What Is an XLSX File? (2024)

What to Know

  • An XLSX file is a Microsoft Excel Open XML Format Spreadsheet file.
  • Open one with Excel, Excel Viewer, Google Sheets, or another spreadsheet program.
  • Convert one to CSV, XLS, ODS, etc., with some of those programs or a converter like ConvertFiles.com.

This article explains what XLSX files are, how to open them, and which programs are able to convert them to other spreadsheet formats like CSV or ODS.

What Is an XLSX File?

A file with the XLSX file extension is a Microsoft Excel Open XML Format Spreadsheet file. It's a ZIP-compressed, XML-based spreadsheet file created by Microsoft Excel version 2007 and later.

XLSX files organize data in cells that are stored in worksheets, which are in turn stored in workbooks (files that contain multiple worksheets). The cells of a spreadsheet are positioned by rows and columns and can contain styles, formatting, math functions, and more.

Spreadsheet files made in earlier versions of Excel are saved in the XLS format. Excel files that support macros are XLSM files.

What Is an XLSX File? (1)

How to Open an XLSX File

Unless you've purposely installed a program to your computer that can open XLSX files, then double-clicking on one won't do anything useful. Instead, you need to have a specific program on your computer that can recognize the XLSX file.

Although Microsoft Excel (version 2007 and newer) is the primary software program used to both open XLSX files and edit XLSX files, you can install the Microsoft Office Compatibility Pack to open, edit, and save XLSX files using an older version of Excel.

If you have no intention to edit the XLSX file, and you just want to view it, you can install the free Microsoft Excel Viewer. It supports printing and copying data out of the XLSX file, too, which might be all you need to do.

You can also open and edit XLSX files without Excel, completely free, using WPS Office Spreadsheets, OpenOffice Calc, or LibreOffice Calc. If you're on a Mac, Apple Numbers supports XLSX files, too (but not all features will work).

Google Sheets, Microsoft Excel Online, and Zoho Docs are a few other ways you can open and edit XLSX files for free. Going this route requires you to upload the XLSX file to the website before you can make any changes.

If you use the Chrome web browser, you can install Office Editing for Docs, Sheets & Slidesas an extension, which lets you open and edit XLSX files directly in the browser, either by dragging a local XLSX file into Chrome or opening one from the internet without having to download it first.

Installing Chrome extensions is pretty straightforward, but if you need some step-by-step help, we have a guide on how to add extensions to Chrome.

How to Convert an XLSX File

If you have one of the applications we've already mentioned installed on your computer, it's recommended to use that same program to save whatever XLSX you're working with to the specific format you're interested in. This is normally done through the File > Save as menu option.

For example, if you're using Excel, go through its FILE > Save As > Browse menu and chooseCSV, XLS, TXT, XML, etc. The F12 key should also work to get to the Save As window.

What Is an XLSX File? (2)

Sometimes the quickest solution to convert an XLSX file isn't with a tool you have installed, but instead via a free file conversion software program or online service like Zamzar.

Just looking at the capabilities of those two services, you can convert whatever Excel file you have to many different file types, like XLSX to CSV, XML, DOC, PDF, ODS, RTF, XLS, MDB, and even image and web file formats like JPG, PNG, and HTML.

TinyWow can split an Excel file if you want the XLSX file to end up as multiple files. That same site has an Excel to XML converter, and others that can save the file to PDF or CSV.

Still Can't Open the File?

What Is an XLSX File? (3)

The most likely reason for why the file won't open at this point, if you've tried all the suggestions above, is that you're not really dealing with an XLSX file. This might happen if you've only briefly looked at the file extension and are confusing it for an Excel file.

For example, maybe your file really ends in .LSX, in which case it's a Streaming Media Shortcut file and has nothing to do with Excel. Windows Media Player opens LSX files.

Similarly, it'd be easy to confuse an SLX file for one that has the Excel XLSX suffix, but SLX files are also unrelated to Excel and are instead used by programs like Simulink and SpectraLayers.

XLR is another one that's easy to mix up for an Excel file.

If you can't open the file, re-read the extension and research it online. It should be fairly easy to find more information about the format and learn which programs are able to open and convert it. We may even have a description of it here on Lifewire—use the search box at the top of this page to check.


  • How do I read an XLSX file in R?

    To read an XLSX file in R, first copy the data from Excel, then import data from the clipboard into R.

  • How do I read an XLSX file in Python?

    You can read the file with the Python module named openpyxl. Download the openpyxl module, then use the Python import command to read the data from the XLSX file.

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What Is an XLSX File? (2024)


What Is an XLSX File? ›

XLSX file is a Microsoft Excel Open XML

Open XML
Office Open XML (also informally known as OOXML) is a zipped, XML-based file format developed by Microsoft for representing spreadsheets, charts, presentations and word processing documents.
https://en.wikipedia.org › wiki › Office_Open_XML
Format Spreadsheet file. It uses the file name extension . XLSX. Unlike other spreadsheets, you need Microsoft Excel to create . XLSX files.

What is a XLSX file used for? ›

The XLSX, XLS, and XLSB file extensions are used for Microsoft Excel spreadsheets, part of the Microsoft Office Suite of software. XLSX/XLS files are used to store and manage data such as numbers, formulas, text, and drawing shapes.

What is the difference between XLSX and Excel? ›

For compatibility, XLS has higher compatibility than XLSX. XLS is readable by all Microsoft Excel versions while XLSX is only readable by Excel 2007 and later versions. besides, XLS is able to hold the spreadsheets either including Macros or not, while XLSX isn't capable to support Macros.

How to convert Excel file into XLSX? ›

Open the workbook > Navigate to File > Save As > Browse – which will open the below window. Make sure you are in the right path to save the workbook > Choose Excel Workbook (*. xlsx) under Save as type > Select Save.

Is it safe to open XLSX? ›

xlsx are usually much more safe than an . xlsm which is how it will save with custom macros. So again, I'd assume you are safe. If you're worried your friend sent you a virus, that person isn't your friend and you shouldn't trust anything they send you, no matter benign the file type may appear.

What are the disadvantages of XLSX? ›

This appears in the Excel file type list as "Strict Open XML Spreadsheet (*. xlsx)" and, as the name would suggest, it complies more strictly to the Open Document standards. It isn't compatible with some of Excels newer and unique features and therefore not widely used.

What opens XLSX files? ›

Yes, you can open . XLSX files with any version of Excel. You can also open and edit . XLSX files with Google Sheets, as well as several other alternative programmes such as WPS Office and OpenOffice Calc.

What is the advantage of XLSX? ›

An XLSX file can contain a maximum of 16,384 columns and 1,048,576 rows, which is enough to process large volumes of data; Advanced functionality. The XLSX format is compatible with advanced features that are very useful when processing data in spreadsheets.

Why is my Excel file XLSX? ›

In Microsoft Excel, workbooks are saved as Excel Workbooks (. xlsx) by default. You can change the default file format to any other file format that is supported in Excel. For example, if you frequently create macros in a workbook, you may want to automatically save a new workbook as an Excel Macro-Enabled Workbook (.

Should I use XLSX or CSV in Excel? ›

The major differences between Excel XLSX and CSV file format are the file size and the formatting. Generally, I use CSV format to store raw data, and use XLSX format to present the data.

What can XLSX be converted to? ›

Convert from XLSX
  • XLSX to HTML.
  • XLSX to PDF.
  • XLSX to JPG.
  • XLSX to PNG.
  • XLSX to XPS.
  • XLSX to CSV.
  • XLSX to ODS.
  • XLSX to XLS.

Can you convert PDF to XLSX? ›

Follow these easy steps to turn a PDF document into a Microsoft Excel spreadsheet: Click the Select a file button above, or drag and drop a PDF into the drop zone. Select the PDF you want to convert to the XLSX file format. Watch Acrobat automatically convert your PDF to Excel.

How to create an XLSX file? ›

How to Create XLSX in C#
  1. Include the namespace in your class file.
  2. Create Workbook class instance.
  3. Access the first worksheet of the workbook.
  4. Get the desired cell(s) of the worksheet and input the value into the cell(s).
  5. Use Save method to save the workbook as XLSX file.

Why can't Excel open XLSX? ›

It sounds like your file associations for Excel may have become disassociated or are not set correctly. This can lead to Excel not automatically opening . xlsx files when you try to open them. To resolve this issue, you can reset the file associations for Excel.

Can XLSX contain malware? ›

So it's possible to have malware executed even if Excel crashed. It could have executed its payload and ignored the proper clean exit routine, or it could have failed and just crashed Excel.

What is a XLSX used for? ›

The XLSX and XLS file extensions are used for Microsoft Excel spreadsheets, part of the Microsoft Office Suite of software.

What is the difference between a CSV and XLSX file? ›

CSV files are commonly used for data exchange between platforms, making the data “raw” again so it can be processed by different applications. This is the most flexible data format. XLSX is the file extension for a Microsoft Excel Spreadsheet.

How to convert XLSX to pdf? ›

How to convert XLSX to PDF using Excel for Windows.
  1. Open Excel and select the Excel spreadsheet you want to convert to PDF.
  2. Click the File menu at the top-left corner.
  3. Click Export and select Create PDF/XPS.
  4. Click the Options button. ...
  5. Choose your PDF options and click OK.
  6. Name the file and click Publish.

Can I open XLSX in Google Sheets? ›

Once you have clicked “File”, you will select “Import” from the resulting drop down menu. This will allow you to select your desired XLSX file and import it into your Google Sheets workbook.


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