Chapter 8. Connecting Excel to the World

Hacks #95-100

Excel has long had connections to other members of the Microsoft Office family, as well as to databases. With the growth of the Web, Excel developed HTML export capabilities as well, making it easy to publish information created in Excel. Over the last few years, however, Microsoft has developed features that enable you to use Excel as an interface to information published anywhere, and to get your information out of Excel and into other forms—whatever forms you want, given whatever data you have. At the same time, a number of developers have created ways to get information into and out of Excel spreadsheets without using Excel, and these also have become important gateways.

Load an XML Document into Excel

If someone sends you an XML file containing data that fits into tables, you don’t need to read the text and all its angle brackets. You can load the document into Excel directly, tell Excel how you want to present it, and work with the data through maps.

Extensible Markup Language (XML) has become a common interchange format over the past few years, and it’s not unusual for people and organizations to send each other XML files. XML’s simple core structures make it easy to exchange information with much less concern that all parties are using the same software. Until recently, however, although generic XML tools were widely available, bridging the gap between XML documents and the user interface was difficult. Excel 2003 makes ...

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