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xlrd is a library for reading data and formatting information from Excel files in the historical .xls format.


This library will no longer read anything other than .xls files. For alternatives that read newer file formats, please see

The following are also not supported but will safely and reliably be ignored:

  • Charts, Macros, Pictures, any other embedded object, including embedded worksheets.
  • VBA modules
  • Formulas, but results of formula calculations are extracted.
  • Comments
  • Hyperlinks
  • Autofilters, advanced filters, pivot tables, conditional formatting, data validation

Password-protected files are not supported and cannot be read by this library.

Quick start:

pip install xlrd
import xlrd
book = xlrd.open_workbook("myfile.xls")
print("The number of worksheets is {0}".format(book.nsheets))
print("Worksheet name(s): {0}".format(book.sheet_names()))
sh = book.sheet_by_index(0)
print("{0} {1} {2}".format(, sh.nrows, sh.ncols))
print("Cell D30 is {0}".format(sh.cell_value(rowx=29, colx=3)))
for rx in range(sh.nrows):

From the command line, this will show the first, second and last rows of each sheet in each file:

python PYDIR/scripts/ 3rows *blah*.xls