What Is an XLAM File?

How to Open, Edit, and Convert XLAM Files

XLAM Files
XLAM Files.

A file with the XLAM file extension is an Excel Macro-Enabled Add-In file that's used to add new functions to Excel. Similar to other spreadsheet file formats, XLAM files contain cells that are divided into rows and columns that can contain text, formulas, charts, images and more.

Like Excel's XLSM and XLSX file formats, XLAM files are XML-based and saved with ZIP compression to reduce the overall size.

Note: Excel Add-In files that don't support macros might use the XLL or XLA file extension.

How to Open an XLAM File

Warning: Macros in an XLAM file may contain malicious code. Take great care when opening executable file formats received via email or downloaded from websites you're not familiar with. See my List of Executable File Extensions for a listing of other file extensions to avoid and why.

XLAM files can be opened with Microsoft Excel 2007 and newer. Earlier versions of Excel can open XLAM files too but only if the Microsoft Office Compatibility Pack is installed. This can be done a number of ways.

No matter which route you go through Excel's menus, the result will bring you to the Add-Ins window where you can click Browse... to load the XLAM file. If your add-in is already listed in this window, you can just put a check next to the name to enable it.

The first is through the File > Options > Add-ins > Go... button, and the other is by using the Developer > Add-Ins menu at the top of Excel.

See this Microsoft how-to to learn how to enable the Developer tab if you don't already see it.

Tip: The latter method, through the Developer tab, is also used to open COM Add-Ins (EXE and DLL files), via the COM Add-Ins button.

Yet one more option for opening XLAM files in Excel is to put the file in the right folder for Excel to read from when it opens.

This should be C:\Users\[username]\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\AddIns\.

Note: Some XLAM files that are downloaded from the internet are blocked and can't be fully used in Microsoft Excel. Right-click the file in Windows Explorer and choose Properties. In the General tab, click Unblock to have full access to it.

If you find that an application on your PC does try to open the XLAM file but it's the wrong application or if you would rather have another installed program open XLAM files, see my How to Change the Default Program for a Specific File Extension guide for making that change in Windows.

How to Convert an XLAM File

There shouldn't be any reason to use a file converter to save an XLAM file to a different format, but please let me know if you have any relevant information about converting XLAM files that I could use to update this page.

See this Excel Forum thread on converting XLAM to XLSM if you want to do that. It involves editing the IsAddIn property to False.

More Help With XLAM Files

If your file isn't opening with Microsoft Excel, double-check that you're reading the file extension correctly. The XAML file extension looks an awful lot like XLAM files but they're actually Extensible Application Markup Language files that don't open with Excel.

If you still need help, see Get More Help for information about contacting me on social networks or via email, posting on tech support forums, and more. Let me know what kinds of problems you're having with opening or using the XLAM file and I'll see what I can do to help.

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