How to Convert Lotus 123 Files to Excel

By Ken Burnside

At one point, Lotus 123 was the dominant spreadsheet on the market. It steadily lost market share to Excel through the 1990s. Loading Lotus 123 files into Excel is doable, and there are two ways to do it: Saving the file in Excel format from Lotus 123, or opening the Lotus 123 file in Excel and letting Excel handle the conversion.

Things You'll Need

  • Excel 1997 or later
  • Lotus 123 (recommended)

From Lotus 123

Step 1

Open your file in Lotus 123.

Step 2

Go to the "File" menu, select "Save As," and save it as a Microsoft 97 file (*.xls).

Step 3

Open the resulting .xls file in Excel.

From Excel

Step 1

Open Excel.

Step 2

Locate the Lotus 123 file (with an extension of *.wk4 in most cases).

Step 3

Click "Open." Excel will prompt you for approval before converting the file.

Step 4

Go to the "File" menu, and select "Save As" to save a copy of the file as an Excel native format.

Tips & Warnings

  • There are a number of places where functions work differently between the two spreadsheets. If you have access to both programs, check the formula results to spot discrepancies. To get a list of these differences, please see the References section.