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InDesign | Importing Xslx file error

Community Beginner ,
Aug 20, 2023 Aug 20, 2023

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Hey everyone, 

I've been trying to practice around with InDesign for the past few days. As a part of an online course, I need to import an Excel sheet into InDesign. 
Now, I was given a specific file to import to my practice project, it's working great. 

But- when I try to create my own sheet on Numbers (since I have Mac), I have been receiving this error: 
“Cannot place this file. No filter found for requested operation.”

 

I should note, I've been saving the file as Xslx. 
I've also tried to Google this around all day and try to work things out, I've seen that I should export the Numbers file as .xsl, and not as .xsls, and that should be under the "advanced" option in the export panel window, but I don't have this "advanced" option on the Numbers app and exporting panel at all. 

Moreover, the practice file I've received via the course is indeed .xsls and it works just fine, it's just the files that I'm creating on Numbers and exporting them as .xsls that can't be imported into InDesign. 

 

My InDesign is of course up to date and updated to the latest version, I've also tried to import the .xsls file into a brand new project but it also doesn't work. 
I also tried exporting a Google Sheets document as .xsls and import it to InDesign- same error. 

What can I do at this point? 
Thanks for your replies and assistance!

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Bug , Import and export

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Community Expert ,
Aug 20, 2023 Aug 20, 2023

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Numbers is NOT EXCEL!

Fake Excel files from apps like Numbers or Google Sheets do not play nice with InDesign so you're going to need Excel to get this to work.

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Community Expert ,
Aug 20, 2023 Aug 20, 2023

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.xlsx files can be ... problematic ... to pull into InDesign. Especially if you're creating/translating them from other programs than Microsoft Excel.

 

Luckily you have two easy fallback positions to take if you want that spreadsheet data in your InDesign document:

 

  • Saving the file as an Office 97-2001 spreadsheet file (.xls) will give you most all the Excel formatting without the underlying XML substructures that can cause complications that travel hand in hand with .xlsx formated spreadsheet files.
  • Saving the file as a comma/tab delimited ASCII file (.txt) will strip out most all the table formatting — which may or may not be a good thing — and give you raw text fodder to format into a table as you see fit.

 

Please note that some things are problematic to translate (e.g. graphs created in MSExcel and/or programs emulating its output) no matter what format you choose for output from your spreadsheet and import into InDesign.

 

And as far as the "school answer", by default there will be no link and practically no evidence of the crime for your instructor to detect if you import it in either of those two formats I outlined above. So I suspect there'll be no penalty if you choose to take the easy way out.

 

Hope this helps,

 

Randy

 

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Community Expert ,
Aug 20, 2023 Aug 20, 2023

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Bob and Randy have covered it — and it's dismaying how many posts we see here from users trying to import Word and Excel files from alternate apps, with all the problems you're seeing — but I will just note that if this class is primarily for InDesign, carry the message back to the instructor from three Community Experts (backed, probably, by all the others) that it is essential that .doc/x and .xls/x files must originate from the MS apps, not from any clone or converter or export-as function.

 

The only solution to problems with, say, a document written in Sheets and exported to .xls/x is to successfully open and re-save that file in some reasonably current version of Excel. Ditto for Docs/Pages to Word.


╟ Word & InDesign to Kindle & EPUB: a Guide to Pro Results (Amazon) ╢

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