How to Convert an XLS to an OFX

By Joe Murray

Convert binary to XML
i binary digits - computer science image by drx from

Microsoft Excel is a spreadsheet program that employs a simple non-proprietary binary code (XLS) which allows it to work with several different formats. One of these is Comma Separated Format (CSV), which is commonly used in the transfer and storage of bulk data. This data may require separate lines of related information, such as addresses, to be linked together. The CSV format can be read and edited by Microsoft Excel programs. CSV also shares similarities with the OFX XML based code in so far as the structure of each consists of lines of data separated (delimited) by symbols.

Open Financial Exchange (OFX) files use the XML code to store, transfer and manipulate data over the internet. It primarily functions as a conduit to pass along data related to financial activities. Since XLS and OFX are two different formats, they do not work together directly.

A conversion program is needed to enable the transition from XLS to OFX.

Open the XLS document that is to be converted to OFX in the Excel program.

Select the entire spreadsheet by highlighting it.

Click on the Office button (Excel versions 2007 and 2010) in the upper left hand corner of the Excel program. Select the "Save As" command. On the bottom of the dialog box that opens, select the down arrow to the right of "Save As Type" and scroll down to the first "CSV (comma delimited)" entry. Click on this selection and save the file.This step is necessary to make the file simpler to convert to the OFX format.

Open a conversion program such as iCreate OFX Basic. Make sure to select the free trial version.

Upload the saved CSV file to the conversion program.