What Is an XLB File?

How to Open, Edit, and Convert XLB Files

XLB Files
XLB Files.

A file with the XLB file extension is most likely an Excel Toolbars file. They store information about the current setup of toolbars, like their options and locations, and are useful if you're wanting to copy the configuration to a different computer.

If not associated with Excel, the XLB file might instead be an OpenOffice.org Module Information file used by the OpenOffice Basic software for storing macro or component library details.

These types of XLB files use XML formatting and are most likely called script.xlb or dialog.xlb.

The script.xlb file holds the names of the modules in the library, while dialog.xlb is for storing the names of dialog boxes.

How to Open XLB Files

An XLB file can be opened with Microsoft Excel but it's important to realize that it just stores customization information, not actual spreadsheet data. This means you can't just double-click the file and expect it to open with any sort of readable information.

Instead, the XLB file needs to be placed in the correct folder so that Excel will see it when it opens. You should be able to do this by putting the XLB file in the %appdata%\Microsoft\Excel\ folder.

Note: If you're sure your file actually has spreadsheet information like text, formulas, charts, etc., you might be misreading the file extension. Skip down to the last section below for more information on that.

OpenOffice can open XLB files that are OpenOffice.org Module Information files. Since they're text-based XML files, you can also read the contents of the file with a text editor like Notepad++. OpenOffice normally stores them in its installation folder, under \OpenOffice (version)\presets\ and \OpenOffice (version)\share\.

However, there are two XLC files that hold the locations of the libraries and dialog boxes, and they're called script.xlc and dialog.xlc. They're located in the basic folder of %appdata%\OpenOffice\(version)\user\ in Windows.

If you find that an application on your PC does try to open the XLB file but it's the wrong application or if you would rather have another installed program open XLB files, see my How to Change the Default Program for a Specific File Extension guide for making that change in Windows.

How to Convert an XLB File

It might be tempting to want to convert XLB to XLS so that you can open the file like a regular spreadsheet document, but that just isn't possible. The XLB file is not in a text format like XLS files are, so you can't convert the XLB file to any other usable format like XLS, XLSX, etc.

This is true whether your XLB file works with Excel or OpenOffice; neither of those file formats are the same as a workbook/spreadsheet file format.

More Information on XLB Files

You can read more about how OpenOffice Base uses XLB files on the Apache OpenOffice website.

If you're getting errors related to XLB files in OpenOffice (i.e. script.xlb or dialog.xlb), uninstall the extension that prompts the error (through Tools > Extension Manager...), and then reinstall it.

Or you can try to reset your OpenOffice user profile.

Still Can't Open Your File?

If you can't get either of the above programs to open your file, chances are you're either opening it incorrectly or you're not really dealing with an XLB file. Some files might have a file extension that looks an awful lot like "XLB" but really isn't, and that can get confusing when it won't open in the way it's described above.

For example, two file formats that looks like XLB use the XLS and XLSX file extension. They look a bit like XLB since they share two of the same letters, but the latter ones are actual spreadsheet files that can hold readable text, formulas, pictures, etc.

They don't open like XLB files but instead like regular Excel files (double-click them or use the File menu to read/edit them).

XNB and XWB are two other examples of file formats that might confuse you into thinking you have an XLB file. Another is XLC, which is usually an Excel Chart file used by versions of MS Excel prior to 2007 (however, like mentioned above, it might also be associated with OpenOffice, yet it still can't open like an XLB file).