What Is an XLSX File? a Complete Guide to the XLSX File Extension


The file type you use matters. Each has their own pros and cons and uses. Here’s what you need to know about an XLSX file.

Over half a billion people around the world use Microsoft Excel. Even though it’s the most popular spreadsheet program in the world, it can still be confusing to people who aren’t familiar with it.

While there are many file types in Excel, the XLSX file is the default file when you create a workbook. This means your file will be XLSX unless you change it.

So what is an XLSX file, and why does it matter? Keep reading for a complete guide to the XLSX file extension.

XLSX File Basics

An XLSX file type is used in Microsoft Excel, a spreadsheet program used to organize data. As of 2007 and the Office Open XML standard introduction, XLSX is the default file type when creating a spreadsheet.

The default file type is simply the type of file format your data is saved in if no other file format is chosen. There are many other file types you can choose to save your work under in Excel, depending on the type of work you’re doing, including:

  • .xlsm
  • .xlsb
  • .xltx
  • .xltm
  • .xls
  • .xlt
  • .xml
  • .xlam
  • .xla
  • .xlw

Before the XML update, the default file type was XLS. If you have a version of Microsoft Excel from before 2007, you may be creating XLS files when you open a new file.

How to Open XLSX File Types

If you have an updated version of Microsoft Excel, opening an XLSX file is as easy as opening said file with Excel. If you have an older version of Excel, or if you don’t own Excel at all, there are still ways for you to view an XLSX file.

If you’re running an earlier version of Excel, Microsoft has released a compatibility pack so you can open new file types. It simply detects which Microsoft products you have installed and updates those products.

If you don’t have Microsoft Excel installed, you’ll have to open an XLSX file online using an XLSX file viewer. You can open and create an XLSX file in C Sharp without ever installing Microsoft Excel.

This is a quick and easy fix for those who don’t have much use for Excel, but occasionally need to work on an XLSX file.

Creating and Converting XLSX Files

With an updated version of Microsoft Excel, creating an XLSX file is as easy as opening a new file. If you need to convert it using Excel, you can choose to save it as another file type by accessing the File > Save as menu and then save it as the file type you prefer.

Without Excel, you’ll need to use a third party website, like the aforementioned C Sharp program, to create and convert XLSX files. Once you install their program, you can easily create XLSX files or convert them without ever buying Microsoft Excel.

Final Thoughts

Now you should know how to open, create, and convert XLSX file types. Whether you have an updated version of Microsoft Excel, an older version, or none at all, you can access XLSX files and do with them as you please.

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