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C# - Retrieve Excel Workbook Sheet Names.

, 25 Aug 2004
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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

QuestionSee also this: PinprofessionalDietmar Schoder29-Jul-14 6:22 
Questionstop sorting PinmemberMember 82406515-May-13 10:23 
Generalmy vote de 100 !!! PinmemberMember 87144215-Sep-12 10:18 
Question_xlnm#_FilterDatabase PinmemberMember 785799719-Jun-12 1:23 
QuestionFaulty behavior Pinmembercilker18-Jun-12 11:09 
Questionthanks Pinmemberr4p27-May-12 0:42 
SuggestionJust for 2003 Pinmemberdyboo21-Mar-12 23:56 
QuestionRetrieve Excel Workbook Sheet Names. PinmemberMember 805059211-Nov-11 1:29 
GeneralMy vote of 5 PinmemberGiannakakis Kostas3-Aug-11 22:14 
GeneralMy vote of 5 PinmemberAnkit Rajput21-Jul-11 3:17 
GeneralMy vote of 5 Pinmemberpadmanabhan N10-Dec-10 1:30 
GeneralC# to C++ Pinmembermaklein9918-Oct-10 7:31 
GeneralMy vote of 5 Pinmembern52615-Jul-10 19:41 
GeneralOrder of Table PinmemberTom arnold25-Feb-10 16:53 
GeneralExcellent PinmemberMAP Tiger14-Jan-10 19:26 
Generalgetting error "no error message available, result code:E_UNEXPECTED (0x8000FFFF) PinmemberAlamelu Suresh10-Nov-09 20:31 
QuestionHow can i use this code on linux PinmemberAlex_30208647-Sep-09 2:35 
GeneralGreat! Pinmemberpjvanzyl@yahoo.com30-Jun-09 3:32 
GeneralThanks PinmemberKenneth_Scott11-Jun-09 7:26 
GeneralVery Helpful Pinmemberaccusteve25-Mar-09 10:10 
GeneralVery useful Artical Pinmembersorabh.jain17-Feb-09 20:43 
GeneralOrder of Tabs Pinmembersdb777-Oct-08 4:52 
GeneralRe: Order of Tabs PinmemberKhan_alpha15-Sep-09 7:47 
GeneralRe: Order of Tabs Pinmembersdb7715-Sep-09 9:13 
QuestionHow to get the real names? Without $ or ' Pinmemberfanndibong6-Apr-08 19:39 
AnswerRe: How to get the real names? Without $ or ' PinmemberFilipKrnjic24-Oct-11 23:03 
GeneralGood article Pinmemberjunique4-Mar-08 9:48 
GeneralRe: Good article Pinmemberronny_2957-Jan-09 17:47 
Generalaccess to excel Pinmemberhamedeng7-Sep-07 8:37 
GeneralC# - Inserting Rows in Excel WorkSheet PinmemberXBenedict12-Jul-07 23:04 
GeneralRe: C# - Inserting Rows in Excel WorkSheet Pinmemberprivacy space23-Aug-07 23:35 
GeneralPassword Protected PinmemberRedDogEdward5-Dec-06 2:51 
GeneralDoesn't seem to work with Excel 5.0 files. Pinmembertolsen649-Feb-06 13:37 
GeneralAdd Worksheet PinmemberBikash Rai7-Oct-05 21:25 
GeneralGetting retriving excel sheets Pinmembergodfathers2-Mar-05 23:09 
GeneralRe: Getting retriving excel sheets Pinmemberabhi kumar16-Aug-05 21:05 
QuestionA Better Way??? PinsussAnonymous30-Oct-04 13:32 
AnswerRe: A Better Way??? PinmemberMike Ellison30-Oct-04 14:59 
AnswerRe: A Better Way??? Pinmembergg423713-Nov-09 1:44 
GeneralExcel Sheets PinsussAnonymous15-Sep-04 10:23 
GeneralGood Work Pinmemberterence wallace30-Aug-04 18:45 
Generalgood tip PinmemberAshley van Gerven26-Aug-04 17:31 
GeneralRe: good tip PinmemberLabrat00226-Aug-04 21:17 
GeneralRe: good tip PinmemberAshley van Gerven30-Aug-04 4:18 
QuestionHidden Sheets? PinmemberMike Ellison26-Aug-04 8:12 
AnswerRe: Hidden Sheets? PinmemberKen G Young30-Aug-04 10:47 
I don't think hidden sheet names will be available.
QuestionRe: Hidden Sheets? Pinmemberankitbansal8230-Oct-06 2:16 
AnswerRe: Hidden Sheets? PinmemberSuperDuckZA_PS27-Jul-07 3:26 

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