Library for developers to extract data from Microsoft Excel (tm) spreadsheet files

xls, xlsx, excel, spreadsheet, workbook
pip install xlrd3==1.1.0



A fork of original archived xlrd project. This fork aims to fix bugs that existing in xlrd and improve it features. As the name of this fork implies, python2 support is dropped.

At version 1.0.0, xlrd3 on pair with xlrd version 1.2.0 with following bugs fixed:

  • MemoryError: on_demand with mmap still causes some xls to be read the whole file into memory.
  • on_demand not supported for xlsx
  • Parsing comments failed for xlsx on Windows platform.

When to use xlrd3

If you just need to read and deal with both xlsx and xls, use xlrd3. Then if you want to export your data to other excel files, use OpenPyXL or xlsxWriter. If you need to edit xlsx (read and write) and are sure that xls never appear in your workflow, you are advised to use OpenPyXL instead.

Purpose: Provide a library for developers to use to extract data from Microsoft Excel (tm) spreadsheet files. It is not an end-user tool.

Original Author: John Machin

Licence: BSD-style (see licences.py)

Versions of Python supported: 3.6+.

Outside scope: xlrd3 will safely and reliably ignore any of these if present in the file:

  • Charts, Macros, Pictures, any other embedded object. WARNING: currently this includes embedded worksheets.
  • VBA modules
  • Formulas (results of formula calculations are extracted, of course).
  • Comments
  • Hyperlinks
  • Autofilters, advanced filters, pivot tables, conditional formatting, data validation
  • Handling password-protected (encrypted) files.

Installation:$pip install xlrd3

Quick start:

import xlrd3 as 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.name, sh.nrows, sh.ncols))
print("Cell D30 is {0}".format(sh.cell_value(rowx=29, colx=3)))
for rx in range(sh.nrows):

Another quick start: This will show the first, second and last rows of each sheet in each file:

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


  • This package started life as a translation from C into Python of parts of a utility called "xlreader" developed by David Giffin. "This product includes software developed by David Giffin david@giffin.org."
  • OpenOffice.org has truly excellent documentation of the Microsoft Excel file formats and Compound Document file format, authored by Daniel Rentz. See http://sc.openoffice.org
  • U+5F20 U+654F: over a decade of inspiration, support, and interesting decoding opportunities.
  • Ksenia Marasanova: sample Macintosh and non-Latin1 files, alpha testing
  • Backporting to Python 2.1 was partially funded by Journyx - provider of timesheet and project accounting solutions (http://journyx.com/).
  • Provision of formatting information in version 0.6.1 was funded by Simplistix Ltd (http://www.simplistix.co.uk/)



  • support python3.9
  • refactored some underlying code for better maintenance