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Excel Binary Workbook .xlsb RRS feed

  • Question

  • I understand that saving an Excel file as .xlsb (Excel Binary Workbook) format dramatically reduces the size of the file and also makes it faster to read from and write to.

    I assume there must be a downside to saving workbooks as an .xlsb as why wouldn't everyone always to this.

     Can anyone point out the pros and cons ?

     

    Thanks

    Friday, May 4, 2012 2:02 PM

Answers

  • The .xlsx and .xlsm formats store almost all components of the workbook in XML format, i.e. specially formatted text. This makes it easy for other programs to read and even manipulate the contents of the workbook without having to start Excel.

    The .xlsb format stores the core components of the workbook in binary format. You need Excel to read and edit it.

    So the .xlsx and .xlsm formats are more open.

    For small and medium-sized workbooks, the difference in size and in reading/writing speed between .xlsx/.xlsm on the one hand, and .xlsb on the other hand, are not significant. So you might as well use the more general, open .xlsx/.xlsm formats.

    But for very large workbooks, .xlsb may well be preferable.


    Regards, Hans Vogelaar

    • Marked as answer by Gazza101 Friday, May 4, 2012 2:47 PM
    Friday, May 4, 2012 2:19 PM

All replies

  • The .xlsx and .xlsm formats store almost all components of the workbook in XML format, i.e. specially formatted text. This makes it easy for other programs to read and even manipulate the contents of the workbook without having to start Excel.

    The .xlsb format stores the core components of the workbook in binary format. You need Excel to read and edit it.

    So the .xlsx and .xlsm formats are more open.

    For small and medium-sized workbooks, the difference in size and in reading/writing speed between .xlsx/.xlsm on the one hand, and .xlsb on the other hand, are not significant. So you might as well use the more general, open .xlsx/.xlsm formats.

    But for very large workbooks, .xlsb may well be preferable.


    Regards, Hans Vogelaar

    • Marked as answer by Gazza101 Friday, May 4, 2012 2:47 PM
    Friday, May 4, 2012 2:19 PM
  • Thank Hans
    Friday, May 4, 2012 2:47 PM
  • Hans:  I have been having Excel calculation issues since May of last year.  I've been dead in the water working with anything over a few hundred lines of data and the IT engineers here have been unable to resolve the issue.  Converting the xlsx files to binary files did the trick!  You can't imagine how relieved I am!  THANK YOU!!!
    Thursday, February 27, 2014 7:04 PM
  • What about from a security perspective? It seems that if I have a password protected file, and I save it as a XLSB format that it is more secure than the simple XLSX format.  Or am I just fooling myself? 
    Monday, March 16, 2015 7:51 PM
  • Recent versions of Excel use a pretty strong encryption algorithm for password-protected workbooks, so unless you use a very simple password it won't be easy to break the encryption of either a .xlsx or a .xlsb workbook (except if you're the NSA of course). In other words, security doesn't have to be a deciding factor when choosing between .xlsx and .xlsb.

    Regards, Hans Vogelaar (http://www.eileenslounge.com)

    Monday, March 16, 2015 8:42 PM