Super User is a question and answer site for computer enthusiasts and power users. It's 100% free, no registration required.

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

I got an Excel file, actually it's a zip file which contains many folders and files including sheets in XML format. When I try to open it, Excel 2003 says "The file is not in a recognizable format"

I've uploaded to Google Documents, Google recognized the format then I've saved as Excel 2003.

I've already installed Microsoft Office Compatibility Pack.

I renamed .xls to .zip then unzipped the content. Below are the unzipped folder content:





How can I open that Excel File?

Download: excel.xls

share|improve this question
I just renamed .xls to .xlsx and Excel does open the file. – Nime Cloud Jun 28 '11 at 12:59
up vote 3 down vote accepted

I expect this is new Office 2007 and higher format - so called OpenXML. I would try to change the zip extension (are you sure the extension is "ZIP"?) to "xlsx" and then try to open. You did not tell us your Office version, but I think Google Docs can handle this format, same with free LibreOffice. :-)

share|improve this answer
Yes, I renamed .xls to .zip then unzipped the content. – Nime Cloud Jun 28 '11 at 12:55
I just renamed .xls to .xlsx and Excel does open the file. – Nime Cloud Jun 28 '11 at 12:59
Nime, if this is the solution, please mark as answered. – music2myear Jun 28 '11 at 14:32
It seems Excel 2003 (with Compatibility Pack) relies on file extension instead of file content. xls for Excel 2003, xlxs for 2007+ – Nime Cloud Jun 29 '11 at 6:43
Nime, this is common in Windows. Many programs do not open supported file if it does not have the right extension, – Juhele Jun 29 '11 at 7:44

If you are running an older version of Office then you'll need to download the Compatibility Pack from Microsoft.

share|improve this answer

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.