Software & Apps File Types What Is an XLS File? How to open, edit, & convert XLS files by Tim Fisher General Manager, VP, Lifewire.com Tim Fisher has 30+ years' professional technology support experience. He writes troubleshooting content and is the General Manager of Lifewire. our editorial process Facebook Twitter LinkedIn Tim Fisher Updated on April 13, 2020 reviewed by Jerrick Leger Lifewire Tech Review Board Member Jerrick Leger is a CompTIA-certified IT Specialist with more than 10 years' experience in technical support and IT fields. He is also owns an IT firm in Texas serving small businesses. our review board Article reviewed on Jun 28, 2020 Jerrick Leger File Types Design Cryptocurrency MS Office Windows Linux Google Drive Apps File Types Backup & Utilities View More Tweet Share Email A file with the XLS file extension is a Microsoft Excel 97-2003 Worksheet file. Later versions of Excel save spreadsheet files in the XLSX format by default. XLS files store data in tables of rows and columns with support for formatted text, images, charts, and more. Microsoft Excel files that are macro-enabled files use the XLSM file extension. How to Open an XLS File XLS files can be opened with any version of Microsoft Excel. You can open XLS files without Microsoft Excel using Microsoft's free Excel Viewer, which supports opening and printing XLS files, as well as copying data out of them. Several free Excel alternatives that can be used to both open and edit XLS files include WPS Office and OpenOffice Calc. 9 Free Alternatives to Microsoft Office Opening and editing XLS files is very easy in the Chrome web browser with the free extension called Office Editing for Docs, Sheets & Slides. You can open and edit XLS files you find online without having to download them to your computer, as well as open ones from your computer by dragging them into the browser. Saving XLS files this way using the Chrome extension forces them to be stored in the newer XLSX format. If you're not using Chrome, you can still open and edit XLS files exclusively online with the free Zoho Sheet. It supports saving the file to an online account or to your computer in a number of formats, including back to XLS. DocsPal is another free XLS viewer that's purely a viewer, not an editor. Since it runs online without needing any installation, it works in all browsers and operating systems. How to Convert an XLS File If you're already using one of the spreadsheet programs we've already mentioned, converting is easiest via opening the XLS file in that program and then saving it to a different format. This is by the far the fastest way to convert XLS files to other formats like CSV, PDF, XPS, XML, TXT, XLSX, PRN, etc. If you don't have an XLS editor installed, or don't want to install one, using a free document converter is another option. Zamzar is one example of a free online XLS file converter that converts XLS to MDB, ODS, and others including image formats like JPG and PNG. If your XLS file has data that you need in an open, structured format, the Mr. Data Converter online tool is a great option. It converts XLS to XML, JSON, or a number of other similar formats. How to Crack an XLS Password or Unlock an XLS You can easily password protect XLS files using a program like Excel. You can also use the same program to remove the password. However, what do you do if you've forgotten the password to your XLS file? A free password recovery tool can be used to unlock an XLS file that's been protected with a "password to open" password. One free tool you can try that should find the password to an XLS file is the free Word and Excel password recovery wizard. Although not free, Excel Password Recovery Lastic is another option. Still Can't Open the File? Is your file still unable to open properly using the suggestions from above? Be sure that you're reading the file extension correctly and not confusing an XLR, XSL, XLW, or XSLT file with an XLS file.