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Posted by Andy Brown on 16 May 2014
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The true nature of Excel workbooks - zipped files
Trivia question: what format do Excel workbooks use? If your answer is a proprietary Microsoft format, you couldn't be further from the truth.
Let's create a simple Excel workbook and dissect it:
A simple workbook containing 3 sheets
Here's what this looks like in Windows Explorer:
The workbook above.
So far, so what. But let's now change the file extension from .xlsx to .zip (ignoring any complaints from Microsoft):
You can now see that the workbook is actually a collection of zipped files.
When you double-click on the file now, you can see its true contents:
The true contents of the workbook: the worksheets folder contains one XML file for each worksheet.
Here's a sample of the first worksheet:
The XML underlying each worksheet is completely transparent.
As Michael Caine apparently didn't say: "Not a lot of people know that!".