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File Format
Name XLS
Extension(s) .xls
MIME Type(s) application/vnd.ms-excel

XLS is a family of spreadsheet formats native to Microsoft Excel.


Microsoft Office EXCEL 97-2007

The Excel Binary File Format (.xls) Structure is the binary file format used by Microsoft Excel 97, 2000, 2002, and Office Excel 2003. It is also supported by Microsoft Office Excel 2007.

Later Excel versions use XLSX as their native format, though they still support the older format as well.


Version BIFF Version Document type PRONOM Year
Excel 2.x BIFF2 Worksheet fmt/55 1987
Excel 3.0 BIFF3 Worksheet fmt/56 1990
Excel 4.0 BIFF4 Worksheet fmt/57 1992
Excel 5.0 BIFF5 Workbook fmt/59 1993
Excel 7.0 BIFF5 Workbook fmt/59 1995
Excel 8.0 BIFF8 Workbook fmt/61 1997
Excel 9.0 BIFF8 Workbook fmt/62 1999
Excel 10.0 BIFF8 Workbook fmt/62 2001
Excel 11.0 BIFF8 Workbook fmt/62 2003

Handling of date values

Excel stores date values as floating point numbers that represent the number of days since a given start date. According to this piece, the default start dates are different for Excel for Windows (which uses January 1, 1900 and) Excel for Mac (which uses January 1, 1904). On top of this, the 1900 date system also erroneously assumes that 1900 was a leap year. This assumption was introduced on purpose in order to ensure compatibility with a bug in Lotus 1-2-3. In practice this may lead to dates that are off by 4 years and 1 day, depending on the software that is used to read/process the files.


Sample files


External links

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