Save or Export Data as an XML File

Excel supports importing and exporting data as XML files, which can be useful for sharing data with other applications. In this tutorial, we will show you how to export data as an XML file in Excel using the following steps:

  1. Convert a Workbook into XML Format (XML Spreadsheet 2003)
  2. Export Mapped Worksheet Data as an XML File
  3. Understanding XML Maps
  4. Creating an XML Schema/Map

Convert Entire Workbook to XML as “XML Spreadsheet 2003”

XML Spreadsheet 2003 (*.xml) is a type of XML file that can store spreadsheet data. It is compatible with older Excel versions, as well as other applications that can read and write XML data.

XML Spreadsheet 2003 files have the extension .xml and use a schema defined by Microsoft. The schema specifies the structure and elements of the XML document, such as worksheets, rows, cells, formulas, styles, and formatting. To save a workbook as an XML Spreadsheet 2003 file, follow these steps:

  1. Go to File > Save As and click Browse to open the Save As dialog box.
  2. Choose XML Spreadsheet 2003 (*.xml) from the Save as type dropdown menu.
  3. Give your file a name and click Save.
XML code of “XML Spreadsheet 2003” file

Open the XML file in a text editor or browser. You will see the XML code that represents your data and formatting. You can edit the XML code if you want to make any changes or remove any unnecessary elements.

Using XML Maps to Export XML Data

Save as “XML Data (*.xml)” XML File

In this section, we’ll discuss how to export your worksheet data as an XML Data file. The first method is:

  1. Click File > Save As > Browse
  2. From Save As dialog box select the XML Data (*.xml) in the Save as type.
  3. Click Save.
Export XML Data using the Developer tab

The second method is, click Developer > Export (If the Developer tab is not visible, follow this link to Show the Developer tab).

Noticed the Export button is disabled, to export your worksheet data as an XML file, Excel requires at least one XML map (XML schema .xsd file) attached to the workbook.

XML Maps

XML schemas in Excel are called XML maps. You can associate single or multiple schemas with a workbook and then map the schema elements to cells on the worksheet.

In this section, we’ll add an XML map to the workbook, see following steps:

  1. Open the XML Source task pane by clicking the Developer > Source.
  2. Excel will display the XML Source task pane. This task pane is used for displaying XML maps found in the XML data or schema documents to map XML elements to cells or ranges on a worksheet.
  3. In the XML Source task pane, click the XML Maps button to open the XML Maps dialog box. The XML Maps dialog box is used to add, delete, or rename an XML map associated with the workbook.
  4. Click the Add button, it will open the “Select XML Source” dialog box, select an XML schema (.xsd extension) file and click Open. See the following figure:

Note: If you don’t have an XML schema (.xsd extension) file but you have an XML data file (e.g. pets.xml), you can use that XML file to create an XML map. When you select an XML file instead of the schema (.xsd) file, Excel shows you a message box as shown below::

The specified XML source does not refer to a schema. Excel will create a schema based on the XML source data.

Excel will create a schema based on the XML source data itself. This may not match your expectations or requirements for the XML data. Therefore, we recommend that you specify a schema for your XML source or edit the generated schema accordingly.

If the XML schema file have more than one root node, the Multiple Roots dialog box appears and you must select a root node which you wan to use. The map.xsd file has a single root node so the Multiple Roots dialog box will not appear.

Excel displays the XML map name (root element name is small letters) in the XML Maps dialog box as shown in the following figure, click OK to return to the Excel window:

The XML Source task pane now displays the structure of the XML map. To create the XML table, place all of the XML elements on the worksheet by dragging the root element pets from the XML Source pane and dropping it on a cell on the sheet:

To add rows in the XML table, move the mouse pointer to the bottom-right corner of the table, click and hold the mouse button when double-headed arrows appear, drag the pointer to the downside, and drop the pointer at the desired cell:

The XML table is mapped to the Excel cells. Fill all rows and try to export the table or workbook as an XML document using one of the following methods:

  1. Click File > Save As > Browse and select the location where you want to save the XML file. Write a file name for your XML file in File name field and select XML Data (*.xml) from the Save as type list.
Save as “XML Data (*.xml)” XML File
  1. To export XML data, click any cell in the XML table and then, on the Developer tab, click the Export button to display the Export XML dialog box:

Navigate to the folder in which you want to export your data, enter a name for the file, and click Export:

Creating an XML Map (Schema)

An XML map is actually an XML schema (plain text document) that helps the other application to understand the elements in the XML document. Excel allows you to add multiple XML maps to a workbook. If you want to create the XML schema used in this tutorial, open a text editor, copy the following code, paste it into the text editor, and save it as map.xsd:

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="utf-8"?>
 <xs:schema xmlns:xs="">
  <xs:element name="pets">
     <xs:element maxOccurs="unbounded" name="Pet">
        <xs:extension base="xs:string">
         <xs:attribute name="Type" type="xs:string" />
         <xs:attribute name="Age" type="xs:integer" />

The map.xsd XML scheme (map) defines the elements of the pets XML. Read the full tutorial on XML schema: Creating XML Schema.

When you export data to an XML file, the two XML events AfterXMLExport and BeforeXMLExport triggered. You can write Workbook_AfterXMLExport and Workbook_BeforeXMLExport event listener procedures for these events to control what happens before and after import.


  1. Understanding XML
  2. Import XML Data
  3. Save or Export Data as an XML File
  4. Cannot Save or Export XML Data
  5. XML Import and Export Events
  6. XML Events for Application Object