Problems downloading .xls files from web sites

  csqwared 15:27 24 Sep 2014

I've always downloaded my Santander statement in .xls format to Linux Mint 13/LibreOffice/Calc without any problem. This months attempt has resulted LibreOffice defaulting to Writer and presenting the statement in HTML source code. I switched to my other machine WinXP Pro/Firefox into MS Excel and get the message "The file you are trying to open is a different format than specified by the file extension". I get the same result using IE8 and WinXP/Excel. I thought this was a Santander problem (currently re-working their web site), but have just tried to download my TalkTalk phone account with exactly the same result. Other files from these sites (PDF, TXT) download correctly.

Any ideas folks?

  Fruit Bat /\0/\ 16:26 24 Sep 2014

Only thought is spread sheets can contain macros which possbly your Av program is interpreting as a virus.

  csqwared 16:35 24 Sep 2014

*Fruit Bat /\0/*

That's what I can't understand. I've not altered any of my AV stuff, Linux will open the file but in HTML and this is the first time over three years I've had a problem? The report from Excel regarding the wrong extension made me think originally of wrongly written software by Santander, but now two sites don't work.

  csqwared 19:09 25 Sep 2014

As a follow up, tried the downloads on my wife's machine (WinXP Pro with Opera) with the same result. Seems to me the only common denominator is the service provider (TalkTalk). Is that possible?

  csqwared 19:35 26 Sep 2014

Woolwell, rdav13

Using Office 2010 on both Win XP pc's & LibreOffice on Linux.

Linux machine uses Firefox, my Win PC uses Firefox but also tried IE8. My wife's machine uses Opera.

The file will open in Linux but in Writer not Calc and displays the HTML code, which, when 'deciphered' contains the correct information (Transactions etc.) of my account.

I do save the file and then try and open it with the appropriate software. The file title has a .xls extension not .xlsx

I've not experienced problems before nor, as far as I know, has anything changed that would affect all three systems.

I've got a spare router kicking about somewhere, I'll give it a try.

Thanks for your input

  csqwared 19:36 26 Sep 2014

Incidentally the .pdf and .txt files work perfectly.

  csqwared 20:36 26 Sep 2014


No, I save the file to HDD, open Calc or Excel and then try to open the file with File/Open from menu. Excel gives me the 'wrong extension' window and Linux opens LibreOffice Writer and then the file. With Linux, in the case of the Santander file it opens as HTML and the TalkTalk file opens as pure text (as though it was a .txt file). All the information contained therein is correct, just not presented in the proper manner.

Have just upgraded the firmware on my router, an OnNetworks N150, also tried my old router (Netgear DG834) and still get the same result as previously.

By the way none of my PC's are wifi, all three are ethernet connected.

Lokks like a chat with the service provider. :-((

  csqwared 20:38 26 Sep 2014

Lokks?? = looks

  csqwared 09:22 27 Sep 2014


My Win systems are set as you suggest by default and shows .xls as the file extension. I only use it normally to test out stuff my missus might use on her machine, my preferred system being Linux. My next port of call will be to try a download from a machine using a different provider and see what happens.

As mentioned previously the files are fine as PDF or TXT and I can work with that, just prefer it in XLS format.


Did try changing the extension without any success and the service provider route will be a desperation measure.

Thanks to you both for the input


  csqwared 19:59 27 Sep 2014

Dug out an old lappy with Linux, downloaded file to USB stick, opened LibreCalc, opened downloaded file and it worked correctly!! Ran a live LinuxCD on one of the problem PC's and went through the same process with the same result. Looks like rdav13 might have a point, watch this space.



  csqwared 18:57 30 Sep 2014

O.K. Here's where I'm at:-

Run Linux LiveCD on either machine which has LibreOffice 3.5 by default and LibreCalc opens files O.K.

Try and open file in MS Office 2010 or LibreCalc 4.3 and file either won't open or doesn't open in correct format.

During the course of my investigating this I managed to break Win XP so ran Kill Disc, reinstalled XP using slipstreamed XP disc, installed Office 2000. File still won't open correctly. Uninstalled Office 2000, installed Office 2010, file won't open. Installed LibreOffice 3.5 on same machine alongside Office 2010, file works properly.

Since the file opens on both machines in LibreOffice 3.5 I can only conclude that there is some kind of incompatability with this file and later software versions of Office & Calc. Personally, I'm totally stumped. I shall continue with LibreOffice 3.5.

All the above just for clarification should other folks need it.



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