On Dec 14, 2005, at 11:30 PM, Charles Martin wrote: >> .xls is an Excel file. Excel will open them, but not much else. > > Except for Mariner Calc, AppleWorks, ThinkFree Office, NeoOffice/J, > icExcel and about half a dozen other programs or office suites, > that is. Sorry to come off as an Excel-only fanatic; that wasn't the intent. But based on my experience, I don't feel the third party apps are yet in a usable form for converting Excel files. Hence I tend to not mention them when someone says they have an Excel sheet they need to open. Although much of the time those other apps will open your worksheets in a usable (though probably not identical) form, there are issues with all of them... Each alternative has differing levels of compatibility, but here's a general list of things to be aware of if you're trying to open an Excel-created spreadsheet in another 'compatible' application: * Size of worksheet: I have a 244KB worksheet file (not big at all), but it refuses to open in Mariner Calc. * Use of tabs: AppleWorks doesn't seem to support tabbed workbooks (where you have a number of worksheets in one file), and converts them all into one monster worksheet at time of import. At least, that's what mine (version 6.2.9) does. * Graphs: If you use some of the more advanced Excel chart features, you may find your graphs don't import properly. * Font/layout: Even if the document opens properly, fonts and page layout may be modified. * Macros: Be very cautious if you use macros; each of the clones has differing (from "none" to "quite good") levels of support for macros. * Certain Formulas: Not every clone supports every Excel function. For instance, neither NeoOffice/J nor Mariner Calc support hyperlink (), but AppleWorks does. Other advanced formulas, such as those involving database functions, statistical functions, and engineering, may also not work in the clones. * Conditional Formatting: Again, this works in some (NeoOffice/J), but not others (AppleWorks, Mariner Calc). * Array Formulas: This is an advanced Excel feature (array formulas let you do calculations on ranges of data, instead of single cells), but it's very powerful and very useful in many contexts. I haven't yet found a clone that supports them -- if you know of one, please let me know. Sorry to go off on a mild tangent, but if we're going to talk about Excel alternatives, I think it's only fair to talk about their limitations as well. Sure, some of the features above will only be used by more complex worksheets. But things like tabbed worksheets, graphs, and support for all Excel functions might be assumed by anyone using one of these clones. I just thought I'd point out that's not the case. I would love to find a replacement for Excel ... but I've yet to find something that will handle the worksheets I use on a daily basis. -rob.