File formats that are supported in Excel

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

Note: Whenever you save a file in another file format, some of its formatting, data, and features might not be transferred.

To open a file that was created in another file format, either in an earlier version of Excel or in another program, click File > Open. If you open an Excel 97-2003 workbook, it automatically opens in Compatibility Mode. To take advantage of the new features of Excel 2010, you can save the workbook to an Excel 2010 file format. However, you also have the option to continue to work in Compatibility Mode, which retains the original file format for backward compatibility.

Excel file formats

Format

Extension

Description

Excel Workbook

.xlsx

The default XML-based file format for Excel 2010 and Excel 2007. Cannot store 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. Stores VBA macro code or Excel 4.0 macro sheets (.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 store VBA macro code or Excel 4.0 macro sheets (.xlm).

Template (code)

.xltm

The macro-enabled file format for an Excel template Excel 2010 and Excel 2007. Stores VBA macro code or Excel 4.0 macro sheets (.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 an 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 and macro-enabled Add-In format for Excel 2010 and Excel 2007. An Add-In is a supplemental program that is designed to run 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, a supplemental program that is designed to run additional code. Supports the use of VBA projects.

Excel 4.0 Workbook

.xlw

An Excel 4.0 file format that saves only 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 to this file format.

Works 6.0-9.0 spreadsheet

.xlr

Spreadsheet saved in Microsoft Works 6.0-9.0.

Note: This format is supported in Excel Starter only.

Text file formats

Format

Extension

Description

Formatted Text (Space-delimited)

.prn

Lotus space-delimited format. Saves only the active sheet.

Text (Tab-delimited)

.txt

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

Unicode Text

.txt

Saves a workbook as Unicode text, a character encoding standard that was developed by the Unicode Consortium.

CSV (comma delimited)

.csv

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

CSV (Macintosh)

.csv

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

CSV (MS-DOS)

.csv

Saves a workbook as a comma-delimited text file for use on the MS-DOS operating system, and ensures that tab characters, 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 Link Format. Saves only the active sheet.

Note: If you save a workbook in any 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 files formats in Excel, but you cannot save an Excel file to dBase format.

OpenDocument Spreadsheet

.ods

OpenDocument Spreadsheet. You can save Excel 2010 files so they can be opened in spreadsheet applications that use the OpenDocument Spreadsheet format, such as Google Docs and OpenOffice.org Calc. You can also open spreadsheets in the .ods format in Excel 2010. Formatting might be lost when saving and opening .ods files.

PDF

.pdf

Portable Document Format (PDF). This file format preserves document formatting and enables file sharing. When the PDF format file is viewed online or printed, it retains the format that you intended. Data in the file cannot be easily changed. The PDF format is also useful for documents that will be reproduced by using commercial printing methods.

Note: This format is not supported 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 online or printed, it retains exactly the format that you intended, and the data in the file cannot be easily changed.

Note: This format is not supported in Excel 2007.

File formats that use the Clipboard

You can paste data from the Microsoft Office Clipboard into Excel by using the Paste or Paste Special command (Home tab, Clipboard group, Paste button) if the Office Clipboard data is in one of the following formats.

Format

Extension

Clipboard type identifiers

Picture

.wmf or .emf

Pictures in Windows Metafile Format (WMF) or Windows Enhanced Metafile Format (EMF).

Note    If you copy a Windows metafile picture from another program, Excel pastes the picture as an enhanced metafile.

Bitmap

.bmp

Pictures stored in Bitmap format (BMP).

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 Link Format.

DIF

.dif

Data Interchange Format.

Text (tab-delimited)

.txt

Tab-separated text format.

CSV (Comma-delimited)

.csv

Comma-separated values format.

Formatted text (Space-delimited)

.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 another presentation format.

Linked object

.gif, .jpg, .doc, .xls, or .bmp

OwnerLink, ObjectLink, Link, Picture, 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 File Web Page

.mht, .mhtml

Single File Web Page (MHT or MHTML). This file format integrates inline graphics, applets, linked documents, and other supporting items referenced in the document.

Note: This format is not supported in Excel 2007.

Web Page

.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. You cannot open or save files in these file formats.

Format

Extension

Clipboard type identifiers

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 supported in Excel Starter

Additionally, the following file formats are no longer supported in Excel Starter. You cannot open or save files in these file formats.

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

Opening or viewing unsupported file formats

If a file format that you want to use is not supported in Excel, you can try the following:

  • 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 that another program supports and then export from that program into a file format that Excel supports.

Need more help?

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

See Also

Excel formatting and features that are not transferred to other file formats

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