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A flask extension using pyexcel to read, manipulate and write data in different excel formats: csv, ods, xls, xlsx and xlsm.

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Flask-Excel - Let you focus on data, instead of file formats

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Support the project

If your company has embedded pyexcel and its components into a revenue generating product, please support me on github,

_ or
bounty source 
_ to maintain the project and develop it further.

If you are an individual, you are welcome to support me too and for however long you feel like. As my backer, you will receive

early access to pyexcel related contents 

And your issues will get prioritized if you would like to become my patreon as

pyexcel pro user

With your financial support, I will be able to invest a little bit more time in coding, documentation and writing interesting posts.

Known constraints

Fonts, colors and charts are not supported.

Nor to read password protected xls, xlsx and ods files.


Here is a typical conversation between the developer and the user::

User: "I have uploaded an excel file" "but your application says un-supported file format" Developer: "Did you upload an xlsx file or a csv file?" User: "Well, I am not sure. I saved the data using " "Microsoft Excel. Surely, it must be in an excel format." Developer: "OK. Here is the thing. I were not told to support" "all available excel formats in day 1. Live with it" "or delay the project x number of days."

Flask-Excel is based on

_ and makes it easy to consume/produce information stored in excel files over HTTP protocol as well as on file system. This library can turn the excel data into a list of lists, a list of records(dictionaries), dictionaries of lists. And vice versa. Hence it lets you focus on data in Flask based web development, instead of file formats.

The idea originated from the common usability problem: when an excel file driven web application is delivered for non-developer users (ie: team assistant, human resource administrator etc). The fact is that not everyone knows (or cares) about the differences between various excel formats: csv, xls, xlsx are all the same to them. Instead of training those users about file formats, this library helps web developers to handle most of the excel file formats by providing a common programming interface. To add a specific excel file format type to you application, all you need is to install an extra pyexcel plugin. Hence no code changes to your application and no issues with excel file formats any more. Looking at the community, this library and its associated ones try to become a small and easy to install alternative to Pandas.

The highlighted features are:

. excel data import into and export from databases

. turn uploaded excel file directly into Python data structure

. pass Python data structures as an excel file download

. provide data persistence as an excel file in server side

. supports csv, tsv, csvz, tsvz by default and other formats are supported via

the following plugins:

.. _file-format-list: .. _a-map-of-plugins-and-file-formats:

.. table:: A list of file formats supported by external plugins

======================== ======================= ================= Package name Supported file formats Dependencies ======================== ======================= =================

_ csv, csvz [#f1], tsv, tsvz [#f2]
_ xls, xlsx(read only),
, xlsm(read only)
_ xlsx
_ ods
, lxml
_ ======================== ======================= =================

.. table:: Dedicated file reader and writers

======================== ======================= ================= Package name Supported file formats Dependencies ======================== ======================= =================

_ xlsx(write only)
_ xlsx(write only)
_ xlsx(read only) lxml
_ xlsb(read only) pyxlsb
_ read only for ods, fods lxml
_ write only for ods loxun
_ html(read only) lxml,html5lib
_ pdf(read only) camelot ======================== ======================= =================

Plugin shopping guide

Since 2020, all pyexcel-io plugins have dropped the support for python version lower than 3.6. If you want to use any python verions, please use pyexcel-io and its plugins version lower than 0.6.0.

Except csv files, xls, xlsx and ods files are a zip of a folder containing a lot of xml files

The dedicated readers for excel files can stream read

In order to manage the list of plugins installed, you need to use pip to add or remove a plugin. When you use virtualenv, you can have different plugins per virtual environment. In the situation where you have multiple plugins that does the same thing in your environment, you need to tell pyexcel which plugin to use per function call. For example, pyexcel-ods and pyexcel-odsr, and you want to getarray to use pyexcel-odsr. You need to append getarray(..., library='pyexcel-odsr').

.. _pyexcel-io: .. _pyexcel-xls: .. _pyexcel-xlsx: .. _pyexcel-ods: .. _pyexcel-ods3: .. _pyexcel-odsr: .. _pyexcel-odsw: .. _pyexcel-pdfr:

.. _pyexcel-xlsxw: .. _pyexcel-libxlsxw: .. _pyexcel-xlsxr: .. _pyexcel-xlsbr: .. _pyexcel-htmlr:

.. xlrd: .. _xlwt: .. _openpyxl: .. _XlsxWriter: .. _pyexcel-ezodf: .. _odfpy: .. _libxlsxwriter:

.. table:: Other data renderers

======================== ======================= ================= ================== Package name Supported file formats Dependencies Python versions ======================== ======================= ================= ==================

_ write only:rst,
_ 2.6, 2.7, 3.3, 3.4 mediawiki, html, 3.5, 3.6, pypy latex, grid, pipe, orgtbl, plain simple read only: ndjson r/w: json
_ handsontable in html
_ same as above
_ svg chart
_ 2.7, 3.3, 3.4, 3.5 3.6, pypy
_ sortable table in html
_ same as above
_ gantt chart in html
_ except pypy, same as above ======================== ======================= ================= ==================

.. _pyexcel-text: .. _tabulate: .. _pyexcel-handsontable: .. _handsontable: .. _pyexcel-pygal: .. _pygal: .. _pyexcel-matplotlib: .. _matplotlib: .. _pyexcel-sortable: .. _csvtotable: .. _pyexcel-gantt: .. _frappe-gantt:

.. rubric:: Footnotes

.. [#f1] zipped csv file .. [#f2] zipped tsv file

This library makes information processing involving various excel files as easy as processing array, dictionary when processing file upload/download, data import into and export from SQL databases, information analysis and persistence. It uses pyexcel and its plugins:

. to provide one uniform programming interface to handle csv, tsv, xls, xlsx, xlsm and ods formats.

. to provide one-stop utility to import the data in uploaded file into a database and to export tables in a database as excel files for file download.

. to provide the same interface for information persistence at server side: saving a uploaded excel file to and loading a saved excel file from file system.

Tested Flask Versions

Since 2020 Auguest, latest pyexcel-io version 0.6.0 forced Flask-Excel to use Python 3.6+

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For older Flask versions and lower Python version, please use pyexcel-io<=0.5.20.


You can install Flask-Excel via pip:

.. code-block:: bash

$ pip install Flask-Excel

or clone it and install it:

.. code-block:: bash

$ git clone
$ cd Flask-Excel
$ python install


Here are some example codes:

.. code-block:: python

from flask import Flask, request, jsonify
import flask_excel

app=Flask(name) flask_excel.init_excel(app)

@app.route("/upload", methods=['GET', 'POST']) def upload_file(): if request.method == 'POST': return jsonify({"result": request.get_array(field_name='file')}) return '''

<title>Upload an excel file</title>
<h1>Excel file upload (csv, tsv, csvz, tsvz only)</h1>
</pre><form action="" method="post" enctype="multipart/form-data">
<p><input type="file" name="file"><input type="submit" value="Upload">


@app.route("/export", methods=['GET']) def export_records(): return excel.make_response_from_array([[1,2], [3, 4]], "csv", file_name="export_data")

if name == "main":

Development guide

Development steps for code changes

. git clone

. cd Flask-Excel

Upgrade your setup tools and pip. They are needed for development and testing only:

. pip install --upgrade setuptools pip

Then install relevant development requirements:

. pip install -r rnd_requirements.txt # if such a file exists

. pip install -r requirements.txt

. pip install -r tests/requirements.txt

Once you have finished your changes, please provide test case(s), relevant documentation and update CHANGELOG.rst.

.. note::

As to rnd_requirements.txt, usually, it is created when a dependent
library is not released. Once the dependecy is installed
(will be released), the future
version of the dependency in the requirements.txt will be valid.

How to test your contribution


are both used in code testing, it is adviable that unit tests are put in tests.
is incorporated only to make sure the code examples in documentation remain valid across different development releases.

On Linux/Unix systems, please launch your tests like this::

$ make

On Windows systems, please issue this command::

> test.bat

Before you commit

Please run::

$ make format

so as to beautify your code otherwise travis-ci may fail your unit test.


New BSD License

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