Best Open-Source Python Libraries for Excel



  • Convert .xls files to .xlsx using xlrd and openpyxl.
  • Convert .htm and .mht files containing tables or excel contents to .xlsx using beautifulsoup4 and openpyxl.

We attempt to support anything that the underlying packages used will support. For example, the following are supported for both input types:

  • Multiple worksheets
  • Text, Numbers, Dates/Times, Unicode
  • Fonts, text color, bold, italic, underline, double underline, strikeout
  • Solid and Pattern Fills with color
  • Borders: Solid, Hair, Thin, Thick, Double, Dashed, Dotted; with color
  • Alignment: Horizontal, Vertical, Rotated, Indent, Shrink To Fit
  • Number Formats, including unicode currency symbols
  • Hidden Rows and Columns
  • Merged Cells
  • Hyperlinks (only 1 per cell)
  • Comments

These features are additionally supported by the .xls input format:

  • Freeze panes

These features are additional supported by the .htm and .mht input formats:

  • Images

Not supported by either format:

  • Conditional Formatting (the current stylings are preserved)
  • Formulas (the calculated values are preserved)
  • Charts (the image of the chart is handled by .htm and .mht input formats)
  • Pivot tables (the current data is preserved)
  • Text boxes (converted to an image by .htm and .mht input formats)
  • Shapes and Clip Art (converted to an image by .htm and .mht input formats)
  • Autofilter (the current filtered out rows are preserved)
  • Rich text in cells (openpyxl doesn’t support this: only styles applied to the entire cell are preserved)


To install xls2xlsx, run this command in your terminal:

$ pip install xls2xlsx

This is the preferred method to install xls2xlsx, as it will always install the most recent stable release.


To use xls2xlsx from the command line:

$ xls2xlsx [-v] file.xls ...

This will create file.xlsx in the current folder. file.xls can be any .xls, .htm, or .mht file and can also be a URL. The -v flag will print the input and output filename.

To use xls2xlsx in a project:

from xls2xlsx import XLS2XLSX
x2x = XLS2XLSX("spreadsheet.xls")


from xls2xlsx import XLS2XLSX
x2x = XLS2XLSX("spreadsheet.xls")
wb = x2x.to_xlsx()

The xls2xlsx.to_xlsx method returns the filename given. If no filename is provided, the method returns the openpyxl workbook.

The input file can be in any of the following formats:

  • Excel 97-2003 workbook (.xls)
  • Web page (.htm, .html), optionally including a _Files folder
  • Single file web page (.mht, .mhtml)

The input specified can also be any of the following:

  • A filename / pathname
  • A url
  • A file-like object (opened in Binary mode for .xls and either Binary or Text mode otherwise)
  • The contents of a .xls file as a bytes object
  • The contents of a .htm or .mht file as a str object

Note: The file format is determined by examining the file contents, not by looking at the file extension.


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  • License: MIT
  • Author: Joe Cool
  • Last update: N/A