XLS Viewer is a convenient piece of freeware that gives users the ability to open Excel files natively
Windows Vista / Windows XP / Windows 2000
XLS Viewer lets you view and even edit Excel documents.
XLS Viewer is a freeware for Windows that lets you view—and even edit to some degree—Excel documents. It supports Excel spreadsheets or XLS but also most other formats that Excel can save in. It’s not limited to just Excel, however. If you have a document that Excel can create, such as CSV, that was created with a different program, such as Notepad, XLS Viewer can open and edit those as well.
Perhaps what makes XLS Viewer truly handy is that it doesn’t require Microsoft Excel or any aspect of MS Office to be installed. Perhaps you use Excel at work or school or but don’t own it home. XLS Viewer lets you take a spreadsheet with you to use later. Another scenario is using a spreadsheet on a device that doesn’t support full-blown Excel well, such as some Windows tablets and netbooks.
When it comes to viewing and editing, XLS Viewer provides a convenient yet fairly basic implementation. You won’t be able to change views or make advanced edits, such as adding a new calculation. Formulas that are already in place are fully supported and will be updated in real-time, but you can’t change them or add new ones. For that, you’d have to access the actual Excel program. While changes can made, there are some odd behaviors at times, such as saves causing font changes you didn’t request.
XLS Viewer continues to be updated by the developers and has even been transitioned over to the .NET Framework, which lets the program more easily support Windows 7 and 10 and new Excel features. Of course, there are a lot of free online options as well. Microsoft provides free support for Excel documents online that’s quite sophisticated. Google Docs has its own solution as well, but one way this program still manages to stand out is that it can be used locally and without an Internet connection. The Microsoft and Google solutions are cloud-based and don’t work offline.
Billed as a lightweight option for reading files from Microsoft Excel 2000/2003 (.XLS), Microsoft Excel 2007 (.XLXS), and Open Office spreadsheet files (.ODS), Bytescout’s XLS Viewer fully meets expectations. Requiring less than 0.9 MB installed space, the reader more than satisfies as lightweight. It opens files with lightning speed. In fact, Bytescout’s XLS Reader opens files so much faster than the full version of Excel, it may deserve a permanent position in the productivity toolkit.
Originally based on .NET utilities for software developers, the program is a breeze to download and install. Once opened, the Bytescout XLS Viewer user interface opens directly to a click and query screen to browse for a spreadsheet file. Browse to the directory, double-click and it is done. If that is too fast and easy, the user interface offers the usual ‘Open’ option on its Files drop down menu.
If the Bytescout XLS Viewer has a serious weakness, it lies in its minimum requirement for Microsoft .NET 2.0. Keeping in mind that Microsoft released Windows XP without the .NET framework, but eventually made XP Professional SP3 compatible with .NET framework 3.5 via Windows Update, running the Bytescout XLS Viewer on older machines that run Windows, may require finding and installing a version of the .NET framework before using the viewer.
In addition, since the Bytescout XLS Viewer was last copyrighted in 2007, it is not currently compatible with either Windows 7 or Windows 8.
Nevertheless, for computer users, running older versions of Microsoft Windows a fast, easy utility that reads, prints, and exports spreadsheets directly to HTML will save time and money over finding, buying, and installing an older version of Microsoft Excel.