Advanced Excel - File Formats


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Save a Workbook in another File Format

When you save an Excel 2013 Workbook, by default it saves in the .xlsx format. Excel 2013 supports saving in other formats, but whenever you save a workbook in another file format, some of its formatting, data, and features might not be saved.

File Formats (File Types) that are supported in Excel 2013 −

  • Excel File Formats
  • Text File Formats
  • Other File Formats

Excel File Formats

Format Extension Description
Excel Workbook .xlsx The default XML-based file format for Excel 2007-2013. Cannot store Microsoft Visual Basic for Applications (VBA) macro code or Microsoft Office Excel 4.0 macro sheets (.xlm).
Strict Open XML Spreadsheet .xlsx An ISO strict version of the Excel Workbook file format (.xlsx).
Excel Workbook (code) .xlsm The XML-based and macro-enabled file format for Excel 2007-2013. Stores VBA macro code or Excel 4.0 macro sheets (.xlm)
Excel Binary Workbook .xlsb The binary file format (BIFF12) for Excel 2007-2013.
Template .xltx The default file format for an Excel template for Excel 2007-2013. Cannot store VBA macro code or Excel 4.0 macro sheets (.xlm).
Template (code) .xltm The macro-enabled file format for an Excel template in Excel 2007-2013. 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 2007-2013. 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 2013, but you cannot save an Excel file to this file format.

Text File Formats

If you save a workbook in any text format, all formatting is lost.

Format Extension Description
Formatted Text (Spacedelimited) .prn Lotus space-delimited format. Saves only the active sheet.
Text (Tabdelimited) .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.

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.
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.

Step 1 − Select the File menu.

Step 2 − Click on the option Save As. You get a choice of places to save the Workbook, both on local devices (e.g. Computer) and internet (e.g. OneDrive).

Step 3 − Click on Computer.

File Menu

The Save As Dialog box opens.

Save As File Types

Step 4 − Click on Save As type. The file formats will be listed.

Save As Types

The file formats displayed depend on the type of active Worksheet in your Workbook (Data Worksheet, Chart Worksheet, or other type of Worksheet).

Step 5 − Click on the File Format you want.

File Formats that Use the Clipboard

You can use the Clipboard to copy data to the clipboard in few File Formats, which you can paste into Excel using the command Paste or Paste Special.

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 2013 (BIFF12).
SYLK .slk Symbolic Link Format.
DIF .dif Data Interchange Format.
Text (tabdelimited) .txt Tab-separated text format.
CSV (Commadelimited) .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.
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 not Supported in Excel 2013

Excel 2013 does not support the following File Formats anymore and 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.

If you have to work with your Workbook data in a program that is not supported anymore, try the following −

  • Search the web for a company that makes File Format Converters for File Formats that are not supported by Excel 2013.

  • Save your Workbook to another File Format that can be opened in the other program. For example, save to an XML spreadsheet or text File Format that the other program might support as well.



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