial 1987 version of Excel. Up to the introduction of Excel 2007, XLS files became one of the most used file formats for preserving spreadsheets. Microsoft replaced XLS files with the Microsoft Excel Open XML Spreadsheet (XLSX) format with this version. Excel spreadsheets are often saved in XLSX files.

Excel 4.0 Workbook

Extension: .xlw

Workspace files, which are saved in the well-known spreadsheet program Microsoft Excel, have the .xlw file extension. Workbook file references and screen locations are stored in files with the .xlw extension. When .xlw files are opened, the program can move them back to the spot on the screen where they were stored. .xlw files are essential for restoring layouts when a user is working on many workbooks at once. .xlw files only refer to workbook layouts on the screen, therefore they should not be mistaken for files that contain workbook data. These files are primarily utilized by Microsoft Excel 2010 and 2011, and users need to have all workbook files to correctly reopen these files.

Works 6.0-9.0 spreadsheet

Extension: .xlr

The file format specifications for XLR files were not made publicly available and were instead kept as binary files. Developers are consequently unable to examine the file system and create programs that read from and write to these files programmatically. The Works Spreadsheet saves data to.xlr files using the same Excel file format.

Text File Formats

Formatted Text (Space-delimited)

Extension: .prn

A PRN file is one that was made using the Print to File checkbox that may be found in several Windows Print dialogue boxes. A printer, fax machine, or other device utilizes it to print a document because it contains a set of device-specific instructions. Depending on the device the file was produced for, PRN files may include text or binary information.

Text (Tab-delimited)

Extension: .txt

An ordinary text document with simple text is known as a TXT file. Any text-editing or word-processing application may open and edit it. The most widely used text editors for producing TXT files are Apple TextEdit and Microsoft Notepad, which come pre-installed with Windows and macOS, respectively. TXT files are plain text files with very little to no formatting. They are utilized to manage manuscripts, detailed instructions, notes, and other text-based information.
When a user of TextEdit saves a document as a TXT file, those applications remove the document’s formatting (bolding, italicization, font style, alignment, etc.). Most users don’t store more complex text documents, including flyers, reports, letters, or resumes, as TXT files. Instead, they save them as other types of files.

Text (Macintosh)

Extension: .txt

This function guarantees that tab characters, line breaks, and other characters are properly understood when a workbook is saved as a tab-delimited text file for usage on the Macintosh operating system. only saves the active sheet.

Text (MS-DOS)

Extension: .txt

Ensures that tab characters, line breaks, and other characters are properly understood when saving a workbook as a tab-delimited text file for use on the MS-DOS operating system. only saves the active sheet.


Extension: .dif

Data interchange format, or DIF for short, is a widely accepted standard for exporting spreadsheets. Users can export data from a spreadsheet in a format that can be loaded by several other programs using DIF files. The format has the drawback of not supporting numerous spreadsheets. This indicates that just one spreadsheet may be stored in a DIF file. As a result, you will need to make numerous DIF files if you wish to export many spreadsheets in the DIF format.

Unicode Text

Extension: .txt

The workbook can be saved as Unicode text, a character encoding standard created by the Unicode Consortium.


Extension: .slk

A file stored in the Symbolic Link (SYLK) format, developed by Microsoft to transmit data between spreadsheet applications and other databases, is referred to as an SLK file. It has semicolons between lines of text that describe the cell row, column, layout, and content. An ANSI text file format is used to hold SLK files. SYLK (Symbolic Link) codes, such “E,” which stands for an expression within a cell, are used to record complex formulae.

CSV (comma delimited)

Extension: .csv

The Comma Separated Value (CSV) file extension is frequently used to identify files in this format. An easy text format for a database table is a comma-separated values file. A row in the table is represented by one line in the CSV file. Fields from different table columns are separated inside the line by commas. The CSV file format is straightforward and is accepted by a wide range of software. Moving tabular data between two separate computer applications sometimes involves the usage of csv files.

CSV (Macintosh)

Extension: .csv

Ensures that tab characters, line breaks, and other characters are properly understood when saving a workbook as a comma-delimited text file for usage on the Macintosh operating system. Only saves the active sheet.


Extension: .csv

Ensures that tab characters, line breaks, and other characters are properly understood when saving a workbook as a comma-delimited text file for use on the MS-DOS operating system. only saves the active sheet.

Other File Formats


Extension: .pdf

Format for Portable Documents (PDF). This file format allows file sharing and maintains document layout. The format that you intended is kept when the PDF file is printed or read online. The file’s data cannot be readily altered. For papers that will be printed using professional printing techniques, the PDF format is also beneficial. Note: Excel 2007 does not support this format.

Open document spreadsheet

Extension: .ods

The spreadsheet in OpenDocument. You can save Excel 2010 files so they can be opened in spreadsheet software like Google Docs and Calc which supports the OpenDocument Spreadsheet format. Additionally, Excel 2010 supports opening spreadsheets in the. ods format. When. ods, files are opened and saved, and formatting could be lost.

DBF 3, DBF 4

Extension: .dbf

The database management system program dBASE uses a standard database file called a DBF. It divides the information into several records with fields kept in an array data type. Due to the ubiquity of the file format, other “xBase” database tools are also compatible with DBF files. DBF files have been extensively embraced as a standard storage format for structured data in business applications due to their early adoption in the database community and a very simple file layout.

XPS Document

Extension: .xps

XML paper specification files are the ones with the .XPS suffix. These files have a predefined layout and are used to safeguard the accuracy of the data they contain. The sole distinction between them and the well-known PDF file format is the .XPS format’s usage of XML standards for its file structure. The data in your file may be read, shared, and modified using XPS files, which are simple to distribute online. It has become a well-liked substitute for the PDF file format as a result. Any software that runs on Windows and has printing capabilities may produce XPS files.

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