Opening Non-Excel Files

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated August 8, 2020)

2

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

Paragraph Formatting Shortcuts

Paragraphs are one of the elemental building blocks in a Word document. Formatting those paragraphs is easy to do if you ...

Discover More

Undesired Font in Form Fields

If you get unwanted formatting in your form fields, it could be because of the way you are formatting the line on which ...

Discover More

Moving Building Block Templates

Not all templates are created equal. Word uses two special templates for storing building blocks. If you want to move ...

Discover More

Excel Smarts for Beginners! Featuring the friendly and trusted For Dummies style, this popular guide shows beginners how to get up and running with Excel while also helping more experienced users get comfortable with the newest features. Check out Excel 2013 For Dummies today!

More ExcelTips (menu)

Importing Multiple Files to a Single Workbook

If you use Excel to work with data exported from another program, you might be interested in a way to import a large ...

Discover More

Importing Many Files Into Excel

Importing a single file is easy. Importing a whole slew of files can be much more of a challenge.

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 ...

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 8 - 8?

2021-04-30 10:21:16

Art

I wonder if, when attempting to "Open" through Excel, there was a way to see all types of files in the directory, not only Excel files. I understand that you can select option "all files" and then this will work. But that can get time-consuming if you have to open non-excel files on a regular basis.


2020-08-09 18:36:00

May

I use Lotus 123...a while ago I was able to "convert" my 123 files to Excell, and then all of a sudden they stopped with the conversions. I do have the "old" and the new files under Excell. Maybe you can tell by the ICON any suggestions you have...will try to include them here, but not sure if I can!
Save the workbook in the default file format (small x in upper left corner)
Save a copy of the workbook that is fully compatible with Excel 97-2003 ( Large X in upper left corner)
I have saved the Compatible with 97-2003 files, but not sure they will let me make changes to them, ie; update them


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.