How to Open an Excel Spreadsheet If My Computer Does Not Have the Excel Program


If someone sends you a Microsoft Excel document even though you don't have Excel installed on your computer, you don't have to send it back with a "sorry, can't open this" note. You can open the Excel file for basic viewing for free using one of three simple methods.

Things You'll Need

  • Microsoft Free Viewer
  • Google Docs account
  • OpenOffice

Microsoft Excel Viewer

  • Save the Excel file to your computer in a location where you can find it easily. Do not attempt to open the file—just save it and proceed.

  • Download Microsoft's free "Excel Viewer" from the Office website to your computer.

  • Load the Excel Viewer. Click "File" and then "Open" on the main menu to pull up the "Look in" list.

  • Find the file you saved in Step 1, and click "Open" to view the Excel file.

Google Docs

  • Save the Excel file to your computer, then sign up for an account with the Google Docs service. This is a free service that allows you to open Microsoft Office documents in your browser.

  • Click "Upload" on your account dashboard (located in the left-hand pane).

  • Click "Select files to upload" on the next page. This brings up a "File Upload" dialog box. Navigate to the Excel file you saved in Step 1 and click "Open."

  • Press "Start upload" to initiate the conversion. Google Docs will transform the Excel file to a Google document so that you can view the file on your computer.


  • Download OpenOffice to your computer to open the Excel document. This is a free program available online that allows you to open spreadsheet program documents, including Excel.

  • Load the OpenOffice Calc program. Navigate to "File," then "Open" on the main menu.

  • Find the Excel file saved on your computer. You can also make modifications to the Excel file with OpenOffice Calc and save the updated version.

Tips & Warnings

  • If you're having any issues converting your Excel file using the Google Docs method, send the file to yourself in Google Gmail instead. Open the message and click the option to "Open as Google Document" in the message box.

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