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Is there an Excel viewer for Mac OS X? I understand that the OS X developer tools are free and the Excel format is documented and I can teach myself Objective C on the web and set "write Excel viewer" as my first assignment, but I am hoping for a solution with a lower activation energy.

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up vote 10 down vote accepted

Though not perfect: in Finder simply press the Spacebar to activate Quick Look.

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Do you need to have Numbers installed for this to work? I ask because quicklook & preview do not work for me. – xer0x Aug 31 '12 at 0:27
    
Nope, @xer0x, I don't have Numbers installed. Works just fine. Maybe it's just a specific document that doesn't work for you? – Arjan Aug 31 '12 at 7:43

You can use the Office Web Apps instead, which also allows you to edit files. You just need a Microsoft Account (you can use any email address to make one, I think). Just pop the Excel file in your OneDrive space and open it from there.

Here's an example file that I have publicly shared.

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Numbers (from iWork) s capable of opening .xls and .xlsx files.

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OS X 10.7.4 opens up Excel documents in Preview without the need for other software. Obviously you can't edit it but it's fine for viewing.

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OpenOffice or NeoOffice (the Native MacOS X port of OpenOffice) can read/write all MS Office files, including Excel files, and much more.

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I can teach myself Objective C on the web and set "write Excel viewer" as my first assignment ...

As already stated in other answers, you can use Apple's "Numbers" to open Excel files, but creating or modifying Excel files programatically is a different story; you might need to have the appropriate tools (SDKs etc.) installed to do that. May I ask what tutorial you're following?

If the guide has prerequisites, it should specify how to meet them. (Depending on what exactly you want to accomplish, this might actually be a question better asked on StackOverflow).

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Step zero would be to write the tutorial, but the one I could write prior to learning Objective C would likely suffer from quality of implementation issues. – Thomas L Holaday Nov 7 '10 at 21:29
    
@Thomas: Oooh, my apologies! I misunderstood part of your question - my bad! I thought you were following a tutorial. I'm glad you found a solution! :) – Leif Nov 8 '10 at 1:19

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