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I can double-click the file and a browser preview opens that looks like excel.... but it is basically just a browser preview feature and it is read-only.

The file came from a Windows machine.

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What programs do you have on your Mac? How did you get the file onto your machine? – Daniel Sep 6 '12 at 18:11
1. What app are you opening the file in? Excel? Numbers? OpenOffice/LibreOffice? 2. Is the file being opened from a remote drive? From an email? From your Desktop? – CajunLuke Sep 6 '12 at 18:14
i get a .xlsx file and I double click on it it opens as a browser preview, not an editable spreadsheet – Michael Durrant Sep 6 '12 at 19:30
looks like I should be opening it in a spreadsheet application but which one? how to choose? how to find. If ones knows windows it is ms office and excel. If one does NOT know a mac at all, which product to use / pick / download, etc. – Michael Durrant Sep 6 '12 at 19:33
If you're looking for a software recommendation, you should re-word your question. However what you probably want is Microsoft's Office for Mac suite, which includes the Mac version of Excel. – robmathers Sep 6 '12 at 19:37
up vote 0 down vote accepted

This response makes a couple of assumptions:

  • You just want to be able to open the document and do basic editing
  • The document is essentially local to your computer
  • You want a free / open source solution

You should be able to use Apache OpenOffice CALC to edit files in the Microsoft Excel file format of .xlsx as per the OpenOffice website:

Since version 3.0, Calc has been able to read .xlsx files created with Microsoft Office 2007 or Microsoft Office 2008 for Mac OS X

You may download OpenOffice from this site:

Alternatively, you can always use the MAC version of Microsoft Office 2011 available for purchase here:

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May I suggest LibreOffice instead? Most OpenOffice developers jumped ship. – Gerry Sep 6 '12 at 21:05
Apache OpenOffice CALC does not save XLSX files! Downvoted. – CommaToast May 20 at 2:41

If you have opened it in Excel but you are unable to select or change it, the sheet may be protected. If the sheet has been protected using the Tools > Protection > Protect Sheet option then a lock symbol will appear next to the sheet name in Excel 2011.

Sheet protection can be removed by using the Tools > Protection > Unprotect Sheet command.

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