Other than OpenOffice, can you suggest a light free viewer for Excel files?


Isn't Quick Look enough?

You could also try to upload them on Google Docs.

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  • 2
    +1 for QuickLook. You can't do any editing within QuickLook, mind you, but simply for viewing you can't get any more lightweight than that. – Scott Aug 25 '10 at 19:03
  • +1 here as well as I don't even have Office on my Mac and I can still view Office documents, and I just use OpenOffice if I ever have to get content out of them. – Philip Regan Aug 25 '10 at 19:28
  • +1 Quicklook is really useful when you just want to read a Microsoft Office file. – Studer Aug 25 '10 at 19:42
  • I'm aware of QuickLook and it is great, however the view disappears when you edit another document. Moreover, you cannot copy and paste text from the view. – emit Aug 26 '10 at 2:30

Quick Look can be set to allow copying of text. Launch Terminal and type the following command:

defaults write com.apple.finder QLEnableTextSelection -bool true

Then restart the Finder with the following command:

killall Finder

After selecting use the keyboard ⌘+C to copy.

Read more at Cult of Mac


Selecting text seems to be disabled in OS X 10.11. But this Terminal hack works in many versions prior to 10.11.

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  • Could we make this answer more brief? – D A Vincent Aug 22 '16 at 11:43
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    Feel free to edit. – bjbk Aug 22 '16 at 12:10

I myself use OS X's Quick Look. I think it's good enough.

Just select your xls (or xlsx) file and do one of the following:

  • press Space

  • press ⌘ Y

  • right click and choose Quick Look

and the file will be viewable in a separate window. Press Space again to close.

Quick Look can also be opened in full screen by pressing ⌥ Space or ⌥ ⌘ Y in the Finder. Press Esc to exit full screen.

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This answer is just to provide an update as of March 2016

Microsoft Office Online will allow you to not just view, but create, edit, and save Excel documents without having the software installed.

enter image description here

For a complete list of features available for Excel Online, check out the page on support.office.com page

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Apple Numbers can be used to view Excel spreadsheet files. Numbers is available for macOS, iOS and web. Numbers which was previously a paid app is now available free of cost. Numbers web app can be used on compatible browsers even on a Windows and Linux computer.

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  • How well does Numbers cover Excel features and file types? – D A Vincent Aug 22 '16 at 11:50

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