Mobiles & Computers

What are the Differences b/w XLS (Excel) and CSV File Formats?

what is csv xls

what is csv xls

For every type of file in computer or mobile, there are different extensions which are used to distinguish the type of that files. For example, if we talk about the text files, then we have .txt and .rtf formats. The first extension is a simple text file which can be read using notepad while the second extension is the rich text file which allows adding some extra features like colors, more fonts, and formatting options.

If we talk about tabular data then most commonly used file format is XLS or XLSX. This is the extension of Microsoft Office Excel file. The simple .xls is the extension for earlier version while in Office 2007, it is .xlsx. Another format for tabular data is .csv and the file is called a CSV file.


CSV stands for comma separated values, this file format provides an option to save the tables in rows and columns just like an Excel file. Here you can check what you can do with MS Excel.

The difference between both file formats is that in an Excel file we have many formatting options, we can use charts, images and mathematical formulas whereas a CSV file provides only data saving option and we can’t use extra formatting option.

To open the XLS file we need MS excel software that must be installed on our computer or if we want to use it on mobile then we have Microsoft Office 360 to read Excel files. Whereas a CSV file can be read by using any text editor like Excel, notepad and many others which you can find easily.

It is possible to convert XLS to CSV and vice versa as per your requirements using any XLS to CSV converter. You can find XLS to CSV online converter as well which will convert your Excel file into CSV format.

If your excel file doesn’t have a formatting style and it does not include the charts or any other graphical data, then you should convert your XLS file to CSV file because the size of CSV file is less than an XLS file and if you have converted it to CSV then you can read the file using any text editor.

There would be no problem in reading the file on a mobile device or computer even if you don’t have MS Excel installed. You can read your data simply in notepad which is available by default in computer and mobiles.

While converting your Excel file to CSV file, you must know that if your XLS file has some formatting and charts, then you will lose that data and only tabular data will be available in the CSV converted file.