Most Valuable Professional

View Jan Karel Pieterse's profile on LinkedIn subscribe to rss feed
Subscribe in a reader

Home > English site > Articles > XML and Excel > XML in Excel
Deze pagina in het Nederlands

XML and Excel

XML in Excel

Let's get a bit more practical and use Excel to do something with XML files. With Excel 2003/2007/2010/2013 importing XML data is very simple. Unfortunately, the XML facilities are only available in Excel 2007 and up and in the Microsoft Office Professional or ultimate versions of Excel 2003, or when Excel 2003 is bought as a standalone package. When you select File (Office button in Excel 2007 and up), Open from Excel, then you will see xml file types are shown along with the available Excel files:

By default, XML files show when you try to open a file with Excel
Figure 2: The File, Open window of Excel 2007 and up.

Selecting the file test-en.xml causes a small window to appear (see figure 3).

The Open XML selection dialog of Excel
Figure 3: Excel asking what to do with the XML file

By selecting the third option Excel will analyse the structure of the XML file and present the structure in the taskpane (figure 4). Excel does not open the XML file at this moment.

The structure of the xml file shows up in the taskpane
Figure 4, The structure of the xml file shows up in the taskpane

The elements of the XML file can now be tied to cells on the sheet, simply by dragging them from the task pane to a cell in Excel. See Figure 5 and 6.

Dragging an element to an Excel cell
Figure 5: Dragging an element to an Excel cell

Result after dropping the element
Figure 6: Result after dropping the element

By dragging an element which contains multiple other elements (or by selecting multiple elements in the taskpane using control+click or shift+click) all elements are placed next to each other as a list:(see figure 7).

List produced by dragging the "employee" element to the sheet
Figure 7: List produced by dragging the "employee" element to the sheet

Now a template has been defined which can import data from XML files which have the same structure as the one we "opened" in Excel. We can import the data from test_en.xml, simply by pressing the refresh button on the "External Table Data" group of the custom "Table tools, design" tab of the ribbon in Excel 2007 and up, or by clicking the Refresh XML data button on the List toolbar of Excel 2003 (see figure 8 and 9). The data from test_en.xml will be read into our newly created template. See figure 10.

Refresh Data using the ribbon
Figure 8: Refresh Data using the ribbon

Button "Refresh XML data"on the “List” toolbar
Figure 9: Button "Refresh XML data"on the "List" toolbar

Result of importing the data
Figure 10: Result of importing the data

To import a different file into the same structure, use the connection properties dialog, which you can access by clicking the dropdown arrow below the refresh button (see figure 11):

Changing connection properties to Import another XML file into Excel

Figure 11: Changing connection properties to Import another XML file into Excel

After clicking connection properties, click the Details tab on the dialog that shows up and you can hit the browse button to access a different XML file. Or -in Excel 2003- Simply press the "Import XML" button on the List toolbar.



Showing last 8 comments of 162 in total (Show All Comments):


Comment by: Jan Karel Pieterse (11/4/2013 9:09:23 AM)

Hi Saranya,

This is one of the reasons why it is not a good idea to have something below a table that may change in size.


Comment by: Saranya (11/4/2013 9:51:52 AM)

Hi Jan,
     Thanks for your response. Is there any other way to implement it(In response to Jan Karel Pieterse (11/4/2013 9:09:23 AM)).

     For instance,    whenever data exist in repeating xml element is it possible to insert a new row instead of inserting a single cell?


Comment by: Jan Karel Pieterse (11/4/2013 11:14:40 AM)

I expect if you format the bottom table as a table too you will get an error if the top table expands?


Comment by: Cari (1/5/2014 2:48:33 AM)


Is it possible to import multiple xml files onto a single worksheet, and append each new file into successive columns rather than successive rows?
I'm fairly new to XML-Excel mapping. Each time I append a new file, it adds rows to the XML table.
Taking this a step further, is it also possible to append only data related to one column (or one mapped xml node) from each successive xml file imported rather than all the mapped items?
I'm using Excel 2010.


Comment by: Jan Karel Pieterse (1/5/2014 4:14:35 PM)

Hi Cari,

Yes that can be done with some VBA code. The exact code depends a bit on your setup however.
You could of course only map the element you need copied instead of mapping more?


Comment by: Cari (1/5/2014 8:30:45 PM)

Thanks Jan. I need all the mapped elements on my excel worksheet from atleast one of the xml files. Any successive imports need data from only one of the mapped items (in a successive column). The other mapped elements can either overwrite the previous ones or be masked.


Comment by: Jan Karel Pieterse (1/6/2014 7:13:31 AM)

Hi Cari,

Perhaps this macro helps:

Sub RefreshAndCopy()
    With ActiveWorkbook.XmlMaps("meetings_Map")
        .WorkbookConnection.Ranges(1).ListObject.ListColumns("winnerstrainer").Range.Offset(1).Copy _
            Destination:=Worksheets("Sheet2").Cells(1, Worksheets("Sheet2").Columns.Count).End(xlToLeft).Offset(, 1)
    End With
End Sub


Comment by: Vignesh (3/8/2014 8:59:42 AM)

Is this XML to XL can be done via VBA Script? Selecting the option "As an XML Table" programatically..
Can you provide me the code (or) links related to this..


Have a question, comment or suggestion? Then please use this form.

If your question is not directly related to this web page, but rather a more general "How do I do this" Excel question, then I advise you to ask your question here:

Please enter your name (required):

Your e-mail address (optional but if you want me to respond it helps!; will not be shown, nor be used to send you unsolicited information):

Your request or comment:

To post VBA code in your comment, use [VB] tags, like this: [VB]Code goes here[/VB].