Wondering what’s the difference between XLTX and XLSX file formats in Microsoft Excel.
As you work with spreadsheets, understanding these distinctions can save time, enhance productivity, and ensure compatibility across various software applications.
In this blog post, you will discover the features, structure, and use cases of these two file formats, as well as how to convert between them.
Understanding XLTX and XLSX Files
Before diving deeper into the differences, let’s briefly discuss the purpose of these two file formats.
XLTX and XLSX are both utilized in Microsoft Excel, but they serve different functions.
Here’s a brief comparison:
- XLSX: This has been the default file format for Excel workbooks since 2007. It’s an XML-based file format that doesn’t contain macros, making it more secure for sharing.
- XLTX: This format is used for Excel templates. When you create a new workbook based on a template, it starts as an XLTX file and gets saved as an XLSX file with the same layout.
Understanding their unique features and compatibility can help you choose the right format for your specific needs.
Overview of XLTX Files
XLTX files are templates used by Microsoft Office 2007 and later versions. They are saved in the Open XML file format.
They contain pre-set settings and layout information, allowing users to create multiple spreadsheets with the same layout and formatting without having to start each spreadsheet from scratch.
This can save time and ensure consistency across multiple files.
Select “File Save As,” and you can then choose “Excel Template” from the format dropdown menu. This will save your spreadsheet as an XLTX file.
Before the 2007 version of Excel, XLT was the default template file format, which was a Binary file format (BIFF8) for an Excel template. XLTX, on the other side, is an XML-based file format.
XLTX files offer the advantage of compatibility with all Microsoft Office applications, not just Excel, making them more versatile in various situations.
Overview of XLSX Files
XLSX is the default file format for Microsoft Excel, developed with Office 2007.
It has become the most frequently used format due to its compatibility and powerful functionalities.
They are based on the Office Open XML standard and provide support for larger worksheets, improved data compression, and additional data types.
XLSX files offer enhanced data compression, the ability to accommodate larger worksheets, and support for a wider range of data types, making them a more efficient and comprehensive file format.
As a result, XLSX files are commonly used for working with large datasets and complex calculations.
Their compatibility with various spreadsheet software, including Microsoft Excel, Google Sheets, and Apple Numbers, allows seamless sharing and collaboration.
Also read: CSV vs. XLSX Files – What’s the Difference?
Comparing XLTX and XLSX File Formats
While both file formats are used in Microsoft Excel and based on Office Open XML, they have distinct features and use cases.
As previously mentioned, XLTX files contain user-defined settings and layout information, making them ideal for creating and managing templates.
On the other hand, XLSX files are uncompressed and can store larger datasets and complex calculations, making them better suited for various data manipulation tasks.
Before I dive deep into specific differences in detail, here is a table that shows the difference in a glance:
|Purpose||Template for creating other workbooks||Standard workbook for data entry|
|Structure||Predefined structure for new workbooks||The structure defined by the user at the time of data entry|
|Content||Predefined formulas, formats, and layouts (if specified)||User-generated content, formulas, and formatting|
|Changes||Changes do not affect the original template but create a new workbook||Changes do not affect the original template, but create a new workbook|
|Default Behavior when Opened||Opens a new workbook based on the template||Opens the existing workbook for editing|
File Structure and Compression
The file structure of XLTX and XLSX files is one of the key differences between the two formats.
XLTX files are compressed, enabling them to store user-defined settings, layout information, and custom formatting in a compact format. This makes it easy to share and collaborate on templates without consuming excessive storage space or bandwidth.
XLSX files, on the other hand, are uncompressed, allowing for larger datasets and complex calculations to be stored and manipulated within the file.
This makes XLSX files more suitable for data analysis and reporting, where the ability to handle large amounts of data efficiently is crucial.
Note: Both XLTX and XLSX files can not hold VBA macros in them. If you want them to have macros, you would have to change the extension to XLTM and XLSM, respectively.
Compatibility and Accessibility
Both XLTX and XLSX files are compatible with various spreadsheet software, including Microsoft Excel, Google Sheets, and Apple Numbers.
This makes it easy to share and edit files across different platforms and devices, ensuring that your data can be accessed and analyzed by others regardless of their preferred software.
Moreover, XLTX and XLSX files can be opened and edited on most devices with an internet connection.
This gives users a high degree of flexibility and convenience when working with these file formats, as they can access and modify their spreadsheets from virtually anywhere.
Also read: XLS vs. XLSX Files – What’s the Difference?
When to Use XLTX vs. XLSX Files
Knowing when to use XLTX and XLSX files can be highly advantageous.
As mentioned earlier, XLTX files are best used for creating and managing templates, allowing users to generate multiple spreadsheets with the same layout and formatting with ease.
XLSX files are better suited for working with large datasets and complex calculations thanks to their increased capacity and support for a wider range of data types.
Let me give you an example from personal experience. In my job as a business analyst, I have to create different Excel files that have a prespecified format (such as the project tracker template or the timesheet template). Instead of creating these templates from scratch, I have created an XLTX file which is a baseline template that I can use to create a new XLSX Excel file that would have all the formatting to start with. This saves me the time I would have spent setting the color theme or the formatting.
Creating and Managing Templates
Utilizing XLTX files for template creation offers numerous benefits, including time-saving, consistency, increased productivity, flexibility, and compatibility with all Office applications.
To create and manage templates using XLTX, you can use the built-in template library, create your own custom templates, and modify existing templates.
Additionally, you can employ the XLTX file format to share templates with other users, ensuring that everyone can create consistent, professional-looking spreadsheets.
It is important to note that while XLTX files are optimized for creating and managing templates, they are not well-suited for handling large datasets or complex calculations.
In such cases, XLSX files are a more appropriate choice, as they offer greater flexibility and performance for these tasks.
Also read: Is Excel Better Than Google Sheets
How to Convert Between XLTX and XLSX Files
In this section, we will explore the process of converting between these two file formats.
Converting XLTX to XLSX
To convert an XLTX file to an XLSX file, you can simply open the XLTX file in Excel and then save it as an XLSX file by accessing the “File” menu and selecting “Excel Workbook (*.xlsx)” as the file type.
This will create a new XLSX file based on the template, allowing you to work with the data and formatting as needed.
Note that this would not delete your original XLTX file.
Alternatively, you can use free online converter tools to facilitate the conversion process.
These tools often support a wide range of file formats, making it easy to convert your XLTX files to XLSX or other formats as needed.
Converting XLSX to XLTX
To convert an XLXS file to an XLTX file, you can again open the file in Excel and then save it as an XLTX file by accessing the “File” menu and selecting “Excel Template (*.xltx)” as the file type.
Also read: How to Make Excel File Read Only
Frequently Asked Questions about XLTX vs. XLSX
Here are some common queries people have about XLTX and XLSX.
Should I use XLS or XLSX?
Based on the information provided, it is generally recommended to use XLSX over XLS. XLSX offers better security features as well as a more recent technological upgrade, making it easier to detect malfunctions.
XLS can be opened in all versions of Excel but XLSX can only be opened with Excel 2007 and later.
What is the difference between XLTX and XLTM?
XLTM files are Microsoft Excel template files that can contain macros and are optimized for reuse. This file format differs from XLTX files, which are more restrictive as they do not support the saving of macros.
Thus, the main difference between XLTX and XLTM is that the latter allows users to save macros along with their workbooks.
What is the default file extension for all excel documents?
The default file extension for all Excel documents is .xlsx, which is the format used by Microsoft Office to save spreadsheets in a compatible form. This ensures that your work will be preserved and accessible to anyone with Excel software.
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