Microsoft KB Archive/104441

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XL: Fields Truncated When File Is Saved in .dbf Format

Article ID: 104441

Article Last Modified on 8/16/2005


  • Microsoft Excel 2.0 Standard Edition
  • Microsoft Excel 2.01
  • Microsoft Excel 2.1 Standard Edition
  • Microsoft Excel 2.10c
  • Microsoft Excel 2.10d
  • Microsoft Excel 3.0 Standard Edition
  • Microsoft Excel 3.0a
  • Microsoft Excel 4.0 Standard Edition
  • Microsoft Excel 4.0a
  • Microsoft Excel 4.0c
  • Microsoft Excel 5.0 Standard Edition
  • Microsoft Excel 5.0c
  • Microsoft Excel 2.2 for Macintosh
  • Microsoft Excel 2.2a
  • Microsoft Excel 3.0 for Macintosh
  • Microsoft Excel 3.0a for Macintosh
  • Microsoft Excel 4.0 for Macintosh
  • Microsoft Excel 5.0 for Macintosh
  • Microsoft Excel 5.0a for Macintosh
  • Microsoft Excel 5.0 Standard Edition
  • Microsoft Excel 95 Standard Edition
  • Microsoft Excel 97 Standard Edition

This article was previously published under Q104441


If a Microsoft Excel document contains a database with more than 128 columns and you save the file in dBASE file format, you may only save the first 128 columns of the database. When you close and reopen the file, the columns after the 128th column will be missing.


This situation occurs because the .dbf file formats only support a maximum of 255 fields per record in .DB4, 128 fields per record in .DB3, and 32 fields per record in .DB2.

The number of columns that are saved depends on your version of Microsoft Excel as well as the version of dBASE that the file is saved in. Based on your version of Microsoft Excel or dBASE, all of the columns of data may be saved, 32 of the columns may be saved, 128 of the columns may be saved, or 255 of the columns will be saved. The following table shows how many columns of data will be saved when the database is saved in various .dbf file formats:

    of Excel         Platform     File Type     Number of Columns

    All              All          DBF2               32
    All              All          DBF3              128
    4.0              Windows      DBF4              128
    4.0              Macintosh    DBF4              255
    4.0a             Windows      DBF4              255
    5.0              Windows/NT   DBF4              255
    5.0a             Macintosh    DBF4              255
    5.0c             Windows      DBF4              255
    7.0              Windows 95   DBF4              255
    97               Windows      DBF4              255


"User's Guide 1," version 4.0, pages 57-63

"User's Guide," version 3.0, pages 129-136

Additional query words: 3.0 3.00 4.0a 4.00a 5.0 5.00c 7.0 7.0a 7.00a 8.00 97 XL97

Keywords: kbprb KB104441