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How to open and edit Excel XLS files for free

Learn how to view, open, and edit Excel XLS files for free on your PC. Many people use Microsoft Excel to open and edit Excel files. However, in order to use the full version of Excel we need to purchase it and spend money on a license. If we are looking for a free solution, here we have a series of alternatives that can do this job. Most of these applications support files with the XLS or XLSX extension, among others.

Excel Online: Free

The first and best known is Microsoft’s own version of Excel online . This is a web-based version of the Office suite. Excel Online has the basic functionality of Excel, but does not include the advanced features of the paid version, such as macro support.


Excel Online is accessible in most browsers. It can be used to edit existing XLS and XLSX files and create new spreadsheet files. It has a good integration with One Drive, since we can save our Excel files there and access it from different devices.

Speaking of devices, it also has an App for iOS and Android and the available functions vary depending on the device. You can create and edit spreadsheets on an Android device with a 10.1-inch or smaller screen without paying. But if you’re using the app on a larger phone or tablet, you’ll need a Microsoft 365 subscription.

LibreOffice: The Open Source

Another good option is LibreOffice , a free open source software package that can be downloaded for free. Among its applications we find Calc, an Excel alternative that supports XLS and XLSX files, and the OpenDocument format.


Calc offers many of the spreadsheet templates and functions commonly used in Excel. It has multi-user functionality for seamless collaboration. It also includes several components for advanced users, including DataPivot and a comparative Scenario Manager.

If you want a free option not only to Excel but also to various office applications, LibreOffice is a very good option.

Kingsoft WPS Office

The personal version (free to download) of Kingsoft WPS Office suite contains a spreadsheet processor, which supports XLS and XLSX files. WPS Office Spreadsheets features charting and data analysis tools along with basic spreadsheet functionality, including editing and editing XLS files.

As a bonus, the spreadsheet processor can be installed as a standalone app on Android, iOS, and Windows operating systems. It also has a commercial version that offers advanced features, cloud storage, and support for multiple devices.

Apache Open Office

Apache OpenOffice is a very popular suite. It has millions of downloads since its initial release. OpenOffice includes a spreadsheet processing application also called Calc. It supports basic and advanced features, including extensions, macros, and Excel file formats.

The only problem with Open Office is that lately the surrounding developer community has remained inactive, so software of this type could be deprived of essential updates for its operation, so it is not recommended to depend entirely on this office suite for now.

Edit Excel XLS with Gnumeric

Gnumeric is a standalone spreadsheet application that is also available for free. This open source program is frequently updated and includes many basic and some advanced features, but it is a great option if you want to open XLS quickly. It supports all Excel file formats, allows us to edit XLS files, and is scalable to work with large spreadsheets.

Google Sheets spreadsheets

Google offers us a very good alternative and almost at no cost. Sheets is a full-featured browser-based spreadsheet processor . It integrates with our Google account and Google Drive. This easy-to-use app offers a lot of functionality, templates, plugins, and real-time collaboration.

Google Sheets

Sheets is fully compatible with Excel file formats and is completely free to use. In addition to the web-based version for desktop and laptop computers, it also has specific apps for Android and iOS devices.

Microsoft 365 home trial

Finally, Office itself offers us free trials of its programs, such as the Office suite . If you need access to the full and advanced functionality of Excel but don’t want to pay, you should download and opt for the Microsoft 365 trial as a short-term solution.

Once activated, the full version of Microsoft Office Home Edition (including Excel to open XLS files) can be run. The Excel app can be installed on up to five Android or iOS phones and tablets. The only requirement is to have a valid credit card to start the 30-day trial.

After the trial, there is a charge of $99.99 for a 12-month subscription, so it is important to mark the expiration date if we do not want that price to be discounted.

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