What to Know

  • A file with the XSLT file extension is an Extensible Stylesheet Language Transformations file.
  • It's a language used to transform and style an XML file.
  • Use any text editor to open one or convert one to a different text-based format.

This article explains what an XSLT file is, how they're used, and how to open one on your computer.

What Is an XSLT File?

An XSLT file is a text file and provides rules that an XML file should follow. Among other functions, it can be used for sorting and arranging different parts of the XML file and hiding some elements from displaying altogether. W3Schools.com has some XSLT examples you can look at.

When these files are used with XML files, the original XML file isn't altered in any way. Instead, a new XML file is created. In fact, XSLT files can be used to "transform" not only XML files, but also many other structured documents.

XSLT files in Windows 10

A lot more information about how these files are structured, and examples and tutorials on using them, can be found at W3Schools and in the official XSLT specification documentation.

How to Open an XSLT File

You can open an XSLT file in any text editor, since it's a text-only file. Windows Notepad is the text editor built-in to Windows and can be helpful if you need to quickly make a change, but it's probably not the best program for doing heavy editing.

See this list of the best free text editors for better apps that can open and edit XSLT files. It structures the file in a way that makes it much easier to edit and read than with the most basic text editors like Notepad.

Microsoft’s Visual Studio is another XSLT opener and editor that simplifies the whole editing process. While you’re making changes to the file, you can view how the transformations will look in the resulting file through the XML menu.

Although they’re not free, XMLSpy XSLT Editor and Liquid Studio are some other good options.

You might also be able to open the file in a web browser for viewing the code, but doing that won't let you make any edits.

How to Convert an XSLT File

If you open an XSLT file in an editor like Visual Studio, you’ll be able to save the file to a number of other formats like XSL, XSD, XML, DTD, CONFIG, etc.

What you may be looking for instead of converting an XSLT file is a way to actually use it for its intended purpose, which is to transform XML files.

XSLT files build documents by combining the instructions of an XSL file and the code of an XML file. You can use FreeFormatter.com’s XSL Transformer for this purpose. It supports pasting the XML and XSL values on the website, as well as uploading these files from your computer.

Still Can't Open It?

If you can't open your file with the programs linked above, you're most likely confusing another file extension for this one. Some are so similar that it's easy to misread it, thinking you're dealing with an XSLT file.

For example, XSPF and XSLIC (XenServer License) look like they could be related in some way to XSLT files. But if you try opening those files in one of the programs above, it will probably display an error.

XSLT is also very close in spelling to Microsoft’s formats, like XLSX, XLTX, and XLS. But, again, those are different file formats that, in this case, open in MS Excel.

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