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Re: CSV-Files; XLS-File

From: Philip Nienhuis
Subject: Re: CSV-Files; XLS-File
Date: Mon, 23 Aug 2010 11:56:17 -0700 (PDT)

Jose L. Contreras B. wrote:
> Hi,
> I've been trying to import an xls-file to octave. For that I saved as a
> csv-file and I used csvread or csvwrite but I couldn't import. Can you
> sent me an example to do it well? What kind of characteristics must have
> the csv-file?, for example tab delimieter, space delimeter, etc. Thanks
> pd. I'm a linux user by the way.

If you have the java package and a recent io package from, you can read and write .xls files directly using
a.o. xlsread and xlswrite. No need then to fiddle about by writing each
sheet as a separate .csv file. There is also .ods support (
One restriction is that your spreadsheet files shouldn't be too big.  Read
about "java.opts" if you hit java memory limits. The absolute limit is in
the order of 4-5 . 10^5 spreadsheet cells for the entire spreadsheet.

Assuming you have a mainstream linux distribution installed:
Depending on your linux distro and the software packages you selected (incl.
octave), you might already have the java package installed + probably an
older io package. Most recent linux distros have a little bit older
"monolithic" octave-forge package where java-1.2.5 package is included -
that will work OK.

As for io package, a quick and dirty but nonetheless robust and fast
procedure is:
- download the io-package from (hopefully the
io-1.0.13 package I uploaded recently has been made available by the site
maintainer. If not, io-1.0.12 or io-1.0.11 will also work OK)
- unpack it somewhere (it's a plain .tar.gz file)
- as root, copy all m-files in the unpacked ./io-<version>/inst subdirectory
into /usr/share/octave/packages/io<some_version> (overwriting an existing
xlsread.m of more than 2 yrs old)
- download the needed java classes (see the read-xls.html documentation file
in the unpacked io-<version>/doc subdir) , put them in e.g., /usr/lib or
/usr/local/lib or so and add them to the javaclasspath using
     javaaddpath ('/fully/qualified/pathname/to/java/<classfile>.jar')
For reading .xls, just jxl.jar (JExcelAPI) will do as long as you don't have
Excel2007 files (OOXML)


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