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Programming language: Elixir
License: MIT License
Tags: Office    
Latest version: v1.6.4

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Xlsxir is an Elixir library that parses .xlsx files using Simple API for XML (SAX) parsing via the Erlsom Erlang library, extracts the data to an Erlang Term Storage (ETS) process and provides various functions for accessing the data. Please submit any issues found and they will be addressed ASAP.


You can add Xlsxir as a dependency to your Elixir project via the Hex package manager by adding the following to your mix.exs file:

def deps do
  [ {:xlsxir, "~> 1.6.4"} ]

Or, you can directly reference the GitHub repo:

def deps do
  [ {:xlsxir, github: "jsonkenl/xlsxir"} ]

Then start an OTP application:

defp application do
  [applications: [:xlsxir]]

Basic Usage

Xlsxir.extract/3 is deprecated, please use Xlsxir.multi_extract/1-5 going forward.

Xlsxir parses a .xlsx file located at a given path and extracts the data to an ETS process via the Xlsxir.multi_extract/1-5, Xlsxir.peek/3-4 and Xlsxir.stream_list/2-3 functions:

Xlsxir.multi_extract(path, index \\ nil, timer \\ false, excel \\ nil, options \\ [])
Xlsxir.peek(path, index, rows, options \\ [])
Xlsxir.stream_list(path, index, options \\ [])

The peek/3-4 functions return only the given number of rows from the worksheet at a given index. The multi_extract/1-5 functions allow multiple worksheets to be parsed by creating a separate ETS process for each worksheet and returning a unique table identifier for each. This option will parse all worksheets by default (when index == nil), returning a list of tuple results.

Argument descriptions:

  • path the path of the file to be parsed in string format
  • index is the position of the worksheet you wish to parse (zero-based index)
  • timer is a boolean flag that controls an extraction timer that returns time elapsed when set to true. Defalut value is false.
  • rows is an integer representing the number of rows to be extracted from the given worksheet.
  • options - see function documentation for option detail.

Upon successful completion, the extraction process returns:

  • for multi_extract/3:
    • [{:ok, table_1_id}, ...] with timer set to false
    • {:ok, table_id} when given a specific worksheet index
    • [{:ok, table_1_id, time_elapsed}, ...] with timer set to true
    • {:ok, table_id, time_elapsed} when given a specific worksheet index
  • for peek/3: {:ok, table_id}

Unsucessful parsing of a specific worksheet returns {:error, reason}.

The extracted worksheet data can be accessed using any of the following functions:

Xlsxir.get_cell(table_id, cell_ref)
Xlsxir.get_row(table_id, row_num)
Xlsxir.get_col(table_id, col_ltr)
Xlsxir.get_info(table_id, num_type)

Xlsxir.get_list/1 returns entire worksheet in a list of row lists (i.e. [[row 1 values], ...]) Xlsxir.get_map/1 returns entire worksheet in a map of cell names and values (i.e. %{"A1" => value, ...}) Xlsxir.get_mda/1 returns entire worksheet in an indexed map which can be accessed like a multi-dimensional array (i.e. some_var[0][0] for cell "A1") Xlsxir.get_cell/2 returns value of specified cell (i.e. "A1" returns value contained in cell A1) Xlsxir.get_row/2 returns values of specified row (i.e. 1 returns the first row of data) Xlsxir.get_col/2 returns values of specified column (i.e. "A" returns the first column of data) Xlsxir.get_info/1 and Xlsxir.get_multi_info/2 return count data for num_type specified (i.e. :rows, :cols, :cells, :all)

Once the table data is no longer needed, run the following function to delete the ETS process and free memory:


Refer to Xlsxir documentation for more detailed examples.


Cell references are formatted as a string (i.e. "A1"). Strings will be returned as type string, resulting values for functions from within the worksheet are returned as type string, integer or float depending on the type of the resulting value, data formatted as a number in the worksheet will be returned as type integer or float, date formatted values will be returned in Erlang :calendar.date() type format (i.e. {year, month, day}), and datetime values will be returned as an Elixir naive datetime. Xlsxir does not currently support dates prior to 1/1/1900.


Contributions are encouraged. Feel free to fork the repo, add your code along with appropriate tests and documentation (ensuring all existing tests continue to pass) and submit a pull request.

Bug Reporting

Please report any bugs or request future enhancements via the Issues page.


I'd like to thank the following people who were a big help in the development of this library:

  • Paulo Almeida (@pma) helped with testing and has provided several great ideas for development.
  • Benjamin Tan's (@benjamintanweihao) article on SAX parsing with Elrsom was invaluable.
  • Daniel Berkompas' (@danielberkompas) article Multidimensional Arrays in Elixir inspired Xlsxir.get_mda/0.
  • Alex Kovalevych's (@alexkovalevych) contributions greatly improved the parsing performance of Xlsxir.

*Note that all licence references and agreements mentioned in the xlsxir README section above are relevant to that project's source code only.