What Is an XLSB File?

How to Open, Edit, and Convert XLSB Files

Screenshot of several XLSB files used by Excel in Windows 10
XLSB Files.

A file with the XLSB file extension is an Excel Binary Workbook file. They store information in binary format instead of XML like with most other Excel files (like XLSX).

Since XLSB files are binary, they can be read from and written to much faster, making them extremely useful for very large spreadsheets.

How to Open an XLSB File

Warning: It's possible for an XLSB file to have macros embedded in it, which have the potential to store malicious code.

It's important to take great care when opening executable file formats like this that you may have received via email or downloaded from websites you're not familiar with. See my List of Executable File Extensions for a listing of file extensions to avoid and why.

Microsoft Office Excel (version 2007 and newer) is the primary software program used to open XLSB files and edit XLSB files. If you have an earlier version of Excel, you can still open, edit, and save XLSB files with it, but you have to install the free Microsoft Office Compatibility Pack first.

If you don't have any versions of Microsoft Office, you can use OpenOffice Calc or LibreOffice Calc to open XLSB files.

Microsoft's free Excel Viewer lets you open and print XLSB files without needing Excel. Just keep in mind that you can't make any changes to the file and then save it back to the same format - you'll need the full Excel program for that.

XLSB files are stored using ZIP compression, so while you can use a free file zip/unzip utility to "open" the file, doing so won't let you read or edit it like the programs from above can do.

How to Convert an XLSB File

If you have Microsoft Excel, OpenOffice Calc, or LibreOffice Calc, the easiest way to convert an XLSB file is to just open the file in the program and then save it back to your computer in another format.

Some file formats supported by these programs include XLSX, XLS, XLSM, CSV, PDF, and TXT.

In addition to supporting some of the file formats listed above, FileZigZag is another XLSB converter that can save the XLSB to XHTML, SXC, ODS, OTS, DIF, and many other formats. FileZigZag is an online file converter, so you have to first upload the XLSB file to the website before you can download the converted file.

XLSB Files and Macros

The XLSB format is similar to XLSM - both can embed and run macros if Excel has macro capabilities turned on (see how to do this here).

However, an important thing to understand is that XLSM is a macro-specific file format. In other words, the "M' at the end of the file extension indicates that the file may or may not contain macros, while it's non-macro counterpart XLSX can also have macros but is unable to run them.

XLSB, on the other hand, is much like XLSM in that it can be used to store and run macros, but there isn't a macro-free format like there is with XLSM.

All this really means is that it's not as easily understood whether or not a macro may exist in the XLSM format, so it's important to understand where the file came from to ensure that it isn't loading harmful macros.

More Help With XLSB Files

If your file won't open with the programs suggested above, the very first thing you should check is that the file extension for your file actually does read as ".XLSB" and not just something that looks similar. It's really easy to confuse other file formats with XLSB given that their extensions are so similar.

For example, you might really be dealing with an XLB file which does not open in Excel or OpenOffice in the normal way like you'd expect an XLSB file to work. Follow that link to learn more about those files.

XSB files are similar in how their file extension is spelled, but they're really XACT Sound Bank files that have nothing to do with Excel or spreadsheets in general.

Instead, these Microsoft XACT files reference sound files and describe when they should be played during a video game.

If you don't have an XLSB file and that's why it's not working with the programs mentioned on this page, then research the file extension you do have so that you can find out which program or website can open or convert your file.

However, if you do have an XLSB file that you need help with, see Get More Help for information about contacting me on social networks or via email, posting on tech support forums, and more. Let me know what kinds of problems you're having with opening or using the XLSB file and I'll see what I can do to help.