XLSX, XLSM, XLSB, XLS or XLAM, : Which File Type Is the Best for You?

I am sure you know about excel but not about their formats. If you have no idea about excel File extensions, this is the tailor-made article for you. In a general case scenario, you must have seen the xlsx file format in excel. When you try to save the unsaved workbook excel automatically saves it as an “xlsx” file.

Note: When we save the existing file with the different excel file format (extension), some of the features of the existing file might not be transferred to the new file extension.

Where to Find File Extensions in Excel?

You must be thinking where these file formats are. These file formats are available when you see the save dialogue box. Under the Save as type, we can see many of the available file formats in the computer system.

If you look at the above image, the first extension operating system recognizes is Excel Workbook (*.xlsx) format, and all the other remaining formats follow after.

Top 5 Excel file Formats

Below are some of the Top file formats for excel. Follow this article to explore some of them.

#1 – XLSX

The default excels format is XLSX; when you hit save as option, excels, by default, recognizes this extension. This is the replacement of the earlier extension called XLS. This is the most popular excel file extension for the non-macro file.

Below is the image which shows how the file is saved under this method.

#2 – XLSM

This excel file format is used for a VBA Macro file. If you are working with macro in excel, you need to change the excel extension to enable the smooth flow of macro running. This is the default extension type for macro containing workbook.

XLSX does not support the macro code. In order to run the macros, you need to save the workbook as a macro-enabled workbook.

While saving the workbook, we need to select the file type as Excel Macro-Enabled Workbook.

#3 – XLSB

Often in excel, we face the issue of too much of the data, and excel fil slows down. If the excel is saved in the form of XLSX or XLSM excel, the workbook tends to slow down.

XLSB means Excel Binary Workbook. If you save the workbook as a binary workbook, it will reduce the weight of the workbook.

Look at the below image an excel workbook saved in the form of XLSX, and the total workbook weight is 63.4 Kb.

Now I will save this file as Excel Binary Workbook.

Now, look at the size of the workbook.

So excel binary workbook reduces the workbook size to 59.4 kb. In the case of a large file, it reduces the size of the workbook by 50%.

#4 – XLS

Probably you will not see this kind of excel file format these days. This file is saved for binary workbook of Excel 97 to Excel 2003 binary format.

#5 – XLAM

This is the Excel Add-in. Excel Add-ins are extra features we are adding to the excel workbook. Excel has many built-in features; on top of these available features, we create some macros and make the excel talk according to our wish.

Once the macro is created, we need to save the file as Excel Add-in. Once the workbook is saved as Add-in, click on Developer Tab > Excel Add-in a select the additional feature created by a user-defined function.

Other Additional Excel File Formats

We have seen the top five file formats on top of these; there are many other additional extensions available.

  1. XLC: Excel Chart Type
  2. XLT: Excel Template
  3. XLD: Excel DataBase
  4. XLK: Excel Back up

Comparison of file types

So if we put all the advantages, disadvantages and facts from above together, we come to the following comparison:

Things to Remember

  • For macros, we need to select XLSM type extension
  • We cannot use the workbook of Excel Add-in extension, but we can use that as an add-in in other workbooks.
  • If the excel is saved as CSV, it will not be an excel workbook. This is just to store the data, but it is very complicated to work on it. It will reduce the size of the workbook.
  • Excel Binary workbook reduces the size of the workbook by 50%.

Recommended Articles

This has been a guide to Excel Extensions. Here we will discuss the top file-formats including XLSX, XLSM, XLSB, XLS & XLAM, its key features, and applications.