How to Batch Convert Multiple Excel Files to XLSX Format

A client called today to ask: is there an easy way to convert multiple Excel files to the new file format at once (xlsx > xls).

The answer is: Yes.

Now before you start clicking links, be prudent and ask yourself – do you really need to invest a chunk of time to convert every file now? Why not convert them on an as needed basis?

If you have a suitable answer, here are some options for batch conversions that I came across during my research:

WARNING: I do not warrant that any of these downloads are safe or that any of these tools work as creators claim.

Kutools for Excel File Format Converter:

  • User friendly
  • Installs 120 new features
  • Free Trial: full features, 45 days
  • Lifetime License – 1 user: $40US

Excelent Software – Excel Converter:

  • Convert thousands of files in minutes
  • Detects if Excel file contains macros & auto-assigns XLSM file extension
  • Available for Office 2007 and 2010
  • Free Evaluation copy: performs single file conversions only
  • Lifetime License – 1 user: $19.95

Softinterface, Inc. Convert XLS:

  • Technical interface and language
  • (“Command Line Prompts & Specify Conversion Jobs/Tasks”)
  • Free Trial: $0
  • Lifetime License – 1 user: $499.95US


So why would you want to convert all your files?

Some key benefits of the Open XML Formats are:

  • Smaller files
  • Recover more data from damaged/corrupted files
  • Allow for hidden data
  • Easily identify files containing Macros
  • Compatible with a variety of databases, applications and web-based applications (Office Web Apps, Open Office)
  • Easily add, identify, and extract specific pieces of business data

Microsoft does an excellent job of succinctly explaining the benefits of Open XML Formats here including


An interesting twist in resolving this issue arose when I decided to satisfy my curiosity and enquire why the client wanted to convert all their files. What were they actually trying to solve here? Turns out the real issue was that 1,400 hyperlinks stored in a single Excel file were no longer working, and instead the following error message would pop up: “cannot open this specified file”.

2 responses to “How to Batch Convert Multiple Excel Files to XLSX Format

  1. Will this work if I only have files saved to Office 365 / Sharepoint? Or do I have to have a copy on my pc?

    1. Hi Jamie,
      Great question. I don’t have a confirmed answer for you, but I believe the tools I listed this post are for files on desktop. I would explore third party SharePoint migration tools to see if any have a solution.
      One thing I do know is that SharePoint treats files with the exact same name but different file extensions (.xls, .xlsx) as different files, therefore if you upload the File-ABC.xlsx file, it will not write over the File-ABC.xls file. Found that out the hard way during a demo.

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