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How do I open files with xls extension when its contents is xml?

asked 2019-03-29 10:08:33 +0200

Superstar gravatar image

updated 2019-03-29 13:01:57 +0200

On several occasions I stumbled upon websites that export to "xls" but it's not an ordinary XLS file. Seems to be some sort of Microsoft XML, but not zipped and packaged like an xlsx file?

I expect LibreOffice Calc to load the spreadsheet but instead it prompt me to do an text import.

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Is there any work-around I can do to make it import properly? I can certainly try to layout it like an xlsx zip file if that's possbile.

LibreOffice Calc Version:


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  1. Try opening with Microsoft 2003 XML selected as the file type.
  2. If does not help, show the file.
gabix gravatar imagegabix ( 2019-03-29 12:33:28 +0200 )edit

@gabix Unfortunately I can't share my file since it contains sensitive information. I tried to edit out the sensitive parts from the file but the original file seems to be encoded in utf-8 but the contents says utf-16 so it's difficult.

Never-the-less I've created a file from the original using a hex editor. I'm going to attach it to the original question if I can

Superstar gravatar imageSuperstar ( 2019-03-29 13:01:36 +0200 )edit

I've tried to select Microsoft 2003 XML when opening the original file. The best result I could get was an error dialog saying "General IO Error".

Superstar gravatar imageSuperstar ( 2019-03-29 13:03:26 +0200 )edit

The file that you have shared opens fine (i. e. no error message) in LibreOffice Calc, but in I get an error message like in your case. So, well, upgrade LibreOffice.

gabix gravatar imagegabix ( 2019-03-29 14:30:17 +0200 )edit

Ok, thank you gabix for your time :)

Superstar gravatar imageSuperstar ( 2019-03-29 14:32:32 +0200 )edit

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answered 2019-03-29 14:36:25 +0200

gabix gravatar image

Reposting as an answer: the file in question should be opened as Microsoft Excel XML 2003, however at least two builds of the LibreOffice 5.x branch throw error messages. But LibreOffice (and, hopefully, other 6.x builds) seem to be fine with the file.

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Asked: 2019-03-29 10:08:33 +0200

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Last updated: Mar 29