Handling of Unicode¶
This package presents all text strings as Python unicode objects.
From Excel 97 onwards, text in Excel spreadsheets has been stored as UTF-16LE
(a 16-bit Unicode Transformation Format).
Older files (Excel 95 and earlier) don’t keep strings in Unicode;
CODEPAGE record provides a codepage number (for example, 1252) which is
used by xlrd to derive the encoding (for same example: “cp1252”) which is
used to translate to Unicode.
CODEPAGE record is missing (possible if the file was created
by third-party software),
xlrd will assume that the encoding is ascii,
and keep going. If the actual encoding is not ascii, a
UnicodeDecodeError exception will be raised and
you will need to determine the encoding yourself, and tell xlrd:
book = xlrd.open_workbook(..., encoding_override="cp1252")
CODEPAGE record exists but is wrong (for example, the codepage
number is 1251, but the strings are actually encoded in koi8_r),
it can be overridden using the same mechanism.
runxlrd.py has a corresponding command-line argument, which
may be used for experimentation:
runxlrd.py -e koi8_r 3rows myfile.xls
The first place to look for an encoding, the “codec name”, is the Python documentation.