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C# - Retrieve Excel Workbook Sheet Names.

, 25 Aug 2004 367.9K 106
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This article provides a way to retrieve the worksheet names of an Excel Workbook. This can be used to query a workbook using ADO.NET if you do not know the names of the worksheets.


There are many examples using ADO.NET to query an Excel Workbook but they all have a limitation, you must know the worksheet name. This might work if you know the name of the worksheet, but what if you don't? If your program is dynamic and your sheet names differ for each Excel workbook, you need a way to extract the names of the sheets. The code example provides you with a way to retrieve the work sheet names.

The following method returns a string array containing the names of the sheets. The method also shows how to loop through the array. The method has one input parameter excelFile which is the location of the Excel file.

Code Example

/// <span class="code-SummaryComment"><summary>
/// This mehtod retrieves the excel sheet names from 
/// an excel workbook.
/// <span class="code-SummaryComment"></summary>
/// <span class="code-SummaryComment"><param name="excelFile">The excel file.</param>
/// <span class="code-SummaryComment"><returns>String[]</returns>
private String[] GetExcelSheetNames(string excelFile)
  OleDbConnection objConn = null;
  System.Data.DataTable dt = null;

    // Connection String. Change the excel file to the file you
    // will search.
    String connString = "Provider=Microsoft.Jet.OLEDB.4.0;" + 
        "Data Source=" + excelFile + ";Extended Properties=Excel 8.0;";
    // Create connection object by using the preceding connection string.
    objConn = new OleDbConnection(connString);
    // Open connection with the database.
    // Get the data table containg the schema guid.
    dt = objConn.GetOleDbSchemaTable(OleDbSchemaGuid.Tables, null);
    if(dt == null)
      return null;

    String[] excelSheets = new String[dt.Rows.Count];
    int i = 0;

    // Add the sheet name to the string array.
    foreach(DataRow row in dt.Rows)
      excelSheets[i] = row["TABLE_NAME"].ToString();

    // Loop through all of the sheets if you want too...
    for(int j=0; j < excelSheets.Length; j++)
      // Query each excel sheet.

    return excelSheets;
  catch(Exception ex)
    return null;
    // Clean up.
    if(objConn != null)
    if(dt != null)



This article has no explicit license attached to it but may contain usage terms in the article text or the download files themselves. If in doubt please contact the author via the discussion board below.

A list of licenses authors might use can be found here


About the Author

Kenny Young

United States United States
Ken currently works as the Director of Software Engineering at the Pediatrics Epidemiology Center at the University of South Florida. He is involved in the architecture and design on numerous clinical trial projects. Some of the project include:

1. Rare Diseases Clinical Research Network
2. TrialNet - Diabetes
3. Teddy - Diabetes
4. CCOP - Cancer
5. AIDA - Diabetes

Comments and Discussions

GeneralDoesn't seem to work with Excel 5.0 files. Pin
tolsen649-Feb-06 13:37
membertolsen649-Feb-06 13:37 
GeneralAdd Worksheet Pin
Bikash Rai7-Oct-05 21:25
memberBikash Rai7-Oct-05 21:25 
GeneralGetting retriving excel sheets Pin
godfathers2-Mar-05 23:09
membergodfathers2-Mar-05 23:09 
GeneralRe: Getting retriving excel sheets Pin
abhi kumar16-Aug-05 21:05
memberabhi kumar16-Aug-05 21:05 
Hi All , this concept of reading the ExcelSheet has really provided gr8 help to me as far as the issues of returning extra excelsheets with $ symbols appended to it I have come up with the following approach , the code is in VB.NET but its simple enough to be convertable to C#

Dim index As Integer
Dim excelsheetName As String = row("TABLE_NAME").ToString()
index = excelsheetName.LastIndexOf("$")
'Check wheather a sheet or not
If Not index < 0 Then
excelsheetName = excelsheetName.Remove(index, excelsheetName.Length - index)
If i = 0 Then
'To get rid of this "'"
If excelsheetName.Chars(0) = "'" Then
excelsheetName = excelsheetName.Remove(0, 1)
End If
excelSheets(i) = excelsheetName
i += 1
If excelsheetName.Chars(0) = "'" Then
excelsheetName = excelsheetName.Remove(0, 1)
End If
If Not excelSheets(i - 1) = excelsheetName Then
excelSheets(i) = excelsheetName
i += 1
End If

End If
End If

Next row
ReDim Preserve excelSheets(i - 1)
return excelsheets // excelsheets are string array

QuestionA Better Way??? Pin
Anonymous30-Oct-04 13:32
sussAnonymous30-Oct-04 13:32 
AnswerRe: A Better Way??? Pin
Mike Ellison30-Oct-04 14:59
memberMike Ellison30-Oct-04 14:59 
AnswerRe: A Better Way??? Pin
gg423713-Nov-09 1:44
membergg423713-Nov-09 1:44 
GeneralExcel Sheets Pin
Anonymous15-Sep-04 10:23
sussAnonymous15-Sep-04 10:23 
GeneralGood Work Pin
terence wallace30-Aug-04 18:45
memberterence wallace30-Aug-04 18:45 
Generalgood tip Pin
Ashley van Gerven26-Aug-04 17:31
memberAshley van Gerven26-Aug-04 17:31 

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