How to open XLS File

You have just received a new email from a work colleague, you opened it curious to discover its content but when you did this you found yourself in front of an attached file in XLS format. If this is the case and if you are wondering about the nature of the attachment and how to do it to be able to view it, fear not, I am here ready to explain everything that needs to be done to be able to open XLS files .

Before explaining the alternatives available to achieve your goal, however, I want to explain to you what it is. If you’ve never heard of it, know that XLS files are nothing more than spreadsheets made with Excel , the famous program part of Microsoft’s Office suite. Taking this into account, in order to open this kind of file it is therefore necessary to use programs (even free ones) to create and / or view spreadsheets.

Having clarified this, if you are really willing to find out how to succeed in your intent to open XLS files, I suggest you focus on reading the next chapters, taking care to choose the resource that you think may be the most suitable for your needs. Having said that, I just have to wish you a good reading and, above all, a good job!


  • How to open Excel files on PC
    • Microsoft Excel (Windows / Mac)
    • LibreOffice (Windows / Mac / Linux)
    • Numbers (Mac)
  • How to open Excel files on Android and iPhone
    • Microsoft Excel / Office (Android / iOS / iPadOS)
    • Sheets (Android / iOS / iPad)
    • Other apps to open XLS files
  • How to Open Excel Online File
    • Excel Online
    • Google Sheets
  • How to open Excel file in CSV
  • How to open Excel file with password

How to open Excel files on PC

If you are looking for a good program to open XLS files on Windows , macOS or Linux , take five minutes of free time and check out the software listed below.

Microsoft Excel (Windows / Mac)

I don’t think there is a need to point this out, but by using Excel , the program for processing spreadsheets included in Microsoft Office , it is possible to open XLS files avoiding all the potential compatibility problems that can be encountered using third-party applications ( therefore applications not developed directly by Microsoft).

If you are reading this guide, however, you probably have problems regarding opening XLS files with Excel or, even, you have not yet installed the Office package on your computer. Well, let’s fix it now!

If you have not yet installed Microsoft Office on your PC and you want a hand to do this, know that you can buy a standard copy of the suite by contacting Amazon or the Microsoft store (or even any other electronic store both online and offline. ) or you can download the free 30-day trial of the software from .

If you want to know more about the subject, you can check out my tutorials on how to activate Microsoft 365 and how to download Microsoft 365 for free . I also remind you that a Microsoft account is also required to use Microsoft Office 365 on your PC. If you don’t already have one, you can check out my tutorial on how to create a Microsoft account.

Once you have downloaded and installed Office on your computer, Excel will automatically be set as the default program for opening, viewing and editing spreadsheets. This means that to open XLS files, just click on them twice in a row. Then you will have to wait for Microsoft Excel to start, so as to view the contents of the file.

If you have already installed Excel but the XLS files do not open automatically with the latter (so double clicking on their icon automatically opens another program), restore the association of the XLS files to Excel by proceeding as follows.

If you are using a Windows PC , right-click on any file in XLS format and select Properties from the menu that opens. Then, press the Change button in the window that has opened, select Excel from the list of available applications and click OK to restore the association between Excel and XLS files.

If Excel does not appear in the list of available applications, click on More apps , then on Search for another app on this PC and select the executable "C:\Programmi\Microsoft Office\Officexx\EXCEL.exe".

If you are using a Mac , right-click on any file in XLS format and select Get Info from the menu that opens. At this point, expand the Open with field located in the window that has just opened, select Microsoft Excel from the drop-down menu below and click first on Edit all and then on Continue to restore the association between Excel and XLS files.

LibreOffice (Windows / Mac / Linux)

Calc , an excellent spreadsheet processing program included in LibreOffice , can also be used to open XLS files . In case you have never heard of it, LibreOffice is a free productivity suite, open source, often used as an alternative to Office, which is compatible with Windows , macOS and Linux .

To download LibreOffice on your computer, connect to the official website of the program . After you have downloaded the installation file, follow the on-screen procedure in the setup screen and that’s it! I remind you that the version of LibreOffice for Mac also requires the additional download of the Italian language translation package for the software interface. If you want to learn more about LibreOffice download, installation and translation procedures, I recommend reading this tutorial of mine.

Once the installation procedure is complete, LibreOffice will automatically be set as the default program for opening certain types of files, including Excel sheets. To open an XLS file, therefore, just double-click on its icon and wait for it to be opened in Calc .

If the XLS files are not opened automatically with LibreOffice but with other programs, restore the association between the suite and this type of documents as I explained to you in the previous chapter dedicated to Microsoft Excel (obviously by choosing LibreOffice or Calc instead of Excel from the menu for program selection).

Numbers (Mac)

If you want to know how to open XLS files with Mac , know that you can do it very quickly and easily by using Numbers , the application thanks to which you can create, edit and view spreadsheets part of the productivity suite iWork from Apple.

If Numbers is already installed on your Mac, you can open XLS files simply by double-clicking on the item you want to view. Once this is done, wait for the program window to be visible.

If, on the other hand, it is not installed on your Mac Numbers, you must first download it (which is totally free) via the Mac App Store, by pressing the appropriate installation button. Then wait for the Numbers download and installation to start and complete and then double-click on the file you want to open to view it directly in the program window.

If Numbers is not associated with XLS files, you can solve the problem by right clicking on any file in XLS format and selecting the Get Info item from the menu that opens. Once this is done, expand the Open With field and choose Microsoft Excel from the drop-down menu. Then press the Modify all and Continue buttons to finish. Alternatively, you can open the XLS file by right-clicking on it and selecting Open with> Numbers from the menu that appears.

How to open Excel files on Android and iPhone

Want to know how to open XLS files on Android ? In this case, in the following chapters you will find some useful apps to view the content of this type of file. In fact, you don’t need desktop software to perform this operation, but simply with your smartphone or tablet you can succeed in your goal! Know that the mentioned apps are also useful if you want to open XLS files with iPhone or iPad .

Microsoft Excel / Office (Android / iOS / iPadOS)

Maybe not everyone knows this, but Microsoft Excel is also available as an app for Android and iOS / iPadOS . What is even more interesting is that it is completely free on all devices with dimensions equal to or less than 10.1 ″. For devices with larger displays, an Office 365 subscription is required .

Its features are similar to those of Excel Online (which I’ll tell you about in later chapters ) and, therefore, it lacks some advanced features that you can find on the desktop version of Excel instead . In principle, it allows you to perform the most common operations in Excel, allowing you to work locally or in the cloud on your spreadsheets.

To use the Microsoft Excel app , go to the Android Play Store and download it to your device using the Install button (the app in question is also available in alternative stores ). On the iPhone and iPad , on the other hand, through the App Store , press the Get button and unlock the download and installation of the app with the Face ID, Touch ID or Apple ID password.

Now, using the file manager pre-installed on your device, reach the location where the XLS document is stored, tap on it and, in the box that is shown to you, press the Excel icon , so as to open the file. Alternatively, launch the Excel app, select the Open tab and choose the This device option to locate the file in the smartphone / tablet memory or choose one of the other options to recover the file on OneDrive or other supported cloud storage.

Please note that, in addition to the Microsoft Excel app, you can also download Microsoft Office , available on Android (and alternative stores ) and on iOS / iPadOS . It is an app containing the famous production tools, such as Word , Excel , PowerPoint , Forms and OneNote , obviously limited in their functionality compared to the desktop counterpart.

Downloading this app can be handy if you need to use multiple apps from the Office suite and don’t want to download individual applications. Even in the case of Microsoft Office, the use is free only on devices with dimensions equal to or less than 10.1 ″, otherwise a subscription to Microsoft 365 is required .

Sheets (Android / iOS / iPad)

The mobile version of Google Sheets , which I’ll tell you about in detail in the next chapters , allows you to view, create and edit spreadsheets directly on Google Drive . It also supports offline working mode, allowing you to open XLS files located on the memory of your smartphone or tablet.

The Sheets app is already pre-installed on Android devices , but you can in any case download it from the Play Store if it is not present. On iOS and iPadOS, download the Sheets app from the App Store via the Get button and unlock the download and installation using the Face ID, Touch ID or Apple ID password.

To open a document, using the file manager pre-installed on your smartphone or tablet, go to the folder where the XLS document is located, tap on it and, among the suggested apps, press the Sheets icon . If you have difficulty with this procedure, start the Sheets app , go to the File tab of the device and press on the folder icon to search for the XLS file in the cloud or in the device memory.

Other apps to open XLS files

In addition to the apps I told you about in the previous chapters, know that you can install other apps to open XLS files . Surely those of Microsoft and Google are the most reliable, but you can also fall back on other equally valid solutions, of which you will find the details in the next paragraphs.

  • WPS Office ( Android / iOS / iPadOS ) – a free productivity suite (in its basic version that includes banner ads) thanks to which you can view and edit spreadsheets, text documents and presentations. It supports all major cloud storage services, such as Dropbox, OneDrive and Google Drive.
  • Numbers ( iOS / iPadOS ) – the mobile counterpart of Numbers for macOS. It allows you to view, create and edit spreadsheets in various formats using a series of fairly advanced functions.
  • AndrOpen Office ( Android ) – as the name suggests, this is a port of OpenOffice for Android. In case you’ve never heard of it, OpenOffice is a free, open source productivity suite available for all major computer operating systems (it’s the software from which LibreOffice was born too ).

How to Open Excel Online File

If you can’t (or don’t want to) install programs on your computer, you can still open XLS files using some online solutions . Here are some of the most interesting.

Excel Online

Excel Online is the online version of Microsoft Excel which is accessible from any browser and is completely free. To open XLS files with Office Online, click here to connect to the main page of the service, log in to your Microsoft account and select the item on the Upload and open item located at the top right to select the spreadsheet to open.

Therefore, wait a few moments for the file to be uploaded online (on your personal OneDrive ) and you will be able to view and edit the document using most of the Excel features (except the most advanced ones).

At the end of the changes, you can download the document offline by clicking on the File button located at the top left, selecting the Download as item from the menu that opens and pressing the Download a copy button . If you want to save your changes online only (on OneDrive), you don’t have to do anything, all changes made to the document are automatically saved to the cloud.

Google Sheets

If you are looking for an alternative to Excel Online, I suggest you resort to the use of Google Sheets , the online application of the online search giant thanks to which you can create, edit and view spreadsheets directly from your browser, without having to install nothing on the PC. The service is part of Google Drive , the cloud storage platform of the Mountain View giant, and to access it just use a free Google account.

To open XLS files with Google Sheets, click here to connect to the main page of the service, if necessary log in to your Google account and drag the spreadsheet into the main browser window. Alternatively, click on the New button at the top and select the File Upload item to import the XLS file.

Wait a few moments for the file to be uploaded and, once completed, you can finally view and edit it directly from the browser window. The changes made to the file will be automatically saved online, on Google Drive, but if you want you can download the sheet offline by going to the File> Download menu located at the top left and selecting Microsoft Excel (.xlsx) from the latter.

How to open Excel file in CSV

Do you have a file with CSV extension and want to know if it is possible to open it with Excel ? Of course it is! All you have to do is open the document just as you do with a normal XLS or XLSX file, which I told you about in this chapter.

The next operation is instead to arrange the data so that they are formatted according to a table scheme. Each spreadsheet management software has its own procedure and, therefore, what I advise you to do is to carefully read all the tips I gave you in my tutorial on how to open CSV files.

How to open Excel file with password

If you want to open a password protected Excel file , what you need to do is follow some procedures that will allow you to remove it from the documents in your possession.

In this regard, so that you can have an overview of the tools and actions to be performed, what I advise you to do is carefully read all the information I have provided you in my guides on how to remove Excel sheet protection and how to remove Excel password.

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