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.XLS File Extension

File TypeExcel Spreadsheet

3.9 (641 Votes)
CategorySpreadsheet Files

What is an XLS file?

An XLS file is a spreadsheet file created by Microsoft Excel or another spreadsheet program, such as OpenOffice Calc or Apple Numbers. It contains one or more worksheets, which store and display data in a table format. XLS files may also store mathematical functions, charts, styles, and formatting.

More Information

Screenshot of a .xls file in Microsoft Excel 2019

XLS file open in Microsoft Excel 2019

You may encounter XLS files in home, school, and business environments when organizing, analyzing, manipulating, or visualizing data. Each worksheet included within a spreadsheet consists of a table with rows and columns and the cells in a table may contain manually entered data or the results computed from the data of other cells.

The Microsoft Excel Spreadsheet (XLS) binary format was introduced in 1987 with the release of Excel. XLS files became one of the most common file types for saving spreadsheets until the release of Excel 2007. With this release, Microsoft introduced the Microsoft Excel Open XML Spreadsheet format and replaced XLS files with .XLSX files as the standard file for saving spreadsheets in Excel.

Common XLS Filenames

Workbook1.xls - The default filename Microsoft Excel gives to new spreadsheets prior to Excel 2007, which creates new spreadsheets with the Workbook1.xlsx filename.

How do I open an XLS file?

You can open XLS files with Microsoft Excel in Windows and in macOS. Excel is the best program for opening XLS files because it fully supports the formatting of Excel spreadsheets, which includes data fields and graphs. Excel is also available for Android and iOS devices.

There are a large number of other spreadsheet programs that can open and edit XLS files but they may not fully support the formatting of the XLS spreadsheets. Alternative programs include Corel Quattro Pro (Windows), Apple Numbers (Mac), and OpenOffice Calc (multiplatform).

You can also open XLS files with various web programs. Google Sheets is a great free option that allows you to upload an XLS file and view, edit, save, and convert the spreadsheet.

Open and view .XLS files with File Viewer Plus.

Programs that open XLS files

Updated 7/2/2020

About XLS Files

Our goal is to help you understand what a file with a *.xls suffix is and how to open it.

The Excel Spreadsheet file type, file format description, and Mac, Windows, Linux, Android, and iOS programs listed on this page have been individually researched and verified by the FileInfo team. We strive for 100% accuracy and only publish information about file formats that we have tested and validated.

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