7 Working with Microsoft Excel

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In Origin, you basically have three ways to work with Microsoft Excel data:

  • Import Excel files into the Origin workbook
  • Open an Excel workbook in Origin
  • Copy Excel data to the Clipboard and paste or paste-link into the Origin workbook

Beginning with Origin 2017, you can import MS Excel .XLS, .XLSX and .XLSM files without having MS Excel installed.

Import Excel Open Excel Copy Excel Data
How To
  • From menu File: Import: Excel(XLS, XLSX, XLSM)...
  • Click the Import Excel button Button Import Excel.png located in the Standard toolbar
  • Drag-and-drop Excel file onto Origin worksheet.
  • Drag-and-drop Excel file(s) into Origin workspace and choose Import option.
  • From menu File: Open Excel...
  • Drag-and-drop Excel file(s) into Origin workspace and choose Open option.
  • Copy the data from Excel, right click to select Paste (or Paste Link) in Origin
How Does it Work
  • Excel data will be read into Origin's workbook.
  • During Import, user customize what file, sheet to import and how they are imported.
  • Excel workbook will be opened by Microsoft Excel program as an OLE instance in Origin workspace.
  • Controls on Excel workbook are available via context menu of Excel workbook title, such as Save Excel File, etc.
  • Excel data will be pasted into Origin’s workbook.
  • If you choose Paste Link, you will create a DDE link between the Excel data and Origin workbook. Any change in that Excel data will dynamically update Origin workbook.
Handle Metadata
  • Metadata such as multi-line headers, can be automatically processed and remembered so can be easily re-imported when external Excel file is changed.
  • Only first header line can be automatically handled.
  • Metadata such as headers should be added manually.
  • Full access to graphing features in Origin.
  • Limited access to Origin graph types. See this Quick Help for all unsupported graph types.
  • Plotting with categorical data is not supported since it is a column property exclusive to Origin workbook.
  • Full access to graphing features in Origin.
Data Analysis
  • Full access to analysis features in Origin.
  • Formulas in imported Excel workbook will be missing and shown as corresponding values instead.
  • Changes in source Excel book can be updated in imported workbook, associated analysis and plot(s) through Re-import.
  • No access to Origin worksheet based analysis.
  • Analysis can be performed directly on graph plotted from Excel workbook.
  • Changes in source workbook will dynamically update Origin project.
  • Full access to analysis features in Origin.
  • Changes in source Excel data will dynamically update Origin project.

Import and Reimport Excel Data

Import Formatted Excel Data

When importing Excel workbook into Origin, you can choose to keep the cell formatting. Header information can be re-arranged into Origin's reserved header rows as Short Name, Long Name, Units, Comments. Meanwhile, you can specify the column plot designation prior to import to make plotting quick and easy.

Import Excel File.png

Reimport Data if Changed

When there is any update on the imported Excel data, you can go to menu File: Re-import Directly to directly re-import your data according to previously settings. All the plots and analysis associated with the imported data will update automatically.

Reimport Excel File.png

Open Excel Workbook in Origin

Open Excel File in Origin Workspace

You can open an Excel file by Microsoft Excel program as an OLE instance in Origin workspace, either through menu or directly drag-and-drop Excel file into Origin workspace. When an Excel file is opening in Origin space, the full Excel menus will be available along with window type oriented Origin menus. The Excel workbook is managed as a special type of Origin child window which is controlled by the shortcut menus when right clicking on the window title bar.


Plot Directly Using Excel Workbook Data

You can make Origin plots directly from data in Excel workbook, but the available graph types are largely limited especially for 3D graphs. There are two ways you can make a plot: directly create a new Origin graph by interactively select data and plot designation in Select Data for Plotting dialog; drag-and-drop data into existing Origin graph window.


If you are dealing with categorical data, importing is highly recommended since the manipulation of categories is only controlled in Origin worksheet.

Setting External Excel File Path Relative to OPJ Path

The Origin Project can contain an Excel window which is linked to an external Excel file, it is beneficial to save the Excel file in the same folder as Origin project or a subfolder under it and then set Excel file path relative to Origin project path to make them more portable. You can also save the Excel file as an internal object of Origin project if there is no dynamic linking between Excel workbooks.


If your Excel file is in a different location and you want to save it to the same path as the OPJ, you can open the Excel file in Origin, then right click the title, select Properties and click the Switch to OPJ path upon Saving button. On saving the OPJ, the Excel file will be copied from its current location to the same path where OPJ is saved.

Copy Excel Data and Paste into Origin Workbook as Link

If you want to analyze the data in an Excel file opened inside the Origin workspace, you can copy it and paste as link into an Origin workbook so that it will automatically update changes from external Excel file. Note that Paste Link feature is not supported in column label region so that heading information cannot be dynamically updated.


Copy Excel Data Outside and Paste/Paste Link into Origin

It may be desirable at times to simply copy Excel data from a workbook opened in Excel and paste/paste link into Origin to access Origin's powerful graphing and analysis features. If you choose to paste Excel data as link, any change in that Excel workbook will dynamically update Origin project.

Working with Excel 20.png

When copy data from Excel to Origin, it will copy the full precision rather than the number of digits displayed in Excel. For more complicated data that has been copied from Excel, Origin includes the ability to use its Import Wizard on Clipboard data.

When copying and pasting date or time data from Excel, consult the following FAQs:

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