How to Convert an XLS File to XML


XML (Extensible Markup Language) is a text format used in documents that define structured data. It is highly portable between applications. You may want to convert a spreadsheet in an XLS workbook into XML to take advantage of this portability. No external utilities or software are required to perform the conversion.

Things You'll Need

  • Excel
  • Open Excel. Click open the “File” drop-menu and select “Open.” Find the XLS file in the folder tree that opens and double-click it.

  • Open the “File” menu again and select “Save as…”.

  • Change the format to either “XML Spreadsheet” or “XML Data” and save it to the location you select.

Tips & Warnings

  • Number precision, graphics and other formatting are not preserved when you perform the above conversion.
  • Note that you don’t have to change the XLS format to a single spreadsheet, since the XML spreadsheet format allows multiple sheets. The data type you select will depend on what your audience will be able to open. XML Spreadsheet can be opened by older versions of Excel while XML Data can be opened only by versions of Excel after 2002.
  • You can also automate the conversion, if you don’t have access to Excel, for example on a server. (See Resources.)

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