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The simple answer to the question "Is there a practical limit to spreadsheet size for conversion?" is yes, however determining that limit is more complex. Eventually any office document can be made so large or complex as to become cumbersome. Since a lot of XML data can be stored in an XLSX file, you will need to more clearly specify what "large spreadsheet" means. There are various methods of providing details:

  • File (.xlsx) size in kilo/megabytes (kB/MB).
  • XLSX content (/xl/comments1.xml, /xl/sharedStrings.xml, /xl/styles.xml, /xl/workbook.xml, /xl/theme/theme1.xml, /xl/worksheets/sheet1.xml, etc.) size in kilo/megabytes (kB/MB).
  • Number of sheets per 'typical' spreadsheet.
  • Number of row/columns per 'typical' spreadsheet.
  • Extent of formatting (fonts, borders, colours, styles, etc.) in use.
  • Degree and complexity of formula use.
  • Degree and complexity of macros and other complex elements.

That will give others a better idea of where certain limits lie. While LO Calc support of the XLSX format is improving all the time, there are still numerous outstanding bugs (e.g., here is a list for 'FILESAVE+xlsx+hang'. A few bugs with decent example files include:

  • FDO#30770: UI unresponsive during import/export; example file is ~500kB; /xl/styles.xml is 6.5MB.
  • FDO#49120: XLSX corruption on export/save; example file and components are all small.
  • FDO#56394: Unable to export/save; example file is large (9.5MB); /xl/worksheets/sheet1.xml is 32.4MB; /xl/sharesStrings.xml is 6.9MB; /xl/styles.xml is 6.4MB.