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Home > English site > Articles > XML and Excel > XML in Excel
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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 180 in total (Show All Comments):


Comment by: Jan (11/4/2014 11:30:51 AM)

Hi Jan,

Thanks again for your reply.

I am using MsgBox in my code and I want to rename the MsgBox buttons. How can we rename the buttons ?
I am using vbYesNo option for this MsgBox.



Comment by: Jan Karel Pieterse (11/10/2014 11:44:16 AM)

Hi Jan,

You cannot put other text on a messagebox than the ones VBA allows you. The way around that is to build a userform.


Comment by: Sri Teja Amam (12/3/2014 1:58:31 PM)

Hi Jan,

I read through this long enlightening chain on XML.

What I am working on is to understand the way that I can extract the values like tags/ids from the imported XML. If this can be done in an automated fashion, could you please help me out here.

Can we do this in a non VBA method please if possible.



Comment by: Jan (12/4/2014 8:04:11 AM)

Hi Jan,

Thanks. I have tried different way around.

Now, I am working on a excel report, where we have certain data validation in each cell. User is using copy-paste mode to enter the data into the Sheet, because of which my data validation gets override and validation fails.
I want to know is there any way through which we can validate the data when User uses copy-paste to enter the data ? and I want to retain data validation on that cell cells.


Comment by: Jan Karel Pieterse (12/4/2014 10:50:50 AM)

Hi Jan,

Check out this article:


Comment by: Jan Karel Pieterse (12/4/2014 10:52:41 AM)

Hi Sri Teja,

Can you please try to be a little more specific? Right now I am not sure what you are trying to achieve.


Comment by: Madhu (12/10/2014 10:54:34 AM)

Hi Jan,
I wish to extract only two tags of information from a group of xml files that located in a folder. And after extracting this informatin i wish to store it in a excel file.
Could you please help me.


Comment by: Jan Karel Pieterse (12/11/2014 7:06:17 AM)

Hi Madhu,

If you expand the page to show all comments:

you should be able to find some code that demo's refreshing the connection and copying the result to another worksheet.


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