How to Convert DBF to XLS: A Step-by-Step Guide

Converting DBF to XLS simply entails using a software or online service that can read the .dbf file format and save it as an .xls file, which is compatible with Microsoft Excel. After completing the conversion, you will have your DBF file data in an Excel spreadsheet, ready for analysis, reporting, or any other purpose you have in mind.

After completing the conversion, you can open and edit the Excel file with all the data from your original DBF file. You can also take advantage of Excel’s various features such as formulas, charts, and data tools that were not available in the DBF format.


DBF files, or Database Files, have been around for a long time. They were originally used by the dBase database management system, which was a popular software application in the 80s and 90s. Today, you might still come across DBF files in various industries such as banking, retail, or even within your own company’s legacy systems. But let’s face it, we’re living in the age of Microsoft Excel. It’s the go-to program for anything related to data analysis and reporting. So, what do you do when you have a bunch of data stored in an outdated DBF format? You convert it to XLS, of course!

Converting DBF to XLS is important for several reasons. Firstly, Excel is widely used and familiar to most users, making it easier to share and collaborate on data. Secondly, Excel offers a range of tools and features for data analysis that are not available in DBF files. Lastly, converting to Excel allows for better data visualization and integration with other Microsoft Office tools. This guide is particularly relevant for individuals or businesses that need to upgrade their data management systems or make their data more accessible and useful.

Step-by-Step Tutorial: How to Convert DBF to XLS

This section will guide you through the process of converting your DBF file into an XLS file, step by step.

Step 1: Identify a Suitable Conversion Tool

Find a DBF to XLS conversion software or online service.

There are many tools available, both software and online services, that can convert DBF files to XLS format. Ensure that the tool you choose supports the specific DBF file you want to convert and that it is compatible with your operating system.

Step 2: Open the DBF File in the Conversion Tool

Load your DBF file into the conversion tool.

Most conversion tools will have an option to ‘Open’ or ‘Load’ a file. Select this option and navigate to the folder where your DBF file is saved. Once you find it, select the file and open it in the conversion tool.

Step 3: Choose XLS as the Output Format

Select XLS as the desired output format for the file conversion.

In the conversion tool, look for an option that allows you to select the output format. It may be a dropdown menu or a list of formats. Choose XLS or Excel format from the available options.

Step 4: Start the Conversion Process

Initiate the conversion of the DBF file to the XLS format.

Once you’ve selected XLS as the output format, look for a button or option that says ‘Convert’, ‘Start’, or something similar. Click on this to begin converting your DBF file to an Excel spreadsheet.

Step 5: Save the Converted XLS File

Save the newly converted XLS file onto your computer.

After the conversion process is complete, you will need to save the new XLS file. Choose a location on your computer where you want to save it, provide a name for the file, and click ‘Save’.


AccessibilityConverting DBF to XLS makes your data more accessible since Excel is a widely used program with a user-friendly interface. This allows more people to work with the data without needing specialized software.
Enhanced FeaturesExcel offers a variety of advanced features for data analysis, such as pivot tables, charts, and formulas which are not available in DBF files. This makes the data more powerful and versatile.
Data IntegrationExcel files can be easily integrated with other Microsoft Office tools and many third-party applications, allowing for more efficient workflows and data management.


Potential Data LossDuring the conversion process, some data or formatting might be lost or altered, especially if the DBF file contains complex structures or types that do not have a direct equivalent in Excel.
Learning CurveFor those unfamiliar with Excel, there might be a learning curve to understand how to use its features effectively. This can temporarily slow down productivity.
Software DependencyConverting DBF to XLS makes you dependent on Microsoft Excel or similar spreadsheet software, which may not be feasible for all users due to costs or compatibility issues.

Additional Information

While converting DBF to XLS is a relatively straightforward process, there are some additional tips you should consider. Firstly, always back up your original DBF file before starting the conversion process. You never know when something might go wrong, and having a backup will save you from potential headaches. Also, if your DBF file is particularly large or contains complex data structures, consider using a conversion tool that offers advanced features and customization options. This can help preserve the integrity of your data during the conversion process.

Another thing to keep in mind is that there might be some differences in how certain data is handled between DBF and Excel. For example, date formats might not always translate perfectly. Be sure to check the converted data for accuracy and make any necessary adjustments. Lastly, if you plan on doing this type of conversion regularly, it might be worth investing in a reliable, paid conversion tool that offers customer support and regular updates.


  1. Identify a suitable conversion tool.
  2. Open the DBF file in the conversion tool.
  3. Choose XLS as the output format.
  4. Start the conversion process.
  5. Save the converted XLS file.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I convert DBF to XLS without software?

Yes, there are online services that allow you to convert DBF files to XLS without downloading any software. However, always ensure you trust the service since you’ll be uploading potentially sensitive data.

Will converting a DBF file to XLS change the data?

The actual data should remain the same, but there might be changes in formatting or the way certain data types are displayed. Always verify the data after conversion.

Can I convert a DBF file to XLSX instead of XLS?

Yes, many conversion tools offer the option to convert DBF files to the newer XLSX format, which is the default file type for more recent versions of Excel.

Is it safe to use online DBF to XLS converters?

It can be, but always ensure you are using a reputable service and consider the sensitivity of the data you are converting. If you have concerns about data privacy, opt for a downloadable software tool instead.

Can I convert multiple DBF files to XLS at once?

Some tools offer batch conversion features, allowing you to convert multiple DBF files to XLS format in one go. Check if your chosen conversion tool supports this feature.


Converting DBF to XLS can open up a world of possibilities for data analysis, sharing, and reporting. With today’s tools and services, the process is accessible to anyone, regardless of technical expertise.

Whether you’re a business professional, data analyst, or just someone trying to make sense of old data files, converting your DBF files to Excel can help you unlock the full potential of your data. Remember to verify the converted data for accuracy, and you’ll be well on your way to a more streamlined and efficient data management process.

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