Microsoft Excel Reader (XLSXR) and Writer (XLSXW)

FME provides read and write access to Microsoft Excel spreadsheets (also known as workbooks). Excel spreadsheets may contain multiple worksheets (often called sheets) and each worksheet may optionally contain specifically named cell ranges called Named Ranges.

Format Abbreviations

  • Reader: XLSXR
  • Writer: XLSXW

Microsoft Excel Product and System Requirements


FME Platform

Operating System


FME Form

FME Flow

FME Flow Hosted

Windows 64-bit


















This format supports the following Excel file types:

  • Excel 97-2003 binary formats (.xls)
  • Excel 2007+ xml formats (.xlsx/.xlsm). .xlsm files are .xlsx files with macros enabled, and use the same file format.
  • Excel 2007+ binary formats (.xlsb). Reading .xlsb is only available on Windows systems with Excel 2007 or greater installed. Writing .xlsb is not supported. Note: Due to technical limitations in Excel, reading .xlsb is not possible on FME Flow.

The Excel reader/writer does not support Macro-enabled Templates (.xltm) or Excel Add-in (.xlam).

This reader/writer can only process one Excel file type per reader or writer.

Differences Between XLS and XLSX

Starting with Office 2007, Microsoft changed the default Excel file format from .xls to .xlsx.

While .xls is a proprietary binary format, the newer .xlsx version is an XML-based spreadsheet, defined in the Office Open XML (OOXML) specification.

How FME Works with Excel Data

To get the most value from an Excel spreadsheet, you also have to organize, analyze, and filter its data. Large datasets can easily exceed the limits of the Excel format: FME can read and analyze large amounts of data, filter it, organize it into worksheets, and then output the results into a manageable spreadsheet. FME can also integrate spreadsheets with data from other formats (for example, demographic databases, GIS, CAD drawings, web services, and orthophotos).

You can use FME to perform simple operations, like merging or filtering spreadsheet data, but you can also use FME to perform more complex tasks like spatial operations. For example, if your data contains addresses, coordinate pairs, street names or asset codes, FME recognizes common names for geometry columns (like latitude/longitude), and then automatically converts the rows to geometry. By integrating geocoding services like ArGIS Online or Google, you can map Excel data and then view it in the FME Data Inspector.

For more information on using FME to automate Excel tasks, see FME and Excel.

Terminology in this Section

Definition or FME Representation Excel Equivalent
reader dataset spreadsheet and workbook
feature type worksheet or named range
attribute column in a worksheet or named range
feature row

Usage Notes

About the Reader (XLSXR)

The XLSX reader supports reading multiple worksheets and named ranges from the same file. Because of this, multiple files are not supported, so you will need to create a separate reader for each Microsoft Excel spreadsheet.

About the Writer (XLSXW)

The Microsoft Excel writer writes attribute records into a spreadsheet. The writer provides the following capabilities:

  • Table Creation
  • Images
  • Multiple Worksheets and/or Named Ranges
  • Writer Mode Specification: The writer allows the user to specify a writer mode, which determines the operation to perform for each feature received.

FME Community

Search Excel

Search Spreadsheets

Search Tables

External Resources

Microsoft Excel Specifications and Limits

Difference Between XLS and XLSX