Open an Excel File in Pandas

In this post I’ll demonstrate how to open an Excel file in Python using Pandas, a (the) module for data manipulation. I love using Pandas, and I cannot recommend it enough.

Loading Data from Excel

The following code, which I found here, will create a dictionary for each sheet in the Excel file.

import pandas
xl_file = pandas.ExcelFile( file_name )
dfs = { sheet: xl_file.parse( sheet ) for sheet in xl_file.sheet_names }

If you know that you only have one sheet in your Excel file, you may do the following.

import pandas
xl_file = pandas.ExcelFile( file_name )
df = xl_file.parse( xl_file.sheet_names[0] )

Changing Data Types

Usually Pandas does a great job of guessing the data type of the imported data, but in case you need to manually change a column from a string to a float, or vice versa, you would use the astype() method of the DataFrame object.

# some serial numbers that should be strings
df['API'].astype( str )
# some depths that should be floats instead of ints
df['MD'].astype( float )


Since I’ve written this, a new tool has come out called PyXLL that allows users to write Excel add-ins in Python, and perform other tasks. Learn more here:

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