How to Make Excel Default on Mac

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When it comes to working with spreadsheets, Microsoft Excel has been the go-to software for professionals and individuals alike. 

However, if you’re a Mac user, you may have noticed that Numbers, Apple’s native spreadsheet application, opens by default when you double-click on a spreadsheet file. While Numbers is a capable tool, many users prefer the features and familiarity of Excel. 

The good news is that you can change this default setting and make Excel open automatically when you open a spreadsheet on your Mac.

In this blog post, we will guide you through the steps to make Excel the default application for opening spreadsheet files, allowing you to streamline your workflow and save time.

Understanding Default Applications

Default applications are the programs that your operating system uses to open specific file types. For example, when you double-click a .xlsx file, the default application associated with that file extension will open it. By changing the default application, you can control which program opens when you open a particular file type.

Checking Excel Installation

Before proceeding with the steps to set Excel as the default application, ensure that Microsoft Excel is installed on your Mac. If you don’t have it installed, visit the official Microsoft website and download the latest version of Excel compatible with your operating system.

Steps to Set Excel as Default on Mac

To ensure that Microsoft Excel becomes the default application for opening xlsx files on your Mac, follow these steps:

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Step 1: Prepare an Excel Workbook

Before proceeding, make sure you have an Excel workbook saved in the xlsx format.


Step 2: Access File Information

  • Right-click on the xlsx file you want to associate with Excel.
  • From the context menu, select the “Get Info” option.


Step 3: Configure File Opening Preferences

  • In the “Info” dialog box that appears, locate the “Open with” section.
  • Click on the dropdown menu beside “Open with” and select “Microsoft Excel” from the list of available applications.


Step 4: Apply Changes to All Files

  • Once you have selected “Microsoft Excel,” navigate to the bottom of the “Info” dialog box.
  • Locate the “Change All” button and click on it. This will set Excel as the default application for all files with the xlsx extension.


Step 5: Confirm and Close

  • A confirmation prompt will appear, asking if you want to change all similar documents to open with Microsoft Excel.
  • Click on “Continue” to proceed with the changes.


  • Finally, close the “Info” dialog box.

Congratulations! You have successfully made Microsoft Excel the default application for opening xlsx files on your Mac. Now, whenever you open any file with the xlsx extension, it will automatically open with Excel.

Benefits of Using Excel as the Default Application

By making Excel the default application for opening spreadsheet files on your Mac, you can enjoy several benefits:

Streamlined workflow: Opening spreadsheet files directly in Excel saves you time and eliminates the need to manually open the application and locate the file each time.

Familiar interface: If you are already familiar with Excel, using it as the default application ensures a consistent and familiar interface for all your spreadsheet tasks.

Seamless integration: Excel offers advanced features and compatibility with various platforms, allowing you to work on your spreadsheets effortlessly.


Troubleshooting Common Issues

In some cases, you may encounter issues while setting Excel as the default application. Here are a few troubleshooting tips:

  • Ensure that Excel is installed correctly on your Mac.
  • Verify that the Excel file you’re attempting to open is not corrupted.
  • Restart your Mac and try setting Excel as the default application again.
  • Check for software updates for both your Mac and Excel to ensure compatibility.
  • If the issue persists, consult the Microsoft Excel support documentation or seek assistance from their support team.

The Bottom Line

By following the simple steps outlined in this blog post, you can make Excel the default application for opening spreadsheet files on your Mac. 

Whether you’re a business professional, a student, or simply someone who relies on Excel for organizing data and performing calculations, having Excel as the default program can significantly enhance your productivity and efficiency. 

No more wasting time searching for the right application or converting files between different formats. With Excel as your default, you can seamlessly open and work on spreadsheets with ease. Take control of your workflow and make Excel your go-to application on your Mac today!

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