Spreadsheets created in Apple Numbers can be wondrous things, but opening them in Excel on a Windows PC is something of a headache. It can be done, though, with a little help from iCloud.

In this article we show you how to open and edit .numbers files in Windows. Read next: How to use Numbers for Mac

What is a .numbers file?

Numbers is the Apple equivalent of Excel. It comes with every new Mac and is also available as a free download to all Mac users via the App Store.

When a spreadsheet is created in Numbers the application saves it in the .numbers file format. This is fine if you intend to share it with other Mac users, but gets a bit problematic when it comes to Excel as the Microsoft app can't open .numbers files directly.

For that it needs assistance from Apple's iCloud web apps.

How to open a .numbers file on a Windows PC

To get your .numbers file into a recognisable state for Windows you'll first need to open it in the iCloud version of Numbers. This is a free edition of the Apple app that you access online, much in the same way as Office online or Google Docs.

You'll need an iCloud account, but if you've used iTunes, an iPhone or an iPad then you may well already have one.

iCloud uses Apple IDs, so if you don't have one then you'll need to quickly create a free account. To do this visit the Create an Apple ID site and follow the onscreen instructions. We've also created a step-by-step guide on How to change, create or reset Apple ID which you can read for more details. Read next: Alternatives to Numbers for Mac

Using iCloud

With your Apple ID up and running it's time to move on to opening the .numbers file. Browse to www.icloud.com then sign in with your Apple ID.

Now you should see a range of apps available for you to use, which include Mail, Calendar, Photos, Notes, Pages, and most importantly Numbers.

How to edit numbers files on Windows

Double-click on the latter and then click on the gear icon at the top of the screen which will open a dropdown menu.

How to edit numbers files on Windows

At the top of the list is Upload Spreadsheet. Select this and then navigate to your .numbers file and click Open.

Editing and sharing the .numbers file

With your .numbers file now open you can choose to either edit it in the online version of Numbers, which will be fine for basic tasks and viewing the spreadsheet, or exporting it in a format that Excel will accept.

To create a .xlsx file make sure that the .numbers file is open, then go to the spanner icon in the upper right area of the screen. Click this and a dropdown menu appears.

how to edit numbers files on Windows

Select Download a Copy and then choose Excel from the list of file formats.

how to edit numbers files on windows

Now Numbers will convert the file into one you can open and use in Excel.

That's it. Now you're free to pursue a life of spreadsheet happiness and may no file format put asunder.