XLS to NUMBERS

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File extension .xls
Category Document File
Description Microsoft Excel is a commercial spreadsheet application written and distributed by Microsoft for Microsoft Windows and Mac OS X. Pre-2007 versions of Excel use XLS as the primary format for saving files. It features calculation, graphing tools, pivot tables, and a macro programming language called Visual Basic for Applications. It has been a very widely applied spreadsheet for these platforms, especially since version 5 in 1993, and it has almost completely replaced Lotus 1-2-3 as the industry standard for spreadsheets. Excel forms part of Microsoft Office. The current versions are 2010 for Microsoft Windows and 2011 for Mac OS X.
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Technical Details Microsoft Excel up until 2007 version used a proprietary binary file format called Binary Interchange File Format (BIFF) as its primary format. Used as the basis for XLS files it is a persistence format that supports authoring and manipulating content in workbooks and workbook templates. Most versions of Microsoft Excel can read CSV, DBF, SYLK, DIF, and other legacy formats.
Associated programs Microsoft Excel
Microsoft Excel Viewer
OpenOffice
Developed by Microsoft
MIME type application/vnd.ms-excel
Useful links More detail about the XLS format
How to open an XLS file without Microsoft Excel
Microsoft Office binary file format specifications
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File extension .numbers
Category Document File
Description Files with a .numbers extension are created by Apple's "Numbers" application which forms part of Apple's iWork office suite, a set of applications which run on the Mac OS X and iOS operating systems, and also includes Keynote (for presentations) and Pages (for word processing).

Numbers 1.0 on OS X was first announced on August 7 2007, and the .numbers file contains many of the standard features of a spreadsheet with support for rows, columns, graphs, formulas and charts. The iPad version of Numbers was released in January 2010, and the most recent version of Numbers on OS X is version 3.5 released in November 2014 as part of Apple's iWork '14 update.

As with other products in the iWork suite Numbers includes a variety of layouts designed by professional illustrators and also includes support for importing documents from Microsoft's Office suite (in this case Excel spreadsheets).

The key advances in Numbers are summarised below:

VersionDateKey features
1.0August 2007First version - basic features.
2.0January 2009Adds features to allow charts in Keynote and Pages to be automatically updated when changed in Numbers files.
2.1July 2011Support added for OS X Lion features such as "full screen", "resume", "auto save" and "versioning".
2.2July 2012Includes features for integration with iCloud, retina display support and dictation features.
2.3December 2012Includes improved compatibility with Excel documents, the ability to hide and unhide rows and columns amd filters.
3.0October 2013Launched with a new UI to match that found in Pages and Keynote, and also includes the ability to create interactive charts.
3.5October 2014New OS X Yosemite inspired design, support for iCloud drive, and an updated Numbers file format.

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Technical Details A .numbers file is actually a compressed ZIP file comprised of a number of other different files combined that together make up a .numbers file. The most recent version of Numbers saves files with an "Index" directory containing Apple's proprietary IWA file format, a "Metadata" directory with .plist files and one or more jpg files for allowing quick previews. Similar to Microsoft products, the .numbers file type suffers from a lack of compatibility with other leading spreadsheet programs.
Associated programs Apple iWork
Numbers 2.1
Numbers 2.2
Numbers 2.3
Numbers 3.0
Numbers 3.5
Developed by Apple
MIME type application/x-iwork-numbers-sffnumbers
application/vnd.apple.numbers
Useful links MacWorld review of Numbers 3.5
Ars Technica review of iWork '14
Numbers supported file formats
More information on Numbers
Official Apple iWork Numbers details
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