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The Nightmare That Is Called MS Excel

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Many, if not all of you whom have used our spreadsheet application called SSuite Accel, have wondered why it is not compatible with its modern counterpart MS Excel.

Well... in its most basic form and reasoning, our spreadsheet application IS completely compatible with the MS Excel 4.0 and MS Excel 5.0 spreadsheet formats. You simply need to use the correct software!

I have discovered that when using MS Works 1 through 7, that when saving a spreadsheet in any of the above mentioned MS Excel formats, that they open without a single problem in our spreadsheets.

But doing the same in MS Excel 97 through to the current version does not provide the same compatibility. This is because Microsoft locked these formats from the 1997 version onwards, making them completely unreadable and locked.

But do not fear or give up hope... I have also discovered a conversion/unlocking process using MS Excel 97 through MS Excel 2003 editions.

Here follows proof positive that the files are indeed locked by Microsoft, and can be opened to be read by our spreadsheets without any difficulty...

Step 1:

Save your active MS Excel worksheet, in MS Excel, as an Excel 4 Worksheet.

Step 2:

Immediately save the same worksheet as an Excel Workbook { 97-2003 }, using the "Save As" function, with a different Name as the Excel 4 worksheet.

Step 3:

You can now open your MS Excel 4 worksheet in SSuite SpreadForm One or SSuite Accel as an MS Excel 4 spreadsheet.


The above process only works in MS Excel 97 through 2003. So there you have it, proof positive that Microsoft locks its spreadsheets to prevent other third-party developers becoming compatible { or is that competing! } with them.

An useful correspondence table relating corresponding MS Excel and BIFF versions:

Excel Version      Commercial Name      BIFF Version      Release Year and Notes

2.x                           Excel 2.0                         BIFF2                  1987 - Before CFBF. File is the BIFF stream, single worksheet.

3.0                          Excel 3.0                         BIFF3                  1990 - Before CFBF. File is the BIFF stream, single worksheet.

4.0                          Excel 4.0                         BIFF4                  1992 - Before CFBF. File is the BIFF stream, single worksheet.

5.0                          Excel 5.0                         BIFF5                   1993 - With BIFF5, a Workbook can store individual Worksheets.

7.0                          Excel 95                          BIFF5                   1995

8.0                          Excel 98                          BIFF8                   1998

9.0                          Excel 2000                     BIFF8                    1999

10.0                        Excel XP                         BIFF8                    2001

11.0                        Excel 2003                     BIFF8                    2003

12.0                        Excel 2007                     BIFF8                    2007 - Introduced alternate XML format.

14.0                        Excel 2010                     BIFF8                    2010 - XML format is usually the default for new files.



This free spreadsheet is suitable for Desktop Computers, laptops, ultrabooks and Surface Pro Tablets, or just old and crappy computers. Free SSuite Office Software and Suites including free downloads of Microsoft Software Applications.

       SSuite Office Accel Spreadsheet

               A professional spreadsheet application for home and office use.

               Download 23MB




So there you have it, we are completely compatible with MS Excel, just not the way you thought it ought to be!!

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