Microsoft Excel Viewer:
Open Excel Files for Free!
Written by co-founder Kasper Langmann, Microsoft Office Specialist.
With the “Excel Viewer” you can:
- Open Excel files
- View Excel files
- Print Excel files
- Copy data from a spreadsheet to another program
… Without having Microsoft Excel installed!
The Excel Viewer is an official tool developed by Microsoft, to make it easy (and free) for you to handle Excel files.
Excel Viewer has been around for more than 20 years. In 2008, Microsoft gave the Excel Viewer an overhaul and updated the whole thing.
The updated Excel Viewer replaces the former – and very popular – Excel Viewer 97 (and all previous Excel Viewer versions).
In the video below, I show you the exact steps on how to install and use the Excel Viewer.
What you CAN’T do with the Excel Viewer
Despite the Excel Viewer being free, there’s obviously a few things it cannot do.
- You can’t edit data within the spreadsheet
- You can’t save changes to a workbook
- You can’t create a new workbook either
Sometimes, you don’t even need Excel Viewer…
With Microsoft’s recent introduction of Windows OneDrive, viewing Excel files has become even easier.
OneDrive includes a so-called “Excel Web App”. As the name indicates, this web app works online and makes you able to view Excel files directly from your browser.
If you access the file through OneDrive, you’re able to even edit the Excel file (depends on what privileges you’ve been given by the person who shared the file with you).
The newest Excel Viewer supports following operating systems:
- Windows Server 2003
- Windows Vista
- Windows XP
- Windows 7
- Windows Server 2008
Further, the Excel Viewer applies to the following Office applications:
- Microsoft Excel 2010
- Microsoft Office Excel 2007
- Microsoft Office Excel 2003
- Microsoft Excel 2002
- Microsoft Excel 2000
- Microsoft Excel 97
Note: The Excel Viewer is only available as a 32-bit application. However, the 32-bit version of the Excel Viewer can be used on 64-bit versions of Windows.
File Formats supported by Excel Viewer
Excel Viewer supports the most common type of Excel files.
Here’s the complete list of supported file formats:
You can open following Excel files: .xlsx, .xlsm, .xlsb, .xltx, .xltm, .xls, .xlt, .xlm, and .xlw
Note: While you can open macro-enabled files, running macros cannot be done.
Free alternatives to Excel Viewer
Since the Excel Viewer makes it easy for you to open, print and copy Excel files for free, we figured you might also want to know about a few (free) alternatives to the Excel Viewer.
So, below you’ll find 3 free alternatives that enable you to open Excel files for free.
- Google Sheets: Google’s take on spreadsheets. With Google Sheets, you can easily import/export Excel files. Requires a free Google account (such as Gmail).
- Zoho Sheet: Easily import Excel files from your computer – or an URL – and view it online, for free! Very smooth and quick.
- OpenOffice: Free and open source, ‘Open Office’, enables you to create spreadsheets for free. Rather similar experience to Excel 2007.
Bonus: View PowerPoint and Word files for free
Not only has Microsoft developed a viewer to Excel files. They have also developed similar viewers for PowerPoint and Word files too!
Below you’ll find a link to each of the ‘viewers’ in case you need to open Word/PowerPoint files.
PowerPoint Viewer (discontinued) Word Viewer (discontinued)