For those who work with XML documents regularly, opening such files with ease to view the data they contain will only make out work easier as we can work a lot faster with little or no inhibitions. Just in case you didn’t know, there are several ways to open XML files.
Using only one method may not always be in your best interest, so read on to find out other ingenious ways to open them.
What is an XML File?
Before we proceed, it will be wise for us to first understand in technical detail what an XML file is.
XML stands for Extensible Markup Language. These are basically standard ASCII text based files and hence can be opened or edited using any standard text editor. These files use tags for defining objects as well as objects attributes. These XML files are formatted in a similar manner as HTML documents but usually contain custom tags which have no meaning in HTML for defining of the custom data they are meant to hold.
XML files have picked up popularity in the recent past due to their ease of parsing and small size enables them for ease of transferring over the internet quickly. These files are used very commonly today in technologies such as SOAP, Web Services, AJAX, etc where the underlying data is all communicated to and from the servers in XML format.
For starters, it is a language markup curated by the W3C (World Wide Web Consortium) to define a selected series of syntax for document encoding.
These codes are readable by both humans and computers through tags. Similarly to Hypertext Markup Language (HTML), which also uses shortcodes, the only difference is that XML uses a longer and more extensive code to describe its format.
What’s more? the users can use their own special markups to describe their own content in a defining way. This, along with its ease of use, is one of the reasons why this format is widely used by many. To clearly distinguish HTML from XML, let’s say that
- HTML is used for content presentation
- XML is used as a dedicated storage platform for data language description
Some common file formats that use XML include
- ATOM and RSS – Describe how your reader handles news feeds
- Microsoft.NET – Is used to configure files
- Microsoft Office 2007 and Subsequent Versions – Structures documents. Eg. What X represents in.DOCX
How to open XML Files
Now that we have given you a brief overview of what is and what it is used for let us show you how to open one directly.
Associate the XML file extension with the correct application. You may right-click on the file and click on “Open with” – “Choose another app.” Then, select another program and check the box “Use this app always to open
You can easily open an xml file in Excel. These are the required steps:
- Launch Excel.
- Go to File Open and find your XML
- Double click on the file you want to confirm
- Select the option as a XML table
- Now you can see a spreadsheet with all the columns from the original extensible markup language file.
This is what you need to do in order to use Microsoft Word with this file format.
- Launch Word
- Go to the menu file open
- Find your XML
- You can also save your file to .DOC or other word document format.
Use a Simple Text Editor like notepad
If you work with XML all the time, you can hasten the process by using a Text Editor. However, you should know that a lot of Editors are not designed to display your XML files in a proper structure. What this means is that the file will come out differently from what you are often used to. Text Editors are best used to open them so as to take a quick look. To use a Text Editor, just do the following.
- Right-click the file you wish to open
- Point your cursor to “Open With” on the menu
- Click “Notepad”
This action will open the XML file within seconds.
NB: Text Editors are suitable for glancing the data in the XML document. If you want to work extensively with or on their data, an Editor may not be an ideal tool.
Use your Web Browser like Chrome
If you do not intend to edit the XML, you can use a Web Browser to view the structured data it contains. You can even use the browser you are using to read this article to view the file or files. It may also interest you to know that most browsers have default settings, which are set as a default viewer. To use a Web Browser, follow these steps.
- Double click the XML document with your cursor
- When the file opens, it will display a structured data
- Scroll through the data to view
NB: The data will be clear to see but will not be as colorful as what is obtainable with Notepad++.
An Online XML Editor
Do you know that you can do more than just the viewing of an XML with an Online Editor? You can also edit and convert them too. If you wish to edit the data but you don’t want to go through the stress of downloading a text editor, you can download a free Online Editor. An XML viewer can be used for conversion purposes. Some very good Online Editors are
These websites can enable you to view and edit your XML files. Once you are done with the edition, you can then re-download the file or convert it to a different format of your choosing.
Use the XML- JSON for conversion
Another very easy way to open XML documents is to the following
- Use the Export to CSV key to saving your file in comma-separation
- You can also use the download command to download changes made to the XML file
These steps above are very simple steps to view and even convert your XML files.
Although you can use any of them, it is often best to use the option that offers you the best results based on your personal preference. If you only want to view the xml, it is best to use a Text Editor or a Web Browser. If you intend to convert the file to a different format, XML/JSON converter or an Online Editor will be appropriate.