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Import Excel File to DataSet

, 29 May 2012 CPOL
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Allows for inputting Excel tables into a DataSet.


I just wanted to put out two ways to import data from Excel into a DataSet.

  1. Preferred - Importing from an XLS file using the OLE Jet engine (simple).
    1. UPDATED: I'm now setting the IMEX flag to 0. This may cause worse performance. Check out for more information.
    2. UPDATED: I switched it to use ACE driver if it has an XLSX extension. You will need to ensure ACE is installed on the server you deploy to.
    3. UPDATED: Please refer to these links for good information about connecting to xls and xlsx files. 
  2. Importing from an Excel XML file. (The XML format that Excel uses, not just any XML file.) 
    1. Note: This is a long-winded custom solution. Should work, but might require tweaks.
    2. This works well if you're sure the data will be valid, or if you don't require it to do type-detection (flag for this on procedure). 
    3. Exporting to an Excel XML file can be found here

Using the code

Download the file for specifics, but here's a summary:

XLS Import 

public static DataSet ImportExcelXLS(string FileName, bool hasHeaders) {
    string HDR = hasHeaders ? "Yes" : "No";
    string strConn;
    if (FileName.Substring(FileName.LastIndexOf('.')).ToLower() == ".xlsx")
        strConn = "Provider=Microsoft.ACE.OLEDB.12.0;Data Source=" + FileName + ";Extended Properties=\"Excel 12.0;HDR=" + HDR + ";IMEX=0\"";
        strConn = "Provider=Microsoft.Jet.OLEDB.4.0;Data Source=" + FileName + ";Extended Properties=\"Excel 8.0;HDR=" + HDR + ";IMEX=0\"";

    DataSet output = new DataSet();

    using (OleDbConnection conn = new OleDbConnection(strConn)) {

        DataTable schemaTable = conn.GetOleDbSchemaTable(
            OleDbSchemaGuid.Tables, new object[] { null, null, null, "TABLE" });

        foreach (DataRow schemaRow in schemaTable.Rows) {
            string sheet = schemaRow["TABLE_NAME"].ToString();

            if (!sheet.EndsWith("_")) {
                try {
                    OleDbCommand cmd = new OleDbCommand("SELECT * FROM [" + sheet + "]", conn);
                    cmd.CommandType = CommandType.Text;

                    DataTable outputTable = new DataTable(sheet);
                    new OleDbDataAdapter(cmd).Fill(outputTable);
                } catch (Exception ex) {
                    throw new Exception(ex.Message + string.Format("Sheet:{0}.File:F{1}", sheet, FileName), ex);
    return output;

Excel XML Import (Summary)

public static DataSet ImportExcelXML(Stream inputFileStream, 
                      bool hasHeaders, bool autoDetectColumnType) {
    XmlDocument doc = new XmlDocument();
    doc.Load(new XmlTextReader(inputFileStream));
    XmlNamespaceManager nsmgr = new XmlNamespaceManager(doc.NameTable);

    nsmgr.AddNamespace("o", "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office");
    nsmgr.AddNamespace("x", "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:excel");
    nsmgr.AddNamespace("ss", "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:spreadsheet");

    DataSet ds = new DataSet();

    foreach (XmlNode node in 
      doc.DocumentElement.SelectNodes("//ss:Worksheet", nsmgr)) {
        DataTable dt = new DataTable(node.Attributes["ss:Name"].Value);
        XmlNodeList rows = node.SelectNodes("ss:Table/ss:Row", nsmgr);
        if (rows.Count > 0) {

            //Add Columns To Table from header row
            List<ColumnType> columns = new List<ColumnType>();
            int startIndex = 0;
            if (hasHeaders) {
                foreach (XmlNode data in rows[0].SelectNodes("ss:Cell/ss:Data", nsmgr)) {
                    columns.Add(new ColumnType(typeof(string)));//default to text
                    dt.Columns.Add(data.InnerText, typeof(string));
            //Update Data-Types of columns if Auto-Detecting
            if (autoDetectColumnType && rows.Count > 0) {
                XmlNodeList cells = rows[startIndex].SelectNodes("ss:Cell", nsmgr);
                int actualCellIndex = 0;
                for (int cellIndex = 0; cellIndex < cells.Count; cellIndex++) {
                    XmlNode cell = cells[cellIndex];
                    if (cell.Attributes["ss:Index"] != null)
                        actualCellIndex = 
                          int.Parse(cell.Attributes["ss:Index"].Value) - 1;

                    ColumnType autoDetectType = 
                      getType(cell.SelectSingleNode("ss:Data", nsmgr));

                    if (actualCellIndex >= dt.Columns.Count) {
                        dt.Columns.Add("Column" + 
                          actualCellIndex.ToString(), autoDetectType.type);
                    } else {
                        dt.Columns[actualCellIndex].DataType = autoDetectType.type;
                        columns[actualCellIndex] = autoDetectType;

            //Load Data
            for (int i = startIndex; i < rows.Count; i++) {
                DataRow row = dt.NewRow();
                XmlNodeList cells = rows[i].SelectNodes("ss:Cell", nsmgr);
                int actualCellIndex = 0;
                for (int cellIndex = 0; cellIndex < cells.Count; cellIndex++) {
                    XmlNode cell = cells[cellIndex];
                    if (cell.Attributes["ss:Index"] != null)
                        actualCellIndex = int.Parse(cell.Attributes["ss:Index"].Value) - 1;

                    XmlNode data = cell.SelectSingleNode("ss:Data", nsmgr);

                    if (actualCellIndex >= dt.Columns.Count) {
                        for (int i = dt.Columns.Count; i < actualCellIndex; i++) {
                            dt.Columns.Add("Column" + 
                                       actualCellIndex.ToString(), typeof(string));
                        ColumnType autoDetectType = 
                           getType(cell.SelectSingleNode("ss:Data", nsmgr));
                        dt.Columns.Add("Column" + actualCellIndex.ToString(), 
                    if (data != null)
                        row[actualCellIndex] = data.InnerText;


    return ds;
    //Format of file, in case you're wondering

    //<?xml version="1.0"?>
    //<?mso-application progid="Excel.Sheet"?>
    // <Worksheet ss:Name="Sheet1">
    //  <Table>
    //   <Row>
    //    <Cell><Data ss:Type="String">Item Number</Data></Cell>
    //    <Cell><Data ss:Type="String">Description</Data></Cell>
    //    <Cell ss:StyleID="s21"><Data ss:Type="String">Item Barcode</Data></Cell>
    //   </Row>
    // </Worksheet>


This article, along with any associated source code and files, is licensed under The Code Project Open License (CPOL)


About the Author

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Comments and Discussions

Questionmicrosoft.ace.oledb.12.0' provider is not registered on the local machine PinmemberCode10812-Nov-14 14:14 
QuestionLarge files PinmemberMember 1115758316-Oct-14 3:47 
SuggestionRe: Large files PinmemberColinBashBash16-Oct-14 5:34 
QuestionHttpPostedFile ? PinmemberMember 245846716-Sep-14 23:19 
QuestionRe: HttpPostedFile ? [modified] PinmemberColinBashBash17-Sep-14 5:09 
QuestionShowing the read data from excel in grid PinmemberArjun Menon U.K25-May-13 7:12 
QuestionVoted 5 Pinmemberantew17-Dec-12 2:38 
GeneralMy vote of 5 Pinmemberparslej15-Oct-12 7:17 
QuestionHttpPostedFile Pinmemberluffyripper29-Aug-12 4:46 
AnswerRe: HttpPostedFile PinmemberColinBashBash29-Aug-12 4:50 
GeneralRe: HttpPostedFile Pinmemberluffyripper29-Aug-12 6:43 
GeneralMy 5! Pinmember_Amy10-Aug-12 4:11 
GeneralWorking very well! PinmemberPavan Gayakwad6-Aug-12 21:50 
GeneralMy Vote of 5 PinmemberSrinivasan from Chennai20-Jun-12 20:33 
GeneralMy vote of 5 Pinmemberkaedei29-May-12 16:47 
awesome! I'm just looking for some articles about how to import Excel file and then I found this!
QuestionData is not filled in enough into Dataset Pinmemberbotngot8328-May-12 21:37 
AnswerRe: Data is not filled in enough into Dataset PinmemberColinBashBash29-May-12 4:39 
GeneralRe: Data is not filled in enough into Dataset Pinmemberbotngot8329-May-12 23:00 
GeneralRe: Data is not filled in enough into Dataset Pinmemberbotngot8331-May-12 18:18 
GeneralRe: Data is not filled in enough into Dataset PinmemberBruce Goodman10-Jun-12 23:32 
Bug'inputFileStream.ReadTimeout' threw an exception of type 'System.InvalidOperationException' PinmemberMember 35080023-Apr-12 22:59 
GeneralRe: 'inputFileStream.ReadTimeout' threw an exception of type 'System.InvalidOperationException' PinmemberColinBashBash4-Apr-12 4:54 
QuestionI recive this error message "Could not find installable ISAM" Pinmemberpachiflyer5-Apr-11 4:45 
AnswerRe: I recive this error message "Could not find installable ISAM" PinmemberColinBashBash5-Apr-11 5:25 
GeneralexcException.Message = "Data at the root level is invalid. Line 1, position 1." Pinmemberjohn_17267-Jan-11 12:21 

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