Reading Excel Files in Python

2011/01/18

Tagged with: python, excel

Note: This is the second post in the Bulk Tag Generation in Python series.

If you've ever had a small data set to work with; or had a data set provided by a non-technical user, it would probably have been an Excel file. Now, working with that in Excel itself sometimes becomes a pain, so we can get around that limitation by using the xlrd module.

With this module, working with Excel 2003 files is a breeze (it doesn't have support for 2007 yet, unfortunately). Let's just jump into the (mostly self explanatory) code:

import xlrd
wkbk = xlrd.open_workbook('data.xls')
sheet = wkbk.sheet_by_name('Sheet 1')
data = sheet.cell(row_number, column_number).value

And that's all you need to do. Simple and useful. The module handles type conversions automatically, so if your cell is formatted as a 'number', it will automatically be a float, not a string. Just note that row and column numbers are zero based, so the first row is row 0.

Next time, we'll cover how to read in a small-sized data set and keep it manageable in Python, using its dynamic nature.

- Hasnain

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