SYLK Spreadsheet [.SLK] File Description

Surfer imports and exports data to SYLK spreadsheet [.SLK] files.

Symbolic Link SYLK is a Microsoft file format typically used to exchange data between applications, specifically spreadsheets. SYLK files conventionally have a [.SLK] suffix. From within a spreadsheet data can be exported in the SYLK format. Composed of only displayable ANSI characters, it can be easily created and processed by other applications, such as databases.

Microsoft does not publish a SYLK specification. Variants of the format are supported by Multiplan, Microsoft Excel, Microsoft Works,, and Gnumeric.

Note that even if a SYLK file is created by an application that supports Unicode (for example Microsoft Excel), the SYLK file will be encoded in the current system's ANSI code page, not in Unicode. If the application contained characters that were displayable in Unicode but have no codepoint in the current system's code page, they will be converted to question marks ('?') in the SYLK file.

If a SYLK file is created in another application and loaded into the worksheet, there might be special formatting information in the file that the worksheet cannot use. In these cases, the data file is loaded without the special formatting, but if the file is saved in a SYLK format in the worksheet the special formatting information is lost.

Technically, the SYLK specification has a 65,536 row limit and a 256 column limit. However, SYLK is an ASCII format so it is possible to have an unlimited size. The Golden Software SYLK Import and Export filters allow limits greater than the specifications indicate, so larger worksheets can be saved in SYLK format. However, other spreadsheet programs may not be able to load these large SYLK files.

ClosedSample SYLK code

As an example, the following SYLK code in a text file with the [.SLK] extension:


C;Y1;X1;K"Row 1"

C;Y2;X1;K"Row 2"






would be displayed like this when read by an appropriate spreadsheet:

Row 1


Row 2




Loading .SLK Files

.SLK files can be loaded with the File | Open command.

Import Options Dialog

No import options dialog is displayed.

Import Automation Options

No import options are available.

Saving .SLK Files

.SLK files can be saved from a worksheet using the File | Save As command.

Export Options Dialog

No export options dialog is displayed.

Export Automation Options

No export options are available.

See Also

File Format Chart