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XML and Excel


This article has been previously published in the Dutch Microsoft Office Magazine no 27, 2006.

Microsoft Office 2003 Professional was the first Office version that took the XML standard seriously. The XML standard has been devised to ease the markup of data (especially on the web). A well known example of the use of XML are RSS feeds with which one can gather news from web pages. In reality, these so-called RSS-feeds are nothing less than XML files. This article introduces XML and shows some things that can be done with it (specifically in Excel).

Note : In this article techniques are used which are only available in all Excel 2007-2013 versions and in the "stand-alone" version of Excel 2003/2007/2010/2013 and in the Professional edition of Office 2003. Other editions of Office 2003, such as the small business version or the Students and teachers version, lack the XML capabilities exhibited in this article.

The sample files from this article may be downloaded here.


  1. What is XML
  2. Characteristics of XML
  3. Structure of XML
  4. XML Schemas
  5. XML in Excel
  6. XML Validation
  7. Conclusion