How to open ODS file in Numbers app on a Mac

To actually open an ODS file with all the formulas you need to install Open Office or Libre Office or some other program that understands ODS format, but if you just need to quickly get the data and the basic structure of an old file:

  • Right-click (two-finger-click) the ODS file and select Open With -> Other
  • Select TextEdit app
  • Select all of the content
  • Paste it into a new Numbers spreadsheet

If you had formulas in some cells, they will now have (correct) results of those calculations, but in my case that was all I really needed.

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© Svemir Brkic 2019.


  • Cliff says:

    Thanks for taking the time to put this info out theree. It is really helpful to folks like myself and saves a lot of headaches.

  • shanmugam says:

    Really helpful to open .ods file without installing any app related to this...

  • stu says:

    This doesn't work for just crashes numbers

  • Dennis Murphy says:

    When I do this all I get is a lot of gibberish in one column!

  • charlotte says:

    Thank you so so much! yo are a life saver! 🙂

  • Skyler says:

    Thanks for this. I was scratching my head wondering why this functionality isn't built in.

  • Mr Pesco :D says:


  • Clare West says:

    Thanks for this - sone idiot sent out a rota to a group of volunteers using an ods file and I only opened it thanks to your advice .... and taking it from text edit, to Excel and then to Word!

  • murali says:

    Thanks a lot. It did help me a lot

  • Susan Kayser says:

    This didn't work for me. I was able to open the file in TextEdit, which was a big help, but then could not copy it into either Numbers (3.6.2) or Excel (Office 2011). Numbers just hung, and Excel crashed. Pasting into Word put every cell into a single column. (For reference, I'm running macOS 10.11.6.)

  • Jason says:

    why hasn't anyone mentioned that there is no "right-click" on Mac??!!! This was useless

  • Preeti says:

    Hey, thanks a lot for this. It really helped.

  • confg says:

    I had a .ods file and change the extension from .ods to .xsl or .xslx and opened it in excel 2016 for mac

  • Gombhet says:

    Thanks dude! Awesome! I was scratching my nuts trying to figure this out, how to copy tons of data and formulas from ods into excel and it appears into one very long column. Well done mambo jumbo!

  • svemir says:

    Thanks Jason, I updated the article. I assumed it was a common knowledge that "right click" from other platforms is the same as "two-finger click" on a Mac.

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