The Ultimate Guide: How to Read Excel Files with Pandas


Excel files are one of the most common ways to store data. Fortunately the pandas function read_excel() allows you to easily read in Excel files.

This tutorial explains several ways to read Excel files into Python using pandas.

Example 1: Read Excel File into a pandas DataFrame

Suppose we have the following Excel file:

The following code shows how to use the read_excel() function to import this Excel file into a pandas DataFrame:

import pandas as pd

#import Excel file
df = pd.read_excel('data.xlsx')

#view DataFrame
df

        playerID team	points
0	1	 Lakers	26
1	2	 Mavs	19
2	3	 Bucks	24
3	4	 Spurs	22

Example 2: Read Excel File with Index Column

Sometimes you may also have an Excel file in which one of the columns is an index column:

In this case you can use index_col to tell pandas which column to use as the index column when importing:

import pandas as pd

#import Excel file, specifying the index column
df = pd.read_excel('data.xlsx', index_col='index')

#view DataFrame
df

	playerID	team	points
index			
1	1	        Lakers	26
2	2	        Mavs	19
3	3	        Bucks	24
4	4	        Spurs	22

Example 3: Read Excel File Using Sheet Name

You can also read specific sheet names from an Excel file into a pandas DataFrame. For example, consider the following Excel file:

To read a specific sheet in as a pandas DataFrame, you can use the sheet_name() argument:

import pandas as pd

#import only second sheet
df = pd.read_excel('data.xlsx', sheet_name='second sheet')

#view DataFrame
df

playerID	team	points
0	1	Lakers	26
1	2	Mavs	19
2	3	Bucks	24
3	4	Spurs	22

Common Error: Install xlrd

When you attempt to use the read_excel() function, you may encounter the following error:

ImportError: Install xlrd >= 1.0.0 for Excel support

In this case, you need to first install xlrd:

pip install xlrd

Once this is installed, you may proceed to use the read_excel() function.

Additional Resources

How to Read CSV Files with Pandas
How to Export a Pandas DataFrame to Excel

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