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My client uses a process that uses XMLSS to create XML documents that can be opened in Microsoft Excel. In fact, simply renaming the files to .XLS, will ensure that the documents open in Excel by default. These documents are emailed to our clients. The documents open successfully in for Excel for PC and MAC, as well as OpenOffice (both platforms). It's a pretty nice solution.

The problem is, some of our clients have started attempting to open these documents (for viewing) on their iPhones and iPads (iOS devices), and it doesn't work. We know that iOS devices can open actual Office files, but since our documents are really just XML (and not true Excel files), the viewer on iOS doesn't want to view them. At least that's my guess.

We have played with sending these files with both XML and XLS extensions.

I'm aware of the option of using different techniques for building these documents such that they become true XLS files... but obviously, we're not eager to rewrite the entire application when most of our functionality remains just fine.

Any tips, ideas, suggestions?

share|improve this question
The modern Excel format (.xlsx) is zipped XML. You might consider either reworking your file generation process to produce Office Open XML instead of (badly outdated) XMLSS, or (if your generation code is sufficiently recondite to prohibit easy rework) transforming the XMLSS to OOXML once generated. XSLT might be your friend here, although I doubt there's any extant XSLT stylesheet for the task; failing that, you could write code to do it. – Aaron Miller Aug 20 '13 at 15:42
@mts1701 - What software is used on iOS to open these files? – Ramhound Aug 20 '13 at 15:44
Not entirely sure. It's a native reader. – mts1701 Aug 20 '13 at 15:45
@AaronMiller - That's what it comes down to in the end I see... the fact that XMLSS is so badly outdated that whatever viewer used in iOS devices won't recognize it. We will in fact have to revisit how the files are generated, if we want them viewable on iOS devices. Thank you for your reply. – mts1701 Aug 21 '13 at 20:53
@mts Certainly! Glad to be of help. (BTW, iOS &c. isn't the only thing that refuses to recognize XMLSS; OpenOffice, LibreOffice, et al., do likewise. Granted, unlike iOS, they're restricted to niche users only, but it's still worth mentioning.) – Aaron Miller Aug 21 '13 at 21:11

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