What Is an XLS File?

How to open, edit, & convert XLS files

A file with the XLS file extension is a Microsoft Excel 97-2003 Worksheet file. Later versions of Excel save spreadsheets as XLSX files by default.

XLS files store data in tables of rows and columns with support for formatted text, images, charts, and more.

XLS Files in a folder

Excel files that are macro-enabled use the XLSM file extension.

How to Open an XLS File

XLS files can be opened with any version of Excel. If you don't have Excel, you can use Microsoft's free Excel Viewer, which supports opening and printing the file as well as copying data out of it.

Several free Excel alternatives can be used to both open and edit XLS files, including WPS Office and OpenOffice Calc.

Opening and editing this file type is easy in the Chrome browser with the free extension Office Editing for Docs, Sheets & Slides. It lets you view 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 the file with the Chrome extension forces it to be stored in the newer XLSX format.

If you're not using Chrome, you can still open and edit the file exclusively online with the free Zoho Sheet. It supports saving to an online account or to your computer in a number of formats, including back to XLS.

DocsPal is another free 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 file in that program and then saving it to a different format. This is by far the fastest way to save to other formats like CSV, PDF, XPS, XML, TXT, and XLSX.

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 that works online to save to MDB, ODS, and others including image formats like JPG and PNG.

If your 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, and a number of other similar formats.

Still Can't Open It?

Is your file still unable to open properly using the suggestions from above? Be sure that you're reading the extension correctly and not confusing an XLR, XSL, XLW, or XSLT file with an XLS file.

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 one that's been protected with a "password to open" password. One free tool you can try that should find the password is Word and Excel password recovery wizard.

Although not free, Excel Password Recovery Lastic is another option.

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