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Open an Excel Workbook

How to Open Workbooks in Excel

Opening a workbook lets you use a workbook that you or someone else has previously created and then saved. This lesson explains how to open a saved workbook, as well as non-Excel files.

Open a Workbook

You can locate a workbook on your computer and simply double-click it to open it, but you can also open a workbook from within the Excel program.

  1. Click the File tab.
    Open a Workbook
  2. Click Open.

    Press Ctrl + O to quickly display the Open tab of the Backstage view.

  3. Select the location where the file is saved.

    You can choose from:

    • Recent: Recent files you've worked on.
    • Shared with Me: Files others have shared with you on OneDrive or SharePoint Online.
    • OneDrive: Microsoft's cloud-based storage.
    • This PC: Browse files on your local computer.
    • Browse: Opens a dialog box where you can browse through your computer's folders, drives, and network shares.
    Open a Workbook
  4. Select the file you want to open.
  5. Click Open.
    Open a Workbook

Open a Different File Format

You can also use Excel to open data files created in other programs, like Comma Separated Values or CSV files.

  1. Click the File tab.
    Open a Different File Format
  2. Click Open.
  3. Select the location where the file is saved.
    Open a Different File Format
  4. Click the file type list arrow and select All Files.
    Open a Different File Format
  5. Select the file you want to open.
  6. Click Open.
    Open a Different File Format
  7. If prompted, complete the steps in the Text Import Wizard.

File Types Commonly Opened in Excel

Common File Types File Extensions Description
All Files (Any) Displays all file types (although Excel might not be able to open all of them).
All Excel Files .xls and related Displays Excel workbooks, templates, and macro-enabled files.
All Web Pages .htm and related Displays web pages, including supporting files such as images.
Text Files .txt and .csv Displays comma and tab delimited text files, often used to import / export data.
All Data Sources (Varies) Displays databases (e.g. Microsoft Access) and queries.
Templates .xlt and related Displays Excel template files.