How to import an excel file into a MySQL database using PHP

Excel to MySQL illustration

I will provide basic code that’s needed to turn Excel or LibreOffice Calc file (.xlsx, .xls, .csv, .ods and some other formats) into a MySQL table with all the corresponding fields and data. This code will assume the first row of the document contains (unique) column names. That’s pretty much the only requirement.

First thing we need is PHPExcel package (it’s free and open source) for reading spreadsheet files. You can download it here: https://phpexcel.codeplex.com/. Download, extract and move it a folder where you can execute php files. We will include them in the following scripts.

Part one: generating table structure

We will read the first row of the table and create the SQL code to generate the same table. I will use a custom function col_name, to format the names in a way I like, and remove all the non alpha numeric symbols that may not be used as a column name.

If you need to retain unmodified column names from the spreadsheet and you are sure they are compatible with MySQL, you may remove this function and call from the code.

I will also add additional `id` field with auto increment as the first column in the table and rename any existing `id` field to `imported_id`. You may remove this parts, if your data contains unique ID column and you want to use it as primary key.

In this case I will output the MySQL query so it can be executed manually (and modified if needed), but it may as well be executed directly from the script.

<?php

//remove bullshit and format column names for mysql,
//partly stolen from CakePHP
function col_name($string) {

  $translit = array(
    '/ä|æ|ǽ/' => 'ae',
    '/ö|œ/' => 'oe',
    '/ü/' => 'ue',
    '/Ä/' => 'Ae',
    '/Ü/' => 'Ue',
    '/Ö/' => 'Oe',
    '/À|Á|Â|Ã|Ä|Å|Ǻ|Ā|Ă|Ą|Ǎ|А/' => 'A',
    '/à|á|â|ã|å|ǻ|ā|ă|ą|ǎ|ª|а/' => 'a',
    '/б/' => 'Б',
    '/б/' => 'b',
    '/Ç|Ć|Ĉ|Ċ|Č|Ц|Ч/' => 'C',
    '/ç|ć|ĉ|ċ|č|ц|ч/' => 'c',
    '/Ð|Ď|Đ|Д/' => 'D',
    '/ð|ď|đ|д/' => 'd',
    '/È|É|Ê|Ë|Ē|Ĕ|Ė|Ę|Ě|Ё|Е|З|Э/' => 'E',
    '/è|é|ê|ë|ē|ĕ|ė|ę|ě|ё|е|з|э/' => 'e',
    '/Ф/' => 'F',
    '/ф/' => 'f',
    '/Ĝ|Ğ|Ġ|Ģ|Г/' => 'G',
    '/ĝ|ğ|ġ|ģ|г/' => 'g',
    '/Ĥ|Ħ|Х/' => 'H',
    '/ĥ|ħ|х/' => 'h',
    '/Ì|Í|Î|Ï|Ĩ|Ī|Ĭ|Ǐ|Į|İ|И|Й|Ы/' => 'I',
    '/ì|í|î|ï|ĩ|ī|ĭ|ǐ|į|ı|и|й|ы/' => 'i',
    '/Ĵ|Ъ/' => 'J',
    '/ĵ|ъ/' => 'j',
    '/Ķ|К/' => 'K',
    '/ķ|к/' => 'k',
    '/Ĺ|Ļ|Ľ|Ŀ|Ł|Л/' => 'L',
    '/ĺ|ļ|ľ|ŀ|ł|л/' => 'l',
    '/М/' => 'M',
    '/м/' => 'm',
    '/Ñ|Ń|Ņ|Ň|Н/' => 'N',
    '/ñ|ń|ņ|ň|ʼn|н/' => 'n',
    '/Ò|Ó|Ô|Õ|Ō|Ŏ|Ǒ|Ő|Ơ|Ø|Ǿ|О/' => 'O',
    '/ò|ó|ô|õ|ō|ŏ|ǒ|ő|ơ|ø|ǿ|º|о/' => 'o',
    '/П/' => 'P',
    '/п/' => 'p',
    '/Ŕ|Ŗ|Ř|Р/' => 'R',
    '/ŕ|ŗ|ř|р/' => 'r',
    '/Ś|Ŝ|Ş|Š|С|Ш|Щ/' => 'S',
    '/ś|ŝ|ş|š|ſ|с|ш|щ/' => 's',
    '/Ţ|Ť|Ŧ|Т/' => 'T',
    '/ţ|ť|ŧ|т/' => 't',
    '/Ù|Ú|Û|Ũ|Ū|Ŭ|Ů|Ű|Ų|Ư|Ǔ|Ǖ|Ǘ|Ǚ|Ǜ|У/' => 'U',
    '/ù|ú|û|ũ|ū|ŭ|ů|ű|ų|ư|ǔ|ǖ|ǘ|ǚ|ǜ|у/' => 'u',
    '/В/' => 'V',
    '/в/' => 'v',
    '/Ý|Ÿ|Ŷ/' => 'Y',
    '/ý|ÿ|ŷ/' => 'y',
    '/Ŵ/' => 'W',
    '/ŵ/' => 'w',
    '/Ź|Ż|Ž|Ж/' => 'Z',
    '/ź|ż|ž|ж/' => 'z',
    '/Æ|Ǽ/' => 'AE',
    '/ß/' => 'ss',
    '/IJ/' => 'IJ',
    '/ij/' => 'ij',
    '/Œ/' => 'OE',
    '/ƒ/' => 'f',
    '/Ю/' => 'Ju',
    '/ю/' => 'ju',
    '/Я/' => 'Ja',
    '/я/' => 'ja'
  );

  $string = preg_replace(array_keys($translit), array_values($translit), $string);
  $string = str_replace('&amp;', '-and-', $string);

  //replace some symbols with underscore
  $string = str_replace(array(' ', '.', ',', '"', '=', '`', ']', '[', '|', ':', '+', '&quot;', '!', '/', "\\", '-'), '_', $string);

  //drop everyhing thats not alpha-numeric or underscore
  $allowed = "/[^a-z0-9\\_\\\\]/i";
  $string = preg_replace($allowed, '', $string);

  //remove double unserscores
  $string = preg_replace('/_+/', '_', $string);

  //trim the lenght
  $string = substr($string, 0, 100);

  //remove underscores from the ends
  $string = trim($string, '_');
 
  //to lowercase
  $string = strtolower($string);

  //this ranames id field to imported id, you may want to skip this
  if($string === 'id') {
    $string = 'imported_id';
  }

  return $string;
}


require('PHPExcel/IOFactory.php');

//this line defines used reader, for different formats check PHPExcel/Reader/ folder
$objReader = PHPExcel_IOFactory::createReader('Excel2007');

$objPHPExcel = $objReader->load("/path/to/file.xlsx");
$sheet = $objPHPExcel->getActiveSheet();

echo '<pre>';
foreach($sheet->getRowIterator() as $row) {
  echo 'CREATE TABLE IF NOT EXISTS `my_table` (' . "\n";
  echo ' `id` int(11) NOT NULL AUTO_INCREMENT,' . "\n";
  foreach($row->getCellIterator() as $key => $cell){
    if(1 == $row->getRowIndex ()) {
      echo ' `'.col_name($cell->getCalculatedValue()).'` varchar(255) COLLATE utf8_unicode_ci NOT NULL,' . "\n";
    }
  }
  echo ' PRIMARY KEY (`id`)' . "\n";
  echo ")\nENGINE=InnoDB DEFAULT CHARSET=utf8 COLLATE=utf8_unicode_ci AUTO_INCREMENT=1;\n";
  exit;
}
echo '</pre>';

Part two: inserting the data

When the table is created, we can read the data and create insert queries. This time we can skip the first row.

<?php

//insert col_name function here!

require('PHPExcel/IOFactory.php');

//this line defines used reader, for different formats check PHPExcel/Reader/ folder
$objReader = PHPExcel_IOFactory::createReader('Excel2007');
$objPHPExcel = $objReader->load("/path/to/file.xlsx");
$sheet = $objPHPExcel->getActiveSheet();

$col_titles = array();

echo '<pre>';
foreach($sheet->getRowIterator() as $row) {

  $rowData = array();
  foreach($row->getCellIterator() as $key => $cell) {

    //first row, collect column names
    if(1 == $row->getRowIndex ()) {
      $col_titles[$key] = col_name($cell->getCalculatedValue());

      //format data for insertion
    } else {

      //if the column name contains "date",
      //format the excel date to mysql date,
      //you can do similar things to other special types of fields
      if(stristr($col_titles[$key], 'date')) {
        $rowData[$col_titles[$key]] = PHPExcel_Style_NumberFormat::toFormattedString($cell->getCalculatedValue(), 'YYYY-MM-DD');
      } else {
        $rowData[$col_titles[$key]] = $cell->getCalculatedValue();
      }

    }
  }

  //$rowData now contains all the data from this row as key-value array,
  //you may use it differently if using ORM, PDO or something else.
  //I will just create a raw MySQL query for now.
  if(!empty($rowData)) {

    //generate the query
    $keys = array();
    $values = array();

    foreach ($rowData as $key => $val) {
      $keys[] = '`' . $key . '`';

      //you should add you preferred way of escaping the data here
      $values[] = "'" . addslashes($val) . "'";
    }

    $keys = implode(',', $keys);
    $values = implode(',', $values);

    $sql = "INSERT INTO `my_table` ($keys) VALUES($values);";

    //print or execute the query here
    echo $sql . "\n";
  }
}

echo '</pre>';

Thats all folks!

If you don’t need to do this programmatically and prefer to just get the resulting SQL code, check out https://webtoolsplus.com/excel-to-mysql/. It does similar thing online for you.

2 thoughts on “How to import an excel file into a MySQL database using PHP

  1. Gombi May 8, 2016 / 4:42 pm

    Excellent script but how execute script instead of manually print query ?

    • Madars May 8, 2016 / 7:48 pm

      The simplest way would be to just call mysql_query($sql); (or similar function depending on what you are using to access the database) instead of echo $sql;

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *