[Gretl-devel] Excel 2003 xls format

Sven Schreiber svetosch at gmx.net
Wed Oct 31 04:55:27 EDT 2007

Riccardo (Jack) Lucchetti schrieb:
> I've had a report from a user who wasn't able to open via gretl an xls
> file created by Excel 2003. Since I don't have access to the software,
> I'm not able mayself to do any type of check.
> Could someone please try this and report the results?

Actually some weeks ago I think we indeed had problems like this. We
ended up doing everything with csv-files, which I mostly do anyway.

> If MS changed the xls format so gretl's unable to read the newer files,
> there are a few things we may do: in the short run, we should advise
> Excel users to save their files using an older format. When we have time
> (presumably, after 1.6.6), we should IMO provide support for it. 

While I guess I agree, this goes against your previously stated
preference for gretl to focus on econometrics and let other programs do
the data management. I'll remind you of it next time I have to argue
with you ;-)

Apart from that, I think Office 2003 should be the last supported
format, I would be against MS "openxml" support for political reasons
(not even counting that it probably would be a lot of work). Which
brings me to the issue of ODF support, which gretl should have ASAP IMHO.

>From a
> quick web search, it looks like the xls 2003 format isn't officially
> documented anywhere, but apparently it has been reverse-engineered by
> the Openoffice.org people. I _think_ gnumeric should handle it too: if
> it does, that's great, because the way gnumeric is written is much more
> similar to gretl than openoffice, and it should be much easier to rip
> code from them.

Unfortunately, http://www.gnome.org/projects/gnumeric/features.shtml
only talks about formats up to Office XP which predates Office 2003.

For Python there seem to exist some libraries (pyExcelerator, xlrd and
xlwt), so *possibly* I might be able to write a py4gretl function to
read excel 2003 files. But of course native support would be much nicer.

Now that we have a feature request tracker, I will add two issues there
about xls 2003 and ods support!


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