What Is an XSLT File?

How to Open, Edit, & Convert XSLT Files

XSLT Files
XSLT Files.

 Lifewire

A file with the XSLT file extension is an Extensible Stylesheet Language Transformations file. It's a language that uses XSL instructions to transform and style an XML file.

An XSLT file is a text file and provides rules that an XML file should follow. Among other functions, XSLT can be used for sorting and arranging different parts of the XML file and hiding some elements from displaying altogether. W3Schools.com has some XSLT examples you can look at.

When XSLT files are used with XML files, the original XML file isn't altered in any way. Instead, a new XML file is created. In fact, XSLT files can be used to "transform" not only XML files, but also many other structured documents.

How to Open an XSLT File

You can open an XSLT file in any text editor since it's a text-only file. Windows Notepad is the text editor built-in to Windows and can be helpful if you need to quickly make a change, but it's probably not the best program for doing heavy editing.

Use a Text Editor to open and edit the XSLT file. It structures the XSLT file in a way that makes it much easier to edit and read than with the most basic text editors like Notepad.

Microsoft's Visual Studio is another XSLT opener and editor that simplifies the whole editing process. While you're making changes to the XSLT file, you can view how the transformations will look in the resulting file through the XML menu.

Although they're not free, XMLSpy XSLT Editor and Liquid XML Studio are some other good options.

You may also be able to open XSLT files in a web browser for viewing the code, but doing that won't let you make any edits.

How to Convert an XSLT File

If you open an XSLT file in an editor like Visual Studio, you'll be able to save the file to a number of other formats like XSL, XSD, XML, DTD, CONFIG, and others.

What you may be looking for instead of converting an XSLT file is a way to actually use it for its intended purpose, which is to transform XML files.

XSLT files build documents by combining the instructions of an XSL file and the code of an XML file. You can use FreeFormatter.com's XSL Transformer for this purpose. It supports pasting the XML and XSL values in the website as well as uploading these files from your computer.

Microsoft's Creating XSLT Files has some more information on this.

Additional Information on XSLT Files

A lot more information about how XSLT files are structured, and examples and tutorials on using them, can be found at W3Schools, Quackit. and in the official XSLT specification documentation.

Wikipedia's article on the topic is another good source for advanced information on XSLT files.

Still Can't Open Your File?

One reason you might not be able to open your file with the programs on this page if you're confusing XSLT files with other file formats that use a similarly file extension. Two file formats that look similar don't necessarily work in the same way.

The XSLT file extension looks an awful lot like the file extension found in several other file formats like XLSXXSPF, and XSLIC (XenServer License), but that doesn't mean that the formats have anything in common. If your file isn't opening as an XSLT file using the programs I mentioned above, you might want to double-check what file format you're actually dealing with.