Manipulating a workbook in memory

Create a workbook

There is no need to create a file on the filesystem to get started with openpyxl. Just import the Workbook class and start using it

>>> from openpyxl import Workbook
>>> wb = Workbook()

A workbook is always created with at least one worksheet. You can get it by using the property

>>> ws =


This function uses the _active_sheet_index property, set to 0 by default. Unless you modify its value, you will always get the first worksheet by using this method.

You can also create new worksheets by using the openpyxl.workbook.Workbook.create_sheet() method

>>> ws1 = wb.create_sheet("Mysheet") # insert at the end (default)
# or
>>> ws2 = wb.create_sheet("Mysheet", 0) # insert at first position

Sheets are given a name automatically when they are created. They are numbered in sequence (Sheet, Sheet1, Sheet2, ...). You can change this name at any time with the title property:

ws.title = "New Title"

The background color of the tab holding this title is white by default. You can change this providing an RRGGBB color code to the sheet_properties.tabColor property:

ws.sheet_properties.tabColor = "1072BA"

Once you gave a worksheet a name, you can get it as a key of the workbook:

>>> ws3 = wb["New Title"]

You can review the names of all worksheets of the workbook with the openpyxl.workbook.Workbook.sheetnames() property

>>> print(wb.sheetnames)
['Sheet2', 'New Title', 'Sheet1']

You can loop through worksheets

>>> for sheet in wb:
...     print(sheet.title)

You can create copies of worksheets within a single workbook:

openpyxl.workbook.Workbook.copy_worksheet() method:

>>> source =
>>> target = wb.copy_worksheet(source)


Only cells (including values, styles, hyperlinks and comments) and certain worksheet attribues (including dimensions, format and properties) are copied. All other workbook / worksheet attributes are not copied - e.g. Images, Charts.


You cannot copy worksheets between workbooks. You also cannot copy a worksheet if the workbook is open in read-only or write-only mode.

Playing with data

Accessing one cell

Now we know how to access a worksheet, we can start modifying cells content.

Cells can be accessed directly as keys of the worksheet

>>> c = ws['A4']

This will return the cell at A4 or create one if it does not exist yet. Values can be directly assigned

>>> ws['A4'] = 4

There is also the openpyxl.worksheet.Worksheet.cell() method.

This provides access to cells using row and column notation:

>>> d = ws.cell(row=4, column=2, value=10)


When a worksheet is created in memory, it contains no cells. They are created when first accessed.


Because of this feature, scrolling through cells instead of accessing them directly will create them all in memory, even if you don’t assign them a value.

Something like

>>> for i in range(1,101):
...        for j in range(1,101):
...            ws.cell(row=i, column=j)

will create 100x100 cells in memory, for nothing.

Accessing many cells

Ranges of cells can be accessed using slicing

>>> cell_range = ws['A1':'C2']

Ranges of rows or columns can be obtained similarly:

>>> colC = ws['C']
>>> col_range = ws['C:D']
>>> row10 = ws[10]
>>> row_range = ws[5:10]

You can also use the openpyxl.worksheet.Worksheet.iter_rows() method:

>>> for row in ws.iter_rows(min_row=1, max_col=3, max_row=2):
...    for cell in row:
...        print(cell)
<Cell Sheet1.A1>
<Cell Sheet1.B1>
<Cell Sheet1.C1>
<Cell Sheet1.A2>
<Cell Sheet1.B2>
<Cell Sheet1.C2>

Likewise the openpyxl.worksheet.Worksheet.iter_cols() method will return columns:

>>> for col in ws.iter_cols(min_row=1, max_col=3, max_row=2):
...     for cell in col:
...         print(cell)
<Cell Sheet1.A1>
<Cell Sheet1.A2>
<Cell Sheet1.B1>
<Cell Sheet1.B2>
<Cell Sheet1.C1>
<Cell Sheet1.C2>

If you need to iterate through all the rows or columns of a file, you can instead use the openpyxl.worksheet.Worksheet.rows() property:

>>> ws =
>>> ws['C9'] = 'hello world'
>>> tuple(ws.rows)
((<Cell Sheet.A1>, <Cell Sheet.B1>, <Cell Sheet.C1>),
(<Cell Sheet.A2>, <Cell Sheet.B2>, <Cell Sheet.C2>),
(<Cell Sheet.A3>, <Cell Sheet.B3>, <Cell Sheet.C3>),
(<Cell Sheet.A4>, <Cell Sheet.B4>, <Cell Sheet.C4>),
(<Cell Sheet.A5>, <Cell Sheet.B5>, <Cell Sheet.C5>),
(<Cell Sheet.A6>, <Cell Sheet.B6>, <Cell Sheet.C6>),
(<Cell Sheet.A7>, <Cell Sheet.B7>, <Cell Sheet.C7>),
(<Cell Sheet.A8>, <Cell Sheet.B8>, <Cell Sheet.C8>),
(<Cell Sheet.A9>, <Cell Sheet.B9>, <Cell Sheet.C9>))

or the openpyxl.worksheet.Worksheet.columns() property:

>>> tuple(ws.columns)
((<Cell Sheet.A1>,
<Cell Sheet.A2>,
<Cell Sheet.A3>,
<Cell Sheet.A4>,
<Cell Sheet.A5>,
<Cell Sheet.A6>,
<Cell Sheet.B7>,
<Cell Sheet.B8>,
<Cell Sheet.B9>),
(<Cell Sheet.C1>,
<Cell Sheet.C2>,
<Cell Sheet.C3>,
<Cell Sheet.C4>,
<Cell Sheet.C5>,
<Cell Sheet.C6>,
<Cell Sheet.C7>,
<Cell Sheet.C8>,
<Cell Sheet.C9>))

Data storage

Once we have a openpyxl.cell.Cell, we can assign it a value:

>>> c.value = 'hello, world'
>>> print(c.value)
'hello, world'

>>> d.value = 3.14
>>> print(d.value)

You can also enable type and format inference:

>>> wb = Workbook(guess_types=True)
>>> c.value = '12%'
>>> print(c.value)

>>> import datetime
>>> d.value =
>>> print d.value
datetime.datetime(2010, 9, 10, 22, 25, 18)

>>> c.value = '31.50'
>>> print(c.value)

Saving to a file

The simplest and safest way to save a workbook is by using the method of the openpyxl.workbook.Workbook object:

>>> wb = Workbook()


This operation will overwrite existing files without warning.


Extension is not forced to be xlsx or xlsm, although you might have some trouble opening it directly with another application if you don’t use an official extension.

As OOXML files are basically ZIP files, you can also end the filename with .zip and open it with your favourite ZIP archive manager.

You can specify the attribute template=True, to save a workbook as a template:

>>> wb = load_workbook('document.xlsx')
>>> wb.template = True

or set this attribute to False (default), to save as a document:

>>> wb = load_workbook('document_template.xltx')
>>> wb.template = False
>>>'document.xlsx', as_template=False)


You should monitor the data attributes and document extensions for saving documents in the document templates and vice versa, otherwise the result table engine can not open the document.


The following will fail:

>>> wb = load_workbook('document.xlsx')
>>> # Need to save with the extension *.xlsx
>>> # MS Excel can't open the document
>>> # or
>>> # Need specify attribute keep_vba=True
>>> wb = load_workbook('document.xlsm')
>>> # MS Excel will not open the document
>>> # or
>>> wb = load_workbook('document.xltm', keep_vba=True)
>>> # If we need a template document, then we must specify extension as *.xltm.
>>> # MS Excel will not open the document

Loading from a file

The same way as writing, you can import openpyxl.load_workbook() to open an existing workbook:

>>> from openpyxl import load_workbook
>>> wb2 = load_workbook('test.xlsx')
>>> print wb2.get_sheet_names()
['Sheet2', 'New Title', 'Sheet1']

This ends the tutorial for now, you can proceed to the Simple usage section