What Is an XLB File?

Excel and OpenOffice use XLB files

What to Know

  • An XLB file is a toolbar file used with Excel. Copy it to the correct folder to use it.
  • Other XLB files are OpenOffice.org module information files.

This article describes the two primary file formats that use XLB files. Learn where Excel and OpenOffice store these files, and how to use both.

What Is an XLB File?

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

If not associated with Excel, the XLB file might instead be a module information file used by the OpenOffice Basic software for storing macro or component library details. It uses XML formatting and is most likely called script.xlb or dialog.xlb. The former holds the names of the modules in the library, while the latter is for storing the names of dialog boxes.

XLB Files

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 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 (in most versions of the program) by putting the file in this folder:


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 XML-based text files, you can also read the contents of the file with a text editor

OpenOffice normally stores them in these two folders:

\OpenOffice (version)\presets\ 
\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, here, in Windows:


If you find that an application on your PC tries to open the file, but it's the wrong application or you'd rather have another installed program open it, you can change the default program that opens the file 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 isn't in a text format like XLS files are, so you can't convert it to any other usable format like XLS, XLSX, etc.

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

Deleting an XLB file used by Excel will delete all your toolbar customizations (it's better to rename it to toolbar.OLD). A new XLB file is created the next time you open Excel.

Still Can't Open It?

If you can't get either of the above programs to open your file, there's a good chance you're not really dealing with an XLB file. Some files have an extension after the filename that looks an awful lot like it says "XLB," when it really doesn't. This can make you think it'll open with the programs above.

Take XLS and XLSX as examples. They look a bit like XLB since they share two of the same letters, but both 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 menu to read/edit them).

XNB and XWB are two other examples. 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).

Regardless of the file you're dealing with, research its real file extension to learn more about how to open or convert it.

More Information on XLB Files

If you're getting errors related to these files in OpenOffice (e.g., 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.

See Custom Apache OpenOffice Basic Macros and Libraries for more on this format.

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