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File formats supported by Excel

You can save an Excel file in a different file format by clicking on the file > to save click below. The file formats available in the Save As dialog box vary depending on the type of sheet that is active (worksheet, chart sheet, or other sheet type).

Note: When you save a file in a different file format, some of its formatting, data, and features may not be carried over.

To open a file that was created in a different file format, either in an earlier version of Excel or in a different program, click File> to open. When you open an Excel 97-2003 workbook, it automatically opens in compatibility mode. In order to be able to use the new features of Excel 2010, you can save the workbook in an Excel 2010. However, you also have the option of continuing to work in Compatibility Mode, which retains the original file format for backward compatibility.

Excel file formats

format

extension

description

Excel workbook

XLSX

The standard XML-based file format for Excel 2010 and Excel 2007. Cannot save Microsoft Visual Basic for Applications (VBA) macro code or Microsoft Office Excel 4.0 macro sheets (XLM).

Excel Macro-Enabled Workbook (Code)

XLSM

The XML-based and macro-enabled file format for Excel 2016, Excel 2013, Excel 2010 and Excel 2007. Saves VBA macro code or Excel 4.0 macro templates (XLM).

Excel binary workbook

XLSB

The binary file format (BIFF12) for Excel 2010 and Excel 2007.

template

XLTX

The default file format for an Excel template for Excel 2010 and Excel 2007. Cannot save VBA macro code or Excel 4.0 macro sheets (XLM).

Template (code)

XLTM

The macro-enabled file format for an Excel 2010 and Excel 2007 Excel template. Stores VBA macro code and Excel 4.0 macro templates (XLM).

Excel 97 - Excel 2003 workbook

XLS

The Excel 97 - Excel 2003 Binary File Format (BIFF8).

Excel 97 - Excel 2003 template

XLT

The Excel 97 - Excel 2003 Binary File Format (BIFF8) for a sample Excel template.

Microsoft Excel 5.0 / 95 workbook

XLS

The Excel 5.0 / 95 binary file format (BIFF5).

XML spreadsheet 2003

XML

XML Spreadsheet 2003 File Format (XMLSS).

XML data

XML

XML data format.

Excel add-in

XLAM

The XML-based add-in format for Excel 2010 and Excel 2007 with macros. An add-in is a complementary program that runs additional code. Supports the use of VBA projects and Excel 4.0 macro sheets (XLM).

Excel 97-2003 add-in

XLA

The Excel 97-2003 add-in is a complementary program for running additional code. Supports the use of VBA projects.

Excel 4.0 workbook

XLW

Excel 4.0 file format that only saves worksheets, chart sheets, and macro sheets. You can open a workbook in this file format in Excel 2010, but you cannot save an Excel file in this file format.

Works 6.0-9.0 spreadsheet

XLR

Table stored in Microsoft Works 6.0-9.0.

Note: This format is only supported in Excel Starter.

Text file formats

format

extension

description

Formatted text (separated by spaces)

PRN

Lotus format with spaces as separators. Saves only the active sheet.

Text (tab separated)

TXT

Saves a workbook as a tab-delimited text file for use on another Microsoft Windows operating system and ensures that tabs, line breaks, and other characters are interpreted correctly. Saves only the active sheet.

Text (Macintosh)

TXT

Saves a workbook as a tab-delimited text file for use on the Macintosh operating system and ensures that tabs, line breaks, and other characters are interpreted correctly. Saves only the active sheet.

Text (MS-DOS)

TXT

Saves a workbook as a tab-delimited text file for use on the MS-DOS operating system and ensures that tabs, line breaks, and other characters are interpreted correctly. Saves only the active sheet.

Unicode text

TXT

Saves a workbook as Unicode text. This is a character encoding standard developed by the Unicode Consortium.

CSV (separator separated)

CSV

Saves a workbook as a tab-delimited text file for use on another Windows operating system, and ensures that tabs, line breaks, and other characters are interpreted correctly. Saves only the active sheet.

CSV (Macintosh)

CSV

Saves a workbook as a tab-delimited text file for use on the Macintosh operating system, and ensures that tabs, line breaks, and other characters are interpreted correctly. Saves only the active sheet.

CSV (MS-DOS)

CSV

Saves a workbook as a tab-delimited text file for use on the MS-DOS operating system and ensures that tabs, line breaks, and other characters are interpreted correctly. Saves only the active sheet.

DIF

DIF

Data interchange format. Saves only the active sheet.

SYLK

SLK

Symbolic connection. Saves only the active sheet.

Note: When you save a workbook in a text format, all formatting is lost.

Other file formats

format

extension

description

DBF 3, DBF 4

DBF

dBase III and IV. You can open these file formats in Excel, but you cannot save an Excel file in dBase format.

OpenDocument Spreadsheet

ODS

OpenDocument Spreadsheet. You can save Excel 2010 files so that they can be opened in spreadsheet applications that use the OpenDocument worksheet format, such as: B. Google Docs and OpenOffice.org Calc. You can also use spreadsheets in ODS format in Excel 2010. The formatting may be lost when you save and open ODS files.

PDF

PDF

Portable Document Format (PDF). This file format preserves document formatting and enables file sharing. If the file is viewed online or printed in PDF format, the intended format 1: 1 is retained. The data in the file cannot be easily changed. The PDF format is also useful for documents that are to be reproduced using commercial printing methods.

Note: This format is used in Excel 2007.

XPS document

XPS

XML Paper Specification (XPS). This file format preserves document formatting and enables file sharing. When the XPS file is viewed or printed online, it is kept in its intended 1: 1 format and the data in the file cannot be easily changed.

Note: This format is used in Excel 2007.

File formats that use the clipboard

You can paste data from the Microsoft Office clipboard into Excel using the "Paste Special" command(TabBegin, Clipboard group, Paste button) if the data on the Office clipboard is in one of the following formats.

format

extension

Identifier for the type of clipboard

picture

WMF or EMF

Images in WMF (Windows Metafile Format) or EMF (Windows Enhanced Metafile Format) format.

Note When you copy a WMF image from another program, Excel inserts it as an extended metafile (EMF).

bitmap

BMP

Images saved in bitmap (BMP) format.

Microsoft Excel file formats

XLS

Binary file formats for Excel versions 5.0 / 95 (BIFF5), Excel 97-2003 (BIFF8) and Excel 2010 (BIFF12).

SYLK

SLK

Symbolic connection.

DIF

DIF

Data interchange format.

Text (tab separated)

TXT

Text format with tab separators.

CSV (separator separated)

CSV

Value format separated by list separators.

Formatted text (separated by spaces)

RTF

Rich Text Format (RTF). Only from Excel.

Embedded object

GIF, JPG, DOC, XLS or BMP

Microsoft Excel objects, objects from properly registered programs that support OLE 2.0 (OwnerLink) and picture or other presentation format.

Linked object

GIF, JPG, DOC, XLS or BMP

OwnerLink, ObjectLink, Link, Image, or other format.

Office drawing object

EMF

Office drawing object format or picture (Windows Enhanced Metafile Format, EMF).

text

TXT

Display text, OEM text.

Single web archive

MHT, MHTML

Single web archive (MHT or MHTML). This file format incorporates embedded graphics, applets, linked documents, and other supplementary elements that are referenced in the document.

Note: This format is used in Excel 2007.

website

HTM, HTML

Hypertext Markup Language (HTML).

Note: When you copy text from another program, Excel pastes the text in HTML format regardless of the format of the original text.

File formats that are not supported in Excel

The following file formats are no longer supported in Excel 2016, Excel 2013, Excel 2010, Excel Starter, and Excel 2007. Files in these file formats cannot be opened or saved.

format

extension

Identifier for the type of clipboard

Excel chart

XLC

Excel 2.0, 3.0 and 2.x file formats

WK1, FMT, WK2, WK3, FM3, WK4

WK1, WK2, WK3, WK4, WKS

Lotus 1-2-3 file formats (all versions)

Microsoft Works

WKS

Microsoft Works file format (all versions)

DBF 2

DBF

dBASE II file format

WQ1

WQ1

Quattro Pro for MS-DOS file format

WB1, WB3

WB1, WB3

Quattro Pro 5.0 and 7.0 for Windows.

File formats that are not in the file in Excel Starter

Additionally, the following file formats are used in this Excel Starter. Files in these file formats cannot be opened or saved.

format

extension

Excel 97-2003 add-in

XLA

Excel add-in

XLAM

Data source name

DSN

Access MDE database

MDE

Office data connection

ODC

Data link file

UDL

Open or view files in unsupported file formats

If a file format you want to use is not supported in Excel, here are a few things to try:

  • Search the internet for a company that makes file format converters for file formats that are not supported in Excel.

  • Save to a file format supported by another program, and then export from that program to a file format supported by Excel.

Do you need more help?

You can always ask an expert in the Excel Tech Community, get support from the Answers Community, or suggest a new feature or improvement on Excel User Voice.

Related topics

Excel formatting and features that are not carried over to other file formats