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XLS document file – A complete guide to excel files

by Casey Schmidt  |  December 31, 2019

3 min. read
A picture of the XLS logo.

The XLS document file has powerful functions, including ways to help users visualize data. There are a lot of different ways users utilize this spreadsheet file, some of which may surprise you. If you’re looking for different ways to manage an XLS, this guide is for you. First, let’s make sure you have a firm understanding of what the XLS is and how to open it.

What is an XLS document file?

An XLS document file is the standard file extension for any document constructed in the Microsoft Excel software program. The XLS is one of very few document file types that handles spreadsheet documents. It is opened, edited and printed using Microsoft Excel. XLS stands for Excel Spreadsheet.

How to open an XLS document file

The standard option to open an XLS document file is the Microsoft Excel program from Microsoft’s Office suite. This includes all the previous versions of the Excel program including the most recent.

For users without Microsoft products, there are alternatives to open the XLS extension. The most popular choice is Microsoft’s own alternative, ‘Microsoft Excel Viewer’. There’s also third party software available that opens the XLS, as well as built-in browser extensions that allow users to access and edit XLS files.

A screenshot of the Excel interface.
The easiest way to open an XLS is Microsoft Excel but there are alternatives.

Now that you understand the XLS a little more, here are some unique benefits you get from using them.

Benefits of using an XLS

XLS files are optimal for storing information that necessitates sorting in the form of rows or columns. They are capable of handling data, such as text and images. XLS files are most commonly used in a business setting. They’re capable of organizing different user inputs in ways favorable to visualizing and planning future tasks. For example, a user might input data concerning money they make from different jobs they do. They could arrange it in ways that help them prioritize their work.

A powerful way to use XLS files are to assist in analysis of important data. Another way it helps businesses is by providing valuable visuals of a large quantity of data to organize it for future use. Sometimes data is best understood when it’s sorted in a way that allows users to visually separate different pieces of it. XLS provides that opportunity better than other programs.

A screenshot of the XLS startup page.
The XLS helps users visualize complicated data.

How and when to convert an XLS document file

One of the reasons you would want to convert an XLS file is so that you can send it in a more widely-used format. This makes it easier to open and is more professional. It also prevents accidental edits and other unwarranted changes to the original file. What type of file type should you convert to? It seems like the PDF is your best bet.

Converting from an XLS to a PDF document file solves many of the problems people have with XLS, and gives the file a chance to be opened by more users. To convert from an XLS to a PDF:

  1. In Excel with the intended document open, click ‘File’
  2. Click ‘Export’, then select ‘Create PDF’
  3. Choose the content you wish to save to the PDF
  4. Save the file to a location of your choice

The XLS creates organized fields of data to help better visualize information and improve project efficiency. The more you’re able to do with the file, the better your chances of successful projects will be. Make sure you know when and how to use it to cut down on mistakes and boost efficiency.