Opening Non-Excel Files

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated May 18, 2013)

Excel includes a built-in file filtering system that allows you to open many other types of files automatically. For instance, you may be able to open files originally created in a different spreadsheet program, such as 1-2-3 or Quattro Pro. Notice that I said you "may be able" to do this. The fuzziness here is because your particular installation of Excel may not allow you to load such files. Exactly which filters were installed depends on which options were chosen during installation.

When you attempt to open a file other than a native Excel file, the program attempts to do a conversion to the Excel format. If a conversion is not possible, an error results and you are notified. If Excel needs additional information to do the conversion, you are presented with a series of dialog boxes that allow you to specify the parameters Excel will use when converting information. (This most often occurs when you attempt to load text files.)

The best way to see if Excel will open a particular file is simply to try it. If there is a problem, you can then check the Excel Setup program to see if there is a filter which you can load from your program CD. You can also check Microsoft's Web site (http://www.microsoft.com/) to see if they have a particular filter you may need.

ExcelTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training. This tip (2002) applies to Microsoft Excel 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003.

Author Bio

Allen Wyatt

With more than 50 non-fiction books and numerous magazine articles to his credit, Allen Wyatt is an internationally recognized author. He  is president of Sharon Parq Associates, a computer and publishing services company. ...

MORE FROM ALLEN

Creating Superscript and Subscript Buttons

Want a quick way to apply superscript and subscript to selected text within a cell? This tip shows how the formatting can be ...

Discover More

Footnotes within Footnotes

Need to add footnotes to your footnotes? It's actually allowed by some style guides, but Word doesn't make it so easy.

Discover More

Inserting a Bullet

Need to place a bullet in the middle of a sentence? There are a couple of easy ways you can do this, as described in this ...

Discover More

Solve Real Business Problems Master business modeling and analysis techniques with Excel and transform data into bottom-line results. This hands-on, scenario-focused guide shows you how to use the latest Excel tools to integrate data from multiple tables. Check out Microsoft Excel 2013 Data Analysis and Business Modeling today!

More ExcelTips (menu)

How Excel Treats Disk Files

Workbooks are loaded from disk files, but workbooks aren't the only type of files that Excel can load. This tip provides a ...

Discover More

Finding the Parent Folder

Do you need to figure out the name of the parent folder of whatever folder a worksheet is in? Believe it or not, this can be ...

Discover More

Stopping Date Parsing when Opening a CSV File

Excel tries to make sense out of any data that you import from a non-Excel file. Sometimes this can have unwanted results. ...

Discover More
Subscribe

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in ExcelTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

View most recent newsletter.

Comments

If you would like to add an image to your comment (not an avatar, but an image to help in making the point of your comment), include the characters [{fig}] in your comment text. You’ll be prompted to upload your image when you submit the comment. Maximum image size is 6Mpixels. Images larger than 600px wide or 1000px tall will be reduced. Up to three images may be included in a comment. All images are subject to review. Commenting privileges may be curtailed if inappropriate images are posted.

What is seven minus 2?

There are currently no comments for this tip. (Be the first to leave your comment—just use the simple form above!)


This Site

Got a version of Excel that uses the menu interface (Excel 97, Excel 2000, Excel 2002, or Excel 2003)? This site is for you! If you use a later version of Excel, visit our ExcelTips site focusing on the ribbon interface.

Newest Tips
Subscribe

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in ExcelTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

(Your e-mail address is not shared with anyone, ever.)

View the most recent newsletter.