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 November 10, 2019 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 alternatives to Excel that can be used to both open and edit XLS files include WPS Office and OpenOffice Calc. 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 view and manipulate ones from your computer by dragging them into the Chrome 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 tool. You don't even need a user account to work with XLS files at Zoho — you can upload the file to the website and start making changes immediately. It supports saving back 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. Is your XLS file still unable to open properly? Be sure that you're reading the file extension incorrectly and not confusing an XSL or XSLT file with an XLS file. 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, and other similar formats. 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, converting XLS or CSV directly to XML, JSON, or a number of other similar formats. How to Crack an XLS Password or Unlock an XLS XLS files can easily be password protected 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.