Excel Binary Workbook – What is. XLSB File Format?

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Do you have any idea what an XLSB file format is?

It is basically an Excel binary book file format that helps in storing data in binary format rather than XML format often used in Excel files.

XLSB files are encoded in binary form that’s why these files can be read and written quicker than other files. Therefore, when you have large files, this binary function helps you a lot. XLSB files are capable enough to store data just the way other Excel workbook formats do. Each workbook has many worksheets and each worksheet has lots of columns and rows containing a huge range of cells, in which you apply formulas.

How You can Open an XLSB File

Microsoft Excel version 2007 and updated are designed to open and edit XLSB files. On the other hand, if your Excel version is not updated, you have to use third-party tools to open, edit and save these files. Or else, you can even use WPS Office Spreadsheet to open an XLSB file. With the Excel Viewer option of Microsoft, you can smoothly open an XLSB file, and not only this; you can even print this file the way you want to.

Keep in mind that third-party tools only help you in performing a certain task; however, these tools are not designed to get back your original data once you have made changes in the file. ZIP compression is used to store the XLSB files, that’s why you need a free file zip/unzip tool to open up the file. Again, you have to bear in mind that you will not be able to read or edit the file just as you need it to.

How to Convert an XLSB File

In Excel binary workbook, the quickest way to convert an XLSB file is by opening the file in a program to save it in the system using another format. Some of the highly supported formats include XLS, PDF, CSV, XLSX, XLSM, and TXT.

Key Points to Consider when Working with Large Excel Files

The XLSB file format is not a bad option to opt for when you have larger datasets. Below are some necessary points to consider when you are about to deal with large Excel files.

You can save data files without formatting because formatting needs much storage space. In case, if you are dealing with a dataset that does not need formatting, you can save the file in .xml format or .csv format.

The file size can be reduced easily once you have deleted unused cells without wasting time.

When dealing with large Excel files, you may have to deactivate the automatic calculations because it can often lead to unwanted crashes or freeze to Excel. It could be because of many reasons and the main thing noticed here is the large number of formulas applied already. Each formula has to recalculate the time to complete the function. So, that’s why you have to turn off auto-calculation options and do manual problem-solving.

PowerQuery Add-In is basically used to manage Big Data as well as intricate data. Instead of being the number one tool, Excel has its boundaries when it comes to dealing with large datasets. When using PowerQuery, you can handle such types of datasets easily, moreover, you will not have to face limitations because of having large datasets.

XLSB Format Pros and Cons

Where a tool offers benefits, you always have to face some limitations as well. The same is the case with Excel formats. Below you will find some benefits besides drawbacks of the XLSB format.


  • You can use VBA coding macros with XLSB format files.
  • It helps in smaller file sizes.
  • You can apply formulas to XLSB files having greater than the standard 8192-character limit.
  • XLSB files are eligible to read and write faster than other files.


  • XLSB files are compatible with Excel 2007 and updated versions only.
  • You are restricted to make changes in the Excel Ribbon menu while working on an XLSB file.
  • These file formats could be unsupported with software or services that need XML format instead of binary data.

Final Thoughts

Excel has always been a brand name when it comes to finding a tool for analytical and mathematical queries. However, you have to face some limitations when working with large datasets because each file has a different file format that’s why it could be unsupported by the tool. Excel binary workbook needs an updated version of Microsoft Excel, otherwise, you will not be able to read or edit the file.

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