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Manual Reference Pages  -  SPREADSHEET::READSXC (3)

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Spreadsheet::ReadSXC - Extract OpenOffice 1.x spreadsheet data



  use Spreadsheet::ReadSXC qw(read_sxc);
  my $workbook_ref = read_sxc("/path/to/file.sxc");

  # Alternatively, unpack the .sxc file yourself and pass content.xml

  use Spreadsheet::ReadSXC qw(read_xml_file);
  my $workbook_ref = read_xml_file("/path/to/content.xml");

  # Alternatively, pass the XML string directly

  use Spreadsheet::ReadSXC qw(read_xml_string);
  use Archive::Zip;
  my $zip = Archive::Zip->new("/path/to/file.sxc");
  my $content = $zip->contents(content.xml);
  my $workbook_ref = read_xml_string($content);

  # Control the output through a hash of options (below are the defaults):

  my %options = (
        ReplaceNewlineWith      => "",
        IncludeCoveredCells     => 0,
        DropHiddenRows          => 0,
        DropHiddenColumns       => 0,
        NoTruncate              => 0,
        StandardDate            => 0,
        StandardTime            => 0,
        OrderBySheet            => 0,
  my $workbook_ref = read_sxc("/path/to/file.sxc", \%options );

  # Iterate over every worksheet, row, and cell:

  use Unicode::String qw(utf8);

  foreach ( sort keys %$workbook_ref ) {
     print "Worksheet ", $_, " contains ", $#{$$workbook_ref{$_}} + 1, " row(s):\n";
     foreach ( @{$$workbook_ref{$_}} ) {
        foreach ( map { defined $_ ? $_ :  } @{$_} ) {
           print utf8(" $_")->as_string;
        print "\n";

  # Cell D2 of worksheet "Sheet1"

  $cell = $$workbook_ref{"Sheet1"}[1][3];

  # Row 1 of worksheet "Sheet1":

  @row = @{$$workbook_ref{"Sheet1"}[0]};

  # Worksheet "Sheet1":

  @sheet = @{$$workbook_ref{"Sheet1"}};


Spreadsheet::ReadSXC extracts data from OpenOffice 1.x spreadsheet files (.sxc). It exports the function read_sxc() which takes a filename and an optional reference to a hash of options as arguments and returns a reference to a hash of references to two-dimensional arrays. The hash keys correspond to the names of worksheets in the OpenOffice workbook. The two-dimensional arrays correspond to rows and cells in the respective spreadsheets. If you don’t like this because the order of sheets is not preserved in a hash, read on. The ’OrderBySheet’ option provides an array of hashes instead.

If you prefer to unpack the .sxc file yourself, you can use the function read_xml_file() instead and pass the path to content.xml as an argument. Or you can extract the XML string from content.xml and pass the string to the function read_xml_string(). Both functions also take a reference to a hash of options as an optional second argument.

Spreadsheet::ReadSXC requires XML::Parser to parse the XML contained in .sxc files. Only the contents of text:p elements are returned, not the actual values of table:value attributes. For example, a cell might have a table:value-type attribute of currency, a table:value attribute of -1500.99 and a table:currency attribute of USD. The text:p element would contain -$1,500.99. This is the string which is returned by the read_sxc() function, not the value of -1500.99.

Spreadsheet::ReadSXC was written with data import into an SQL database in mind. Therefore empty spreadsheet cells correspond to undef values in array rows. The example code above shows how to replace undef values with empty strings.

If the .sxc file contains an empty spreadsheet its hash element will point to an empty array (unless you use the ’NoTruncate’ option in which case it will point to an array of an array containing one undefined element).

OpenOffice uses UTF-8 encoding. It depends on your environment how the data returned by the XML Parser is best handled:

  use Unicode::String qw(latin1 utf8);
  $unicode_string = utf8($$workbook_ref{"Sheet1"}[0][0])->as_string;

  # this will not work for characters outside ISO-8859-1:

  $latin1_string = utf8($$workbook_ref{"Sheet1"}[0][0])->latin1;

Of course there are other modules than Unicode::String on CPAN that handle conversion between encodings. It’s your choice.

Table rows in .sxc files may have a table:number-rows-repeated attribute, which is often used for consecutive empty rows. When you format whole rows and/or columns in OpenOffice, it sets the numbers of rows in a worksheet to 32,000 and the number of columns to 256, even if only a few lower-numbered rows and cells actually contain data. Spreadsheet::ReadSXC truncates such sheets so that there are no empty rows after the last row containing data and no empty columns after the last column containing data (unless you use the ’NoTruncate’ option).

Still it is perfectly legal for an .sxc file to apply the table:number-rows-repeated attribute to rows that actually contain data (although I have only been able to produce such files manually, not through OpenOffice itself). To save on memory usage in these cases, Spreadsheet::ReadSXC does not copy rows by value, but by reference (remember that multi-dimensional arrays in Perl are really arrays of references to arrays). Therefore, if you change a value in one row, it is possible that you find the corresponding value in the next row changed, too:

  $$workbook_ref{"Sheet1"}[0][0] = new string;
  print $$workbook_ref{"Sheet1"}[1][0];

As of version 0.20 the references returned by read_sxc() et al. remain valid after subsequent calls to the same function. In earlier versions, calling read_sxc() with a different file as the argument would change the data referenced by the original return value, so you had to derefence it before making another call. Thanks to H. Merijn Brand for fixing this.


ReplaceNewlineWith By default, newlines within cells are ignored and all lines in a cell are concatenated to a single string which does not contain a newline. To keep the newline characters, use the following key/value pair in your hash of options:

  ReplaceNewlineWith => "\n"

However, you may replace newlines with any string you like.

IncludeCoveredCells By default, the content of cells that are covered by other cells is ignored because you wouldn’t see it in OpenOffice unless you unmerge the merged cells. To include covered cells in the data structure which is returned by parse_sxc(), use the following key/value pair in your hash of options:

  IncludeCoveredCells => 1

DropHiddenRows By default, hidden rows are included in the data structure returned by parse_sxc(). To drop those rows, use the following key/value pair in your hash of options:

  DropHiddenRows => 1

DropHiddenColumns By default, hidden columns are included in the data structure returned by parse_sxc(). To drop those rows, use the following key/value pair in your hash of options:

  DropHiddenColumns => 1

NoTruncate By default, the two-dimensional arrays that contain the data within each worksheet are truncated to get rid of empty rows below the last row containing data and empty columns beyond the last column containing data. If you prefer to keep those rows and columns, use the following key/value pair in your hash of options:

  NoTruncate => 1

StandardDate By default, date cells are returned as formatted. If you prefer to obtain the date value as contained in the table:date-value attribute, use the following key/value pair in your hash of options:

  StandardDate => 1

StandardTime By default, time cells are returned as formatted. If you prefer to obtain the time value as contained in the table:time-value attribute, use the following key/value pair in your hash of options:

  StandardTime => 1

These options are a first step on the way to a different approach at reading data from .sxc files. There should be more options to read in values instead of the strings OpenOffice displays. It should give more flexibility in working with the data obtained from OpenOffice spreadsheets. ’float’ and ’percentage’ values could be next. ’currency’ is less obvious, though, as we need to consider both its value and the ’table:currency’ attribute. Formulas and array formulas are yet another issue. I probably won’t deal with this until I’ve given this module an object-oriented interface.

OrderBySheet The disadvantage of storing worksheets by name in a hash is that the order of sheets is lost. If you prefer not to obtain such a hash, but an array of worksheets insted, use the following key/value pair in your hash of options:

  OrderBySheet => 1

Thus the read_sxc function will return an array of hashes, each of which will have two keys, label and data. The value of label is the name of the sheet. The value of data is a reference to a two-dimensional array containing rows and columns of the worksheet:

  my $worksheets_ref = read_sxc("/path/to/file.sxc");
  my $name_of_first_sheet = $$worksheets_ref[0]{label};
  my $first_cell_of_first_sheet = $$worksheets_ref[0]{data}[0][0];

SEE ALSO has extensive documentation of the OpenOffice 1.x XML file format (soon to be replaced by the OASIS file format, see


Christoph Terhechte, <>


Copyright 2005 by Christoph Terhechte

This library is free software; you can redistribute it and/or modify it under the same terms as Perl itself.

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