Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Excel versions: 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, and Excel in Office 365. If you are using an earlier version (Excel 2003 or earlier), this tip may not work for you. For a version of this tip written specifically for earlier versions of Excel, click here: Setting a Default File Format.

Setting a Default File Format

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated June 27, 2020)

Normally, Excel saves your worksheets in the workbook format that is appropriate for the version of the software you are using. This means that your worksheets are stored in a peculiar way that is understood by your version of Excel but may not be understood by other programs—including earlier versions of Excel.

If you do a lot of work with people who use other versions of Excel or who use a different spreadsheet program, you may want to specify a different default file format for your files. Excel makes this easy; just follow these steps:

  1. Display the Excel Options dialog box. (In Excel 2007 click the Office button and then click Excel Options. In Excel 2010 and later versions, display the File tab of the ribbon and then click Options.)
  2. Click the Save option at the left side of the dialog box. (See Figure 1.)
  3. Figure 1. The Save option of the Excel Options dialog box.

  4. Use the Save Files In This Format drop-down list to select a default file format.
  5. Click OK.

ExcelTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training. This tip (10480) applies to Microsoft Excel 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, and Excel in Office 365. You can find a version of this tip for the older menu interface of Excel here: Setting a Default File Format.

Author Bio

Allen Wyatt

With more than 50 non-fiction books and numerous magazine articles to his credit, Allen Wyatt is an internationally recognized author. He is president of Sharon Parq Associates, a computer and publishing services company. ...

MORE FROM ALLEN

Creating a Table Using the Keyboard

Want to easily add a table to your document simply by typing a few keystrokes? Here's how you can do it in one easy step.

Discover More

Understanding Auditing

Excel provides some great tools that can help you see the relationships between the formulas in your worksheets. These ...

Discover More

Detecting Errors in Conditional Formatting Formulas

If an error exists in a formula tucked inside a conditional format, you may never know it is there. There are ways to ...

Discover More

Excel Smarts for Beginners! Featuring the friendly and trusted For Dummies style, this popular guide shows beginners how to get up and running with Excel while also helping more experienced users get comfortable with the newest features. Check out Excel 2013 For Dummies today!

More ExcelTips (ribbon)

Setting the Calculation Default

Excel can recalculate your worksheets either automatically or manually. The default is to calculate them automatically, ...

Discover More

Permanently Turning On Set Precision As Displayed

Some people prefer to have what is displayed on the screen in Excel be the precision at which the program works. If you ...

Discover More

Adjusting Status Bar Font Size

Excel can helpfully display some statistical information in the program's Status Bar. If you cannot see all the ...

Discover More
Subscribe

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in ExcelTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

View most recent newsletter.

Comments

If you would like to add an image to your comment (not an avatar, but an image to help in making the point of your comment), include the characters [{fig}] in your comment text. You’ll be prompted to upload your image when you submit the comment. Maximum image size is 6Mpixels. Images larger than 600px wide or 1000px tall will be reduced. Up to three images may be included in a comment. All images are subject to review. Commenting privileges may be curtailed if inappropriate images are posted.

What is one less than 2?

There are currently no comments for this tip. (Be the first to leave your comment—just use the simple form above!)


This Site

Got a version of Excel that uses the ribbon interface (Excel 2007 or later)? This site is for you! If you use an earlier version of Excel, visit our ExcelTips site focusing on the menu interface.

Newest Tips
Subscribe

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in ExcelTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

(Your e-mail address is not shared with anyone, ever.)

View the most recent newsletter.