How Many Types Of Formulas Are There In Excel Excel File Types

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Excel File Types

Excel is a spreadsheet package built into Microsoft Office. Over the past 20 years, Office has become so ubiquitous that the “.xls” file format is almost a byword for spreadsheets. Just as Word documents are saved as “.doc”, so Excel files are saved as “.xls”.

Except that hasn’t been the case since the 2007 release of Office. The default file type in Excel is now “.xlsx”. This is because Microsoft has changed the basic layout of their pages and you may notice large files are smaller when converted to a new file type.

Although “.xlsx” is the standard default file setting, recent versions of Excel also offer the “.xlsm” format. The “m” at the end indicates the presence of macros. Macros are scripts that allow Excel gurus to program their own spreadsheets. If you receive a “.xlsm” file from an Excel developer, it is unlikely that they wrote the code themselves, so it is important that you trust the original creator of the file. That’s because macros can be used to delete important system files and download viruses.

So by introducing a second standard file type, Microsoft provided an early warning that the file contained Visual Basic scripts. Of course, there are still many old “.xls” files available but if you have a spreadsheet for daily use, it should be one of those three formats.

Of course, you may wish to import the data into Excel. Often this will come from another database and be stored in a text-based format, the most common being a “.csv” file. “Csv” means comma separated values. That means a comma marks the end of each data cell, and each new line is a new row. The main point is that the file will not have any formatting and will have only one page. At least it’s laid out as a spreadsheet.

You can open plain text (“.txt”) files named as datasets, but each entry can be separated by another function, or a space. Excel will ask you how the data is divided when it opens. Sometimes you will want to open data that is not in spreadsheet form at all e.g. list of words, but which you can translate into meaningful form using a combination of macros and formulas. That may require guidance from the Excel support team.

Other formats tend to be specific to the workplace eg. The “.xml” format can be very useful, but only if you have other programs that use it. There is one outside. That’s an addition to Excel. The add-in used to be in “.xla” format but has now been extended to “.xlam”. An add-in is pre-written code that allows you to perform a desired function with the click of a button. You will notice that an “m” is added to the end of the extension file to indicate encoding.

Add-ins differ from macros in that the macro is stored in a specific spreadsheet, whereas add-ins can be ordered to load automatically when you open Excel. That means the add-in is always available and the code can be found in any files. They are very useful if you are trying to perform a common task for which Excel does not have a built-in function, for example, if you want to remove duplication from a list.

The only list longer than the number of file types you can open in Excel, is the number of formats in which you can save your spreadsheet. This is to ensure that your work is compatible with any other possible database or software.

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