.XAR File Extension

There are 4 file types use the .XAR file extension:

  1. Excel Auto-Recovery File
  2. Xara Xtreme Drawing
  3. Microsoft Excel Auto-Recovery File
  4. Extensible Archive Format File

1. Excel Auto-Recovery File

Excel Auto-Recovery File

File created by Excel program for auto-recovery purposes; helps recover spreadsheet data when unexpected program close occurs, whether it be a power outage or program error; hidden in Excel and only surfaces after program crash.

Software's name License Platforms
Microsoft Excel Microsoft Excel Commercial MacWindows

Updated: September 8, 2013

2. Xara Xtreme Drawing

Xara Xtreme Drawing

Vector format used by Xara Xtreme and its predecessors, Xara X, CorelXARA, and Xara Photo & Graphic Designer; also created by Xara Designer Pro; can be used for editing photos, creating illustrations, and developing Web graphics; previously known as the Flare file format.

Xara was acquired by MAGIX in 2007. MAGIX released Xara Xtreme 5 as the successor to MAGIX Xtreme Photo & Graphic Designer, and then released Xara Photo & Graphic Designer 6 as the successor to Xara Xtreme 5.

Software's name License Platforms
MAGIX Xara Designer Pro X MAGIX Xara Designer Pro X Free Trial Windows
MAGIX Xara Photo & Graphic Designer MAGIX Xara Photo & Graphic Designer Free Trial Windows
Xara Xtreme for Linux Xara Xtreme for Linux Free Linux

Updated: May 11, 2016

3. Microsoft Excel Auto-Recovery File

Microsoft Excel Auto-Recovery File

A XAR file is a backup file created by Microsoft Excel, a professional spreadsheet application. It is created for auto-recovery purposes to help recover spreadsheet data when unexpected program close occurs, whether it be a power outage or program error. XAR files are hidden in Excel and only surface after an application crash.

Microsoft Excel comes with a built-in Auto-Recover capability that was introduced in Excel 2003, and is still utilized by later versions of Excel, such as Excel 2016, 2019, and 365. To adjust the save settings of the Auto-Recover feature in Excel, follow these steps:

  • Excel 2003 - Select Tools → Options and click the "Save" tab
  • Excel 2007 - Click the Office button and select Excel Options → Save
  • Excel 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, and 365 - Select File → Options → Save

In the "Save" options window, you can set the time intervals (in minutes) in which XAR files are generated (every 10 minutes, by default). You can also set the location where the files are saved.

In Windows, XAR files are saved in the following location:

  • Excel 2003 and 2007 - C:\Documents and Settings\[username]\Application Data\Microsoft\Excel
  • Excel 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, and 365 - C:\Users\[username]\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Excel

Excel automatically deletes XAR files when you save the spreadsheet, when you close the spreadsheet or quit Excel, and when you disable the Auto-Recover feature. However, you may still find numerous Excel XAR files on your computer. In this case, you can delete them to save space and it will not affect your saved spreadsheets.

XAR files are not meant to be manually opened. Instead, Microsoft Excel (Windows and macOS) automatically opens the file as a recovered spreadsheet when you re-open the application after it unexpectedly quits. You can then choose to rename the file and the file type to save it as, typically .XLSX or .XLS.

If you are attempting to open a XAR file, you may need to rename it with the .xls or .xlsx file extension to open it with Excel.

Software's name License Platforms
Microsoft Excel Microsoft Excel Commercial MacWindows

Updated: October 9, 2020

4. Extensible Archive Format File

Extensible Archive Format File

Compressed file created in the Extensible Archive Format (XAR), a format primarily used on Unix-based systems; contains one or more files and may or may not incorporate compression; includes an XML header index, which allows easy searching of the archive's contents.

XAR files can be opened on a Unix-based system using the xar utility and the following command:

    xar -xf test.xar

Software's name License Platforms
7-Zip 7-Zip Open Source LinuxWindows
File Viewer Plus File Viewer Plus Free Trial Windows
Incredible Bee Archiver Incredible Bee Archiver Commercial Mac
xar xar Free LinuxMac

Updated: May 31, 2015

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