What Is an XLSX File? 9 Ways to Open It Fast and Easy!

microsoft excel xlsx file example

What is an XLSX file?

An XLSX file is the file format of a Microsoft Excel spreadsheet. Excel files are used to store data as simple as an address list to complex data analysis, charts, and diagrams. In the hands of skilled users an, XLSX documents are powerful tools of analysis and organization.


XLSX vs XLS files. Why are they different?

Microsoft introduced the Open XML standard (XLSX) format in Microsoft Office 2007 to replace the previously used closed proprietary XLS format. Since then XLSX has been the default format used by Microsoft Excel. Believe it or not an XLSX file is actually a zip file containing other files that are bundled together to form on XLSX file.

An XLSX file consists of sheets that are organized into workbooks. Each spreadsheet contains rows and columns of cells, which contain data. Each cell can hold numbers, text, functions that operate on text or numbers, and even images or small charts like sparklines.

microsoft excel xlsx file example

Benefits of using an XLSX file to store data

Excel files allow users to quickly store and analyze complex data sets, pinpoint information, summarize information into charts, and deliver accurate reporting. It is because of this extraordinary power and flexibility that Excel spreadsheets are heavily used in financial and mathematical modeling.

Not only can Excel spreadsheets be easily shared with other users, but they can also hold an impressive amount of data. An XLSX file by default has 3 worksheets with the ability to ad as many worksheets as you desire.  Each worksheet has a limit of 1,048,576 rows and 16,384 columns, which is plenty for the typical user. Prior to the introduction of Excel 2007 each worksheet has a a limit of 65,536 rows and 256 columns.  As you consider the technical limits of the Excel file consider that the typical Excel user will never come close to reaching the technical limits of an XLSX file.

How to open an XLSX document

Since XLSX is an open format, you can use any number of applications to open and edit a file across both Windows, Mac, and Linux. The good news is that you likely already have an application on your computer to help open XLSX files. In addition to the Microsoft Office there are many free or low cost options that are easily available to open, view, and modify XLSX files both on your own computer as well as online.

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