An Overview of XML in Excel

XML, or Extensible Markup Language, is a markup language that is commonly used to store data in a structured format. XML is often used in conjunction with other technologies, such as web services, to exchange data between different platforms. Excel is a spreadsheet application that is part of the Microsoft Office suite. Excel can read and write XML files, and also offers a number of features for working with XML data. This article will give you an overview of XML in Excel.

What is an XML Document?

XML documents are text files that contain structured data. They are similar to HTML files, but they are not displayable in a web browser. XML documents must be processed by an XML processor in order to be displayed or used.

They are made up of elements, which are similar to HTML tags. Each element has a start tag and an end tag, with the element’s content appearing between the tags. Elements can also have attributes, which are name-value pairs that appear in the start tag.

They can be created using any text editor, but they must be well-formed in order to be processed by an XML processor. This means that the document must have a root element, and all tags must be properly nested.

XML documents can be validated against a Document Type Definition (DTD) or schema. This ensures that the document is well-formed and that all of the elements and attributes are valid.

Why use XML in Excel?

XML is a great way to transfer data between different applications, and Excel is no exception. Here are some reasons why you might want to use XML in Excel:

  • XML is a standard format that is well-supported by a variety of applications.
  • It is human-readable, making it easy to understand and debug.
  • XML is easy to generate from within Excel using the built-in XML Export feature.
  • It is a great way to store data in a structured format that can be easily accessed and manipulated.
  • You can easily share XML data with other applications and systems.
  • XML files are small and efficient, making them ideal for transferring large amounts of data.
  • Excel provides a number of built-in features for working with XML data, such as the ability to import and export data, transform data using XSLT, and validate data using XML Schema.
  • XML data can be easily manipulated using the Excel Object Model.
  • Excel provides a number of powerful features for working with XML data, making it a great choice for a variety of data-intensive tasks.

The Basic Process of Using XML Data in Excel

To work with the XML documents in Excel, you need to go to the Developer tab. In the Developer tab, you will find a group called XML. There you will have all the necessary options to import and export XML files.

XML Group in Excel

By the way, if you don’t see the Developer tab in the ribbon, read 2 Ways to Add Developer Tab in Excel.

Before importing and exporting the XML files, you need to map your XML file first.

To map your XML files,

  • First, select the Developer tab.
  • Then go to the XML group.
  • After that, click on the Source command.

Add XML Source in Excel

At this stage, you will see the XML source dialog box appear on the right side of your Excel window.

  • Now you need to hit the XML Maps command at the bottom of the XML Source dialog box.

After that, the XML Maps dialog box will pop up.

  • To add an XML Map, you need to click on the Add button.
  • Then hit OK to proceed with it.

XML Map in Excel

You can also import or export XML files in Excel.

To do that,

  • Use the Import command to open an XML file.
  • Use the Export command to export your Excel Workbook as an XML file.

Advantages of Using XML in Excel

XML is a powerful tool for storing and sharing data. It is widely used on the web, in applications, and in databases. It has the following advantages.

  • It is a software & hardware-independent tool for storing and transporting data.
  • XML data is self-describing. It includes information about its own structure.
  • It is extensible. This means you can define your own tags to describe data.
  • XML is platform-independent. It can be used on any platform, including PCs, Macs, and UNIX systems.
  • It is human-readable, meaning that it can be read and understood by humans.
  • XML is machine-readable, meaning that it can be read and processed by computers.
  • It is well-supported, There are many software applications, tools, and services available for working with XML data.
  • It is flexible. It can be used to represent data in many different ways.
  • XML is a standard. This means it is developed and maintained by an international standards body (the World Wide Web Consortium).


I tried to give you an overview of the XML in Excel. XML is a very useful tool that is also supported by Microsoft Excel. I hope, this article helped you have insight into the XML files. Please share your feedback regarding XML in Excel in the comment section below. Thank you.

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