What Is an XLAM File?

How to open, edit, & convert XLAM files

A file with the XLAM file extension is an Excel Macro-Enabled Add-In file that's used to add new functions to Excel. Similar to other spreadsheet file formats, XLAM files contain cells that are divided into rows and columns that can contain text, formulas, charts, images, and more.

Like Excel's XLSM and XLSX file formats, XLAM files are XML-based and saved with ZIP compression to reduce the overall size.

XLAM files

Excel Add-In files that don't support macros might use the XLL or XLA file extension.

How to Open an XLAM File

XLAM files can be opened with Microsoft Excel 2007 and newer. Earlier versions of Excel can open XLAM files, too, but only if the Microsoft Office Compatibility Pack is installed. This can be done in a number of ways.

The first is through the File > Options > Add-ins > Go button, and the other is by using the Developer > Add-Ins menu. See this Microsoft how-to to learn how to enable the Developer tab if you don't already see it.

Macros in an XLAM file may contain malicious code. Take great care when opening executable file formats received via email or downloaded from websites you're not familiar with.

Excel Options screen

The latter method, through the Developer tab, is also used to open COM Add-Ins (EXE and DLL files), via the COM Add-Ins button.

No matter which route you go through Excel's menus, the result will bring you to the Add-Ins window where you can select Browse to load the XLAM file. If your add-in is already listed in this window, you can just put a check next to the name to enable it.

Excel Add-ins and browse screens for opening XLAM files

Another option for opening XLAM files in Excel is to put the file in the right folder for Excel to read from when it opens. This should be:


Some XLAM files that are downloaded from the internet are blocked and can't be fully used in Microsoft Excel. Right-click the file in Windows Explorer and choose Properties. In the General tab, choose Unblock to have full access to it.

If you find that an application on your PC does try to open the XLAM file but it's the wrong application or you'd rather have another installed program open XLAM files, you can make that change in Windows.

How to Convert an XLAM File

There shouldn't be any reason to use a file converter to save an XLAM file to a different format.

See this Excel Forum thread on converting XLAM to XLSM if you want to do that. It involves editing the IsAddIn property to False.

Still Can't Open the File?

If your file won't open at this point, then it's highly likely that you're not dealing with an actual XLAM file. This might be the case if you've misread the file extension, which usually happens when the letters look a lot like XLAM.

For example, the XAML file extension could easily be confused for XLAM even though those files are used with a different program.

AML is another where the file extension might be used for several different file formats, including ACPI Machine Language and Arc Macro Language. However, none of those formats are related to a spreadsheet format usable by Excel, so you can't open AML files in MS Excel like you can XLAM files.

If you're having troubles figuring out what to do, research the actual file extension at the end of your file to learn more about the format it might be in and find download links to the software you need in order to open/edit/convert it.

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