.XLSM File Extension
Microsoft Excel Macro-Enabled Spreadsheet
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What is an XLSM file?
An XLSM file is a macro-enabled spreadsheet created by Microsoft Excel, a widely-used spreadsheet program included in the Microsoft Office suite. It contains worksheets of cells arranged by rows and columns as well as embedded macros programmed in the Visual Basic for Applications (VBA) language. XLSM files are saved in the Open XML format introduced in Microsoft Office 2007.
XLSM files are .XLSX files with macros enabled. A macro is a useful feature that functions like a script, which allows users to automate repetitive tasks. Excel comes loaded with hundreds of macros but you can also record your own macros, which consist of keystrokes and mouse clicks that execute a specific action, and edit them to make minor changes. Some examples of macro functionality include formatting data in a selected column of a spreadsheet or applying specific mathematical equations to data.
If a user who has utilized macros to create an Excel spreadsheet wants to retain those macros when they re-open or share the document, they must save the document as an XLSM file. XLSM files are saved using the same Open XML-based format used by XLSX files, but XLSM files can store macros, while XLSX files cannot. When you open an unfamiliar XLSM file in Microsoft Excel, the program will typically ask whether you want to enable macros.
How to open an XLSM file
You can open XLSM files in Microsoft Excel (Windows, Mac, Web, Android). Excel 2007 and later versions can open XLSM files by default, and earlier versions can open XLSM files if you have installed the Microsoft Office Compatibility Pack. For security reasons, Excel does not enable XLSM files' macros by default. To enable macros in an XLSM file, click Enable Macros when prompted.
You can also open XLSM files with other spreadsheet applications, including Corel Quattro Pro (Windows), MobiSystems OfficeSuite Pro (iOS, Android), and Google Sheets (web, iOS, Android, Chrome OS).
How to convert an XLSM file
Various spreadsheet applications, including Microsoft Excel and Corel Quattro Pro, can convert XLSM files to other formats.
For example, select File → Save As in the Windows and Mac versions of Microsoft Excel to convert XLSM files to one of the following formats:
- .XLSX - Microsoft Excel Spreadsheet
- .XLS - Microsoft Excel Spreadsheet (Legacy)
- .XLSB - Microsoft Excel Binary Spreadsheet
- .ODS - OpenDocument Spreadsheet
- .CSV - Comma-Separated Values
- .DIF - Data Interchange Format
- .PDF - Portable Document Format
- .RTF - Rich Text Format
- .TXT - Plain Text
- .HTM, .HTML - HTML Webpage
- .XML - Extensible Markup Language
- .MHT, .MHTML - MIME HTML Archive
- .XPS - XML Paper Specification (Windows only)
While XLSM files are typically legitimate Microsoft Excel spreadsheets, they may also be used to distribute and execute malware attacks on victims' computers. To protect against malicious XLSM attacks, never open or enable macros within an XLSM file unless you can verify its legitimacy and source.