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readtable

Create table from file

Description

example

T = readtable(filename) creates a table by reading column oriented data from a file.

readtable determines the file format from the file extension:

  • .txt, .dat, or .csv for delimited text files

  • .xls, .xlsb, .xlsm, .xlsx, .xltm, .xltx, or .ods for spreadsheet files

readtable creates one variable in T for each column in the file and reads variable names from the first row of the file. By default, readtable creates variables that have data types that are appropriate for the data values detected in each column of the input file.

example

T = readtable(filename,opts) creates a table using the import options opts.

example

T = readtable(___,Name,Value) creates a table from a file with additional options specified by one or more name-value pair arguments. For example, you can specify whether readtable reads the first row of the file as variable names or as data.

To set specific import options for your data, you can either use the opts object or you can specify name-value pairs. When you specify name-value pairs in addition to opts, then readtable supports only these name-value pairs:

  • Text and spreadsheet parameters — ReadVariableNames, ReadRowNames

  • Text only parameters — DateLocale, Encoding

  • Spreadsheet only parameters — Sheet, UseExcel

Examples

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Load the file myCsvTable.dat and preview its contents in a text editor. A screen shot is shown below. Notice that the file contains comma-separated column oriented data.

filename = 'myCsvTable.dat';

Create a table from the comma-separated text file. The resulting table T contains one variable for each column in the file and readtable treats the entries in the first line of the file as variable names.

T = readtable(filename)
T=5×6 table
      LastName      Gender    Age    Height    Weight    Smoker
    ____________    ______    ___    ______    ______    ______

    {'Smith'   }    {'M'}     38       71       176        1   
    {'Johnson' }    {'M'}     43       69       163        0   
    {'Williams'}    {'F'}     38       64       131        0   
    {'Jones'   }    {'F'}     40       67       133        0   
    {'Brown'   }    {'F'}     49       64       119        0   

Starting in R2020a, the readtable function read an input file as though it automatically called the detectImportOptions function on the file. It can detect data types, discard extra header lines, and fill in missing values.

For example, preview the file headersAndMissing.txt in a text editor. The file has a line with column names and another line with headers. The last two rows have gaps where the previous rows have data values.

Create a table from the file. The readtable function discards the headers. Also, it fills in gaps with appropriate missing values—a NaN value for numeric variables, and an empty character vector for text.

T = readtable('headersAndMissing.txt')
T=5×6 table
     LastName        Gender      Age    Height    Weight    Smoker
    ___________    __________    ___    ______    ______    ______

    {'Wu'     }    {'M'     }     38      71       176        1   
    {'Johnson'}    {'M'     }     43      69       163        0   
    {'Sanchez'}    {'F'     }     38      64       131        0   
    {'Brown'  }    {'F'     }    NaN      67       133        0   
    {'Picard' }    {0x0 char}    NaN      64       119        0   

To restore the default behavior from previous releases, specify the 'Format','auto' name-value pair argument. readtable reads the headers as data, and as a result, it converts all the table variables to text.

T = readtable('headersAndMissing.txt','Format','auto')
T=6×6 table
     LastName        Gender         Age        Height     Weight       Smoker   
    ___________    __________    __________    _______    _______    ___________

    {'string' }    {'string'}    {'int'   }    {'int'}    {'int'}    {'boolean'}
    {'Wu'     }    {'M'     }    {'38'    }    {'71' }    {'176'}    {'1'      }
    {'Johnson'}    {'M'     }    {'43'    }    {'69' }    {'163'}    {'0'      }
    {'Sanchez'}    {'F'     }    {'38'    }    {'64' }    {'131'}    {'0'      }
    {'Brown'  }    {'F'     }    {0x0 char}    {'67' }    {'133'}    {'0'      }
    {'Picard' }    {0x0 char}    {0x0 char}    {'64' }    {'119'}    {'0'      }

For more information, see the Compatibility Considerations section on this page.

Preview the file mySpaceDelimTable.txt in a text editor. A screen shot is shown below. Notice that the file contains space delimited, column oriented data.

Create a table from the space delimited text file. The readtable function assigns the default variable names Var1 to Var5 because the file does not contain detectable column names in its first row.

T = readtable('mySpaceDelimTable.txt')
T=3×5 table
    Var1     Var2    Var3     Var4       Var5   
    _____    ____    ____    ______    _________

    {'M'}     45      45     {'NY'}    {'true' }
    {'F'}     41      32     {'CA'}    {'false'}
    {'M'}     40      34     {'MA'}    {'false'}

Load the file myCsvTable.dat and preview its contents in a text editor. A screen shot is shown below. Notice that the file contains comma-separated column oriented data.

filename = 'myCsvTable.dat';

Create a table from the comma-separated text file. Import the first two columns as character vectors, the third column as uint32, and the next two columns as double-precision, floating-point numbers. Import the entries of the last column as character vectors.

T = readtable(filename,'Format','%s%s%u%f%f%s')
T=5×6 table
      LastName      Gender    Age    Height    Weight    Smoker
    ____________    ______    ___    ______    ______    ______

    {'Smith'   }    {'M'}     38       71       176      {'1'} 
    {'Johnson' }    {'M'}     43       69       163      {'0'} 
    {'Williams'}    {'F'}     38       64       131      {'0'} 
    {'Jones'   }    {'F'}     40       67       133      {'0'} 
    {'Brown'   }    {'F'}     49       64       119      {'0'} 

The conversion specifiers are %s for a cell array of character vectors, %f for double, and %u for uint32.

Read German dates from a file and add them to a table as English dates.

Preview the file german_dates.txt in a text editor. A screen shot is shown below. Notice that the first column of values contains dates in German and the second and third columns are numeric values.

Read the sample file using readtable. The conversion specifiers is %D dates and %f for floating-point values. Specify the file encoding using the FileEncoding name-value pair argument. Specify the format and locale of the dates using the DateLocale name-value pair argument.

T = readtable('german_dates.txt',...
    'Format','%{dd MMMM yyyy}D %f %f',...
    'FileEncoding','ISO-8859-15',...
    'DateLocale','de_DE')
T=3×3 table
          Var1          Var2    Var3 
    ________________    ____    _____

     01 January 2014    20.2    100.5
    01 February 2014    21.6    102.7
       01 March 2014    20.7     99.8

Create a table from a spreadsheet that contains variable names in the first row and row names in the first column.

T = readtable('patients.xls','ReadRowNames',true);

Display the first five rows and first four variables of the table.

T(1:5,1:4)
ans=5×4 table
                  Gender      Age              Location               Height
                __________    ___    _____________________________    ______

    Smith       {'Male'  }    38     {'County General Hospital'  }      71  
    Johnson     {'Male'  }    43     {'VA Hospital'              }      69  
    Williams    {'Female'}    38     {'St. Mary's Medical Center'}      64  
    Jones       {'Female'}    40     {'VA Hospital'              }      67  
    Brown       {'Female'}    49     {'County General Hospital'  }      64  

View the DimensionNames property of the table.

T.Properties.DimensionNames
ans = 1x2 cell
    {'LastName'}    {'Variables'}

'LastName' is the name in the first column of the first row of the spreadsheet.

Create a table using data from a specified region of the spreadsheet patients.xls. Use the data from the 5-by-3 rectangular region between the corners C2 and E6. Do not use the first row of this region as variable names.

T = readtable('patients.xls',...
    'Range','C2:E6',...
    'ReadVariableNames',false)
T = 

    Var1               Var2                Var3
    ____    ___________________________    ____

    38      'County General Hospital'      71  
    43      'VA Hospital'                  69  
    38      'St. Mary's Medical Center'    64  
    40      'VA Hospital'                  67  
    49      'County General Hospital'      64  

T contains default variable names.

Create import options, tailor the data types for multiple variables, and then read the data.

Create an import options object from a text file.

opts = detectImportOptions('airlinesmall.csv')
opts = 
  DelimitedTextImportOptions with properties:

   Format Properties:
                    Delimiter: {','}
                   Whitespace: '\b\t '
                   LineEnding: {'\n'  '\r'  '\r\n'}
                 CommentStyle: {}
    ConsecutiveDelimitersRule: 'split'
        LeadingDelimitersRule: 'keep'
       TrailingDelimitersRule: 'ignore'
                EmptyLineRule: 'skip'
                     Encoding: 'ISO-8859-1'

   Replacement Properties:
                  MissingRule: 'fill'
              ImportErrorRule: 'fill'
             ExtraColumnsRule: 'addvars'

   Variable Import Properties: Set types by name using setvartype
                VariableNames: {'Year', 'Month', 'DayofMonth' ... and 26 more}
                VariableTypes: {'double', 'double', 'double' ... and 26 more}
        SelectedVariableNames: {'Year', 'Month', 'DayofMonth' ... and 26 more}
              VariableOptions: Show all 29 VariableOptions 
	Access VariableOptions sub-properties using setvaropts/getvaropts
           VariableNamingRule: 'modify'

   Location Properties:
                    DataLines: [2 Inf]
            VariableNamesLine: 1
               RowNamesColumn: 0
            VariableUnitsLine: 0
     VariableDescriptionsLine: 0 
	To display a preview of the table, use preview

Examine the Type property of the variables TaxiIn and TaxiOut.

getvaropts(opts,{'TaxiIn','TaxiOut'})
ans = 
  1x2 TextVariableImportOptions array with properties:

    Name
    Type
    FillValue
    TreatAsMissing
    QuoteRule
    Prefixes
    Suffixes
    EmptyFieldRule
    WhitespaceRule

Change the type of the variables TaxiIn and TaxiOut to double.

 opts = setvartype(opts,{'TaxiIn','TaxiOut'},'double');

Specify the subset of variables to import and examine.

opts.SelectedVariableNames = {'TaxiIn','TaxiOut'};

Use the readtable function along with the options object to import the selected variables. Display a summary of the table.

T = readtable('airlinesmall.csv',opts);
summary(T)
Variables:

    TaxiIn: 123523x1 double

        Values:

            Min             0      
            Median          5      
            Max             1451   
            NumMissing      37383  

    TaxiOut: 123523x1 double

        Values:

            Min             0      
            Median          13     
            Max             755    
            NumMissing      37364  

Detect import options for a spreadsheet file, specify the variables to import, and then read the data.

Create an import options object from a file.

opts = detectImportOptions('patients.xls')
opts = 
  SpreadsheetImportOptions with properties:

   Sheet Properties:
                        Sheet: ''

   Replacement Properties:
                  MissingRule: 'fill'
              ImportErrorRule: 'fill'

   Variable Import Properties: Set types by name using setvartype
                VariableNames: {'LastName', 'Gender', 'Age' ... and 7 more}
                VariableTypes: {'char', 'char', 'double' ... and 7 more}
        SelectedVariableNames: {'LastName', 'Gender', 'Age' ... and 7 more}
              VariableOptions: Show all 10 VariableOptions 
	Access VariableOptions sub-properties using setvaropts/getvaropts
           VariableNamingRule: 'modify'

   Range Properties:
                    DataRange: 'A2' (Start Cell)
           VariableNamesRange: 'A1'
                RowNamesRange: ''
           VariableUnitsRange: ''
    VariableDescriptionsRange: '' 
	To display a preview of the table, use preview

Modify the options object to specify which variables to import.

opts.SelectedVariableNames = {'Systolic','Diastolic'};

Use readtable along with the options object to import the specified variables.

T = readtable('patients.xls',opts);
summary(T)
Variables:

    Systolic: 100x1 double

        Values:

            Min         109   
            Median      122   
            Max         138   

    Diastolic: 100x1 double

        Values:

            Min           68  
            Median      81.5  
            Max           99  

You can read tabular data while preserving variable names that include any characters, including spaces and non-ASCII characters. First, create a table with arbitrary variable names and write the table to a text file. Then, read the tabular data back while preserving the original variable names.

Create a table containing arbitrary variable names and write the tabular data to the file 'sampletable.txt'.

LastName = {'Sanchez';'Johnson';'Li';'Diaz';'Brown'};
Age = [38;43;38;40;49];
Smoker = logical([1;0;1;0;1]);
varNames = {'Last Name','Age','Smoker (1 or 0)'};
T = table(LastName,Age,Smoker,'VariableNames',varNames)
T=5×3 table
     Last Name     Age    Smoker (1 or 0)
    ___________    ___    _______________

    {'Sanchez'}    38          true      
    {'Johnson'}    43          false     
    {'Li'     }    38          true      
    {'Diaz'   }    40          false     
    {'Brown'  }    49          true      

writetable(T,'sampletable.txt')

Read the tabular data back using readtable. By default, MATLAB® converts any variable names that include spaces and non-ASCII characters into valid MATLAB® identifiers. For example, MATLAB® converts the variable names 'Last Name' to 'LastName', and 'Smoker (1 or 0)' to 'Smoker_1or0_'. To read the tabular data while preserving variable names, set the 'VariableNamingRule' parameter to preserve.

T_preserve = readtable('sampletable.txt',"VariableNamingRule","preserve")
T_preserve=5×3 table
     Last Name     Age    Smoker (1 or 0)
    ___________    ___    _______________

    {'Sanchez'}    38            1       
    {'Johnson'}    43            0       
    {'Li'     }    38            1       
    {'Diaz'   }    40            0       
    {'Brown'  }    49            1       

You can read hexadecimal and binary numbers from a file and store them as numeric variables in a table. The readtable function automatically reads hexadecimal and binary numbers when they include the 0x and 0b prefixes respectively. The numeric values are stored using integer data types. You can also use import options to read such numbers when they do not have prefixes.

Preview the hexAndBinary.txt file in a text editor. It has columns of hexadecimal and binary numbers with prefixes, and one column without.

Read the file using readtable. The function detects the numbers with 0x and 0b prefixes and stores them as integers. The third column does not have prefixes so its values are treated as text.

T = readtable('hexAndBinary.txt')
T=3×4 table
    Var1     Var2      Var3         Var4    
    _____    ____    ________    ___________

      255    255     {'C7F9'}    {'Device1'}
      256      4     {'05BF'}    {'Device2'}
    43981    129     {'F00F'}    {'Device3'}

The readtable function stores the numeric values in different integer classes (uint16 and uint8) because T.Var1 has a value that requires more than 8 bits of storage.

class(T.Var1)
ans = 
'uint16'
class(T.Var2)
ans = 
'uint8'

To specify the data types for storing the numeric values imported from hexadecimal and binary numbers, use the 'HexType' and 'BinaryType' name-value pair arguments. Store the values as signed 32-bit integers.

T = readtable('hexAndBinary.txt','HexType','int32','BinaryType','int32');
class(T.Var1)
ans = 
'int32'
class(T.Var2)
ans = 
'int32'

You can use import options to detect hexadecimal and binary numbers without prefixes, and specify storage for them. Create an import options object for hexAndBinary.txt.

opts = detectImportOptions('hexAndBinary.txt')
opts = 
  DelimitedTextImportOptions with properties:

   Format Properties:
                    Delimiter: {','}
                   Whitespace: '\b\t '
                   LineEnding: {'\n'  '\r'  '\r\n'}
                 CommentStyle: {}
    ConsecutiveDelimitersRule: 'split'
        LeadingDelimitersRule: 'keep'
       TrailingDelimitersRule: 'ignore'
                EmptyLineRule: 'skip'
                     Encoding: 'UTF-8'

   Replacement Properties:
                  MissingRule: 'fill'
              ImportErrorRule: 'fill'
             ExtraColumnsRule: 'addvars'

   Variable Import Properties: Set types by name using setvartype
                VariableNames: {'Var1', 'Var2', 'Var3' ... and 1 more}
                VariableTypes: {'auto', 'auto', 'char' ... and 1 more}
        SelectedVariableNames: {'Var1', 'Var2', 'Var3' ... and 1 more}
              VariableOptions: Show all 4 VariableOptions 
	Access VariableOptions sub-properties using setvaropts/getvaropts
           VariableNamingRule: 'modify'

   Location Properties:
                    DataLines: [1 Inf]
            VariableNamesLine: 0
               RowNamesColumn: 0
            VariableUnitsLine: 0
     VariableDescriptionsLine: 0 
	To display a preview of the table, use preview

To specify that the third column should be imported as hexadecimal values, despite the lack of a prefix, use the setvaropts function to modify the variable type for the third variable of the table. Set the variable type to int32.

opts = setvaropts(opts,3,'NumberSystem','hex','Type','int32')
opts = 
  DelimitedTextImportOptions with properties:

   Format Properties:
                    Delimiter: {','}
                   Whitespace: '\b\t '
                   LineEnding: {'\n'  '\r'  '\r\n'}
                 CommentStyle: {}
    ConsecutiveDelimitersRule: 'split'
        LeadingDelimitersRule: 'keep'
       TrailingDelimitersRule: 'ignore'
                EmptyLineRule: 'skip'
                     Encoding: 'UTF-8'

   Replacement Properties:
                  MissingRule: 'fill'
              ImportErrorRule: 'fill'
             ExtraColumnsRule: 'addvars'

   Variable Import Properties: Set types by name using setvartype
                VariableNames: {'Var1', 'Var2', 'Var3' ... and 1 more}
                VariableTypes: {'auto', 'auto', 'int32' ... and 1 more}
        SelectedVariableNames: {'Var1', 'Var2', 'Var3' ... and 1 more}
              VariableOptions: Show all 4 VariableOptions 
	Access VariableOptions sub-properties using setvaropts/getvaropts
           VariableNamingRule: 'modify'

   Location Properties:
                    DataLines: [1 Inf]
            VariableNamesLine: 0
               RowNamesColumn: 0
            VariableUnitsLine: 0
     VariableDescriptionsLine: 0 
	To display a preview of the table, use preview

Read the file and import the third column as numeric values, not text.

T = readtable('hexAndBinary.txt',opts)
T=3×4 table
    Var1     Var2    Var3        Var4    
    _____    ____    _____    ___________

      255    255     51193    {'Device1'}
      256      4      1471    {'Device2'}
    43981    129     61455    {'Device3'}

Input Arguments

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Name of the file to read, specified as a character vector or a string scalar.

Depending on the location of your file, filename can take on one of these forms.

Location

Form

Current folder or folder on the MATLAB® path

Specify the name of the file in filename.

Example: 'myFile.txt'

File in a folder

If the file is not in the current folder or in a folder on the MATLAB path, then specify the full or relative path name in filename.

Example: 'C:\myFolder\myFile.xlsx'

Example: 'dataDir\myFile.txt'

Remote Location

If the file is stored at a remote location, then filename must contain the full path of the file specified as a uniform resource locator (URL) of the form:

scheme_name://path_to_file/my_file.ext

Based on your remote location, scheme_name can be one of the values in this table.

Remote Locationscheme_name
Amazon S3™s3
Windows Azure® Blob Storagewasb, wasbs
HDFS™hdfs

For more information, see Work with Remote Data.

Example: 's3://bucketname/path_to_file/my_file.csv'

  • If filename includes the file extension, then the importing function determines the file format from the extension. Otherwise, you must specify the 'FileType' name-value pair arguments to indicate the type of file.

  • On Windows® systems with Microsoft® Excel® software, the importing function reads any Excel spreadsheet file format recognized by your version of Excel.

  • If your system does not have Excel for Windows or if you are using MATLAB Online™, the importing function operates with the UseExcel property set to false, and reads only .xls, .xlsx, .xlsm, .xltx, and .xltm files.

  • For delimited text files, the importing function converts empty fields in the file to either NaN (for a numeric variable) or an empty character vector (for a text variable). All lines in the text file must have the same number of delimiters. The importing function ignores insignificant white space in the file.

Data Types: char | string

File import options, specified as an SpreadsheetImportOptions, DelimitedTextImportOptions, or FixedWidthImportOptions object created by the detectImportOptions function. The opts object contains properties that control the data import process. For more information on the properties of each object, see the appropriate object page.

Type of FilesOutput
Spreadsheet filesSpreadsheetImportOptions object
Text filesDelimitedTextImportOptions object
Fixed-width text filesFixedWidthImportOptions object

Name-Value Pair Arguments

Specify optional comma-separated pairs of Name,Value arguments. Name is the argument name and Value is the corresponding value. Name must appear inside quotes. You can specify several name and value pair arguments in any order as Name1,Value1,...,NameN,ValueN.

Example: 'ReadVariableNames',false indicates that the first row of the file does not correspond to variable names.

When reading:

  • Text files, only these parameter names apply: FileType, ReadVariableNames, ReadRowNames, TreatAsEmpty, DatetimeType, Delimiter, HeaderLines, Format, EmptyValue, MultipleDelimsAsOne, CollectOutput, CommentStyle, ExpChars, LineEnding, DateLocale, Encoding, HexType, and BinaryType.

  • Spreadsheet files, only these parameter names apply: FileType, ReadVariableNames, ReadRowNames, TreatAsEmpty, DatetimeType, Sheet, Range, UseExcel, and TextType.

  • Text or Spreadsheet files with the opts import options, only these parameter names apply: ReadVariableNames, ReadRowNames, DateLocale, Encoding, Sheet, and UseExcel.

Text and Spreadsheet Files

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Type of file, specified as the comma-separated pair consisting of 'FileType' and one of these values.

ValueImport Options for File
'spreadsheet'

Return a SpreadsheetImportOptions object.

'text'

Return a DelimitedTextImportOptions or FixedWidthImportOptions object depending on the layout of the text file.

'delimitedtext'

Return a DelimitedTextImportOptions object. Use this option for text files that have columns separated by delimiters.

'fixedwidth'

Return a FixedWidthImportOptions object. Use this option for text files that have columns of fixed widths.

Use the 'FileType' name-value pair argument when filename does not include the file extension, or when the extension is not one of these:

  • .txt, .dat, or .csv for text files

  • .xls, .xlsb, .xlsm, .xlsx, .xltm, .xltx, or .ods for spreadsheet files

Example: 'FileType','text'

Data Types: char | string

Indicator for reading the first row as variable names, specified as the comma-separated pair consisting of 'ReadVariableNames' and either true, false, 1, or 0. If unspecified, readtable automatically detects the presence of variable names.

Indicator

Description

true

Use when the first row of the region to read contains the variable names for the table. readtable creates a variable, with the detected variable name, for each column in T.

false

Use when the first row of the region to read contains data in the table. readtable creates default variable names of the form 'Var1',...,'VarN', where N is the number of variables.

unspecified When left unspecified, readtable automatically detects true or false and proceeds accordingly.

Note: If both the 'ReadVariableNames' and 'ReadRowNames' logical indicators are true, then readtable saves the name in the first column of the first row of the region to read as the first dimension name in the property, T.Properties.DimensionNames.

If you specify the ReadVariableNames argument in addition to opts the import options, then the readtable behavior changes based on the specification:

  • If ReadVariableNames is true, then read the variable names from the specified file by using the VariableNamesRange or the VariableNamesLine property of the import options object.

  • If ReadVariableNames is false, then read the variable names from the VariableNames property of the import options object.

Indicator for reading first column as row names, specified as the comma-separated pair consisting of 'ReadRowNames' and either false, true, 0, or 1.

Indicator

Description

false

Use when the first column of the region to read contains data, and not the row names for the table.

true

Use when the first column of the region to read contains the row names for the table.

unspecifiedWhen left unspecified, readtable assumes false.

Note: If both the 'ReadVariableNames' and 'ReadRowNames' logical indicators are true, then readtable saves the name in the first column of the first row of the region to read as the first dimension name in the property, T.Properties.DimensionNames.

If you specify the ReadRowNames argument in addition to opts the import options , then the readtable behavior changes based on the specification:

  • If ReadRowNames is true, then read the row names from the specified file by using the RowNamesRange or the RowNameColumn property of the import options object.

  • If ReadRowNames is false, then do not import row names.

Placeholder text to treat as an empty value, specified as the comma-separated pair consisting of 'TreatAsEmpty' and a character vector, cell array of character vectors, string, or string array. Table elements corresponding to these characters are set to NaN.

'TreatAsEmpty' only applies to numeric columns in the file, and readtable does not accept numeric literals, such as '-99'.

Example: 'TreatAsEmpty','N/A' or 'TreatAsEmpty',"N/A" sets N/A within numeric columns to NaN.

Example: 'TreatAsEmpty',{'.','NA','N/A'} or 'TreatAsEmpty',[".","NA","N/A"] sets ., NA and N/A within numeric columns to NaN.

Data Types: char | string

Type for imported text data, specified as the comma-separated pair consisting of 'TextType' and either 'char' or 'string'.

  • 'char' — Import text data into MATLAB as character vectors.

  • 'string' — Import text data into MATLAB as string arrays.

Example: 'TextType','char'

Type for imported date and time data, specified as the comma-separated pair consisting of 'DatetimeType' and one of these values: 'datetime', 'text', or 'exceldatenum'. The value 'exceldatenum' is applicable only for spreadsheet files, and is not valid for text files.

ValueType for Imported Date and Time Data
'datetime'

MATLAB datetime data type

For more information, see datetime.

'text'

If 'DatetimeType' is specified as 'text', then the type for imported date and time data depends on the value specified in the 'TextType' parameter:

  • If 'TextType' is set to 'char', then the importing function returns dates as a cell array of character vectors.

  • If 'TextType' is set to 'string', then the importing function returns dates as an array of strings.

'exceldatenum'

Excel serial date numbers

A serial date number is a single number equal to the number of days from a given reference date. Excel serial date numbers use a different reference date than MATLAB serial date numbers. For more information on Excel dates, see https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/kb/214330.

Data Types: char | string

Flag to preserve variable names, specified as the comma-separated pair consisting of VariableNamingRule and either true, or false.

  • 'preserve' — Preserve variable names that are not valid MATLAB identifiers such as variable names that include spaces and non-ASCII characters.

  • 'modify' — Convert invalid variable names (as determined by the isvarname function) to valid MATLAB identifiers.

Starting in R2019b, variable names and row names can include any characters, including spaces and non-ASCII characters. Also, they can start with any characters, not just letters. Variable and row names do not have to be valid MATLAB identifiers (as determined by the isvarname function). To preserve these variable names and row names, set the value of VariableNamingRule to 'preserve'.

Data Types: char | string

Text Files Only

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Field delimiter character, specified as the comma-separated pair consisting of 'Delimiter' and a character vector, a cell array of character vectors, or a string. Specify Delimiter using any valid character such as a comma ',' or a period '.'.

This table lists some commonly used field delimiter characters.

Specifier

Field Delimiter

','

'comma'

Comma

' '

'space'

Space

'\t'

'tab'

Tab

';'

'semi'

Semicolon

'|'

'bar'

Vertical bar

unspecified

If unspecified, readtable automatically detects the delimiter.

To treat consecutive delimiters as a single delimiter, specify Delimiter as a cell array of character vectors. In addition, you must also specify the MultipleDelimsAsOne option.

Example: 'Delimiter',',' or 'Delimiter','comma'

Data Types: char | string | cell

Lines to skip at beginning of the file, specified as the comma-separated pair consisting of 'HeaderLines' and a positive integer. If unspecified, readtable automatically detects the number of lines to skip.

Data Types: single | double

Column format of the file, specified as the comma-separated pair consisting of 'Format' and a character vector or a string scalar having one or more conversion specifiers, or 'auto'. The conversion specifiers are the same as the specifiers accepted by the textscan function.

Specifying the format can significantly improve speed for some large files. If you do not specify a value for Format, then readtable uses %q to interpret nonnumeric columns. The %q specifier reads the text and omits double quotation marks (") if appropriate.

  • If you do not specify the 'Format' name-value pair, then the readtable function behaves as though you have used the results of the detectImportOptions function to import the data. For more information on the consequences of this behavior, see Compatibility Considerations.

  • If you specify 'Format','auto', then the variables created are double arrays, cell array of character vectors, or datetime arrays, depending on the data. If the entire column is numeric, variables are imported as double. If any element in a column is not numeric, the variables are imported as cell arrays of character vectors, or as datetime arrays if the values represent dates and times.

Data Types: char | string

Returned value for empty numeric fields in delimited text files, specified as the comma-separated pair consisting of 'EmptyValue' and a scalar.

Multiple delimiter handling, specified as the comma-separated pair consisting of 'MultipleDelimsAsOne' and either true or false. If true, then the importing function treats consecutive delimiters as a single delimiter. Repeated delimiters separated by white-space are also treated as a single delimiter. You must also specify the Delimiter option.

Example: 'MultipleDelimsAsOne',1

Logical indicator determining data concatenation, specified as the comma-separated pair consisting of 'CollectOutput' and either true or false. If true, then the importing function concatenates consecutive output cells of the same fundamental MATLAB class into a single array.

Symbols designating text to ignore, specified as the comma-separated pair consisting of 'CommentStyle' and a character vector, cell array of character vectors, string, or string array.

For example, specify a character such as '%' to ignore text following the symbol on the same line. Specify a cell array of two character vectors, such as {'/*','*/'}, to ignore any text between those sequences.

MATLAB checks for comments only at the start of each field, not within a field.

Example: 'CommentStyle',{'/*','*/'}

Data Types: char | string

Exponent characters, specified as the comma-separated pair consisting of 'ExpChars' and a character vector or string. The default exponent characters are e, E, d, and D.

Data Types: char | string

End-of-line characters, specified as the comma-separated pair consisting of 'LineEnding' and a character vector or string. The character vector must be '\r\n' or it must specify a single character. Common end-of-line characters are a newline character ('\n') or a carriage return ('\r'). If you specify '\r\n', then the importing function treats any of \r, \n, and the combination of the two (\r\n) as end-of-line characters.

The default end-of-line sequence is \n, \r, or \r\n, depending on the contents of your file.

If there are missing values and an end-of-line sequence at the end of the last line in a file, then the importing function returns empty values for those fields. This ensures that individual cells in output cell array, C, are the same size.

Example: 'LineEnding',':'

Data Types: char | string

Locale for reading dates, specified as the comma-separated pair consisting of 'DateLocale' and a character vector or a string scalar of the form xx_YY, where:

  • YY is an uppercase ISO 3166-1 alpha-2 code indicating a country.

  • xx is a lowercase ISO 639-1 two-letter code indicating a language.

For a list of common values for the locale, see the Locale name-value pair argument for the datetime function.

When using the %D format specifier to read text as datetime values, use DateLocale to specify the locale in which the importing function should interpret month and day-of-week names and abbreviations.

If you specify the DateLocale argument in addition to opts the import options, then the importing function uses the specified value for the DateLocale argument, overriding the locale defined in the import options.

Example: 'DateLocale','ja_JP'

Character encoding scheme associated with the file, specified as the comma-separated pair consisting of 'Encoding' and 'system' or a standard character encoding scheme name. When you do not specify any encoding, the readtable function uses automatic character set detection to determine the encoding when reading the file.

If you specify the 'Encoding' argument in addition to the import options, then the readtable function uses the specified value for 'Encoding', overriding the encoding defined in the import options.

Example: 'Encoding','UTF-8' uses UTF-8 as the encoding.

Example: 'Encoding','system' uses the system default encoding.

Data Types: char | string

Output data type of duration data from text files, specified as the comma-separated pair consisting of 'DurationType' and either 'duration' or 'text'.

ValueType for Imported Duration Data
'duration'

MATLAB duration data type

For more information, see duration.

'text'

If 'DurationType' is specified as 'text', then the type for imported duration data depends on the value specified in the 'TextType' parameter:

  • If 'TextType' is 'char', then the importing function returns duration data as a cell array of character vectors.

  • If 'TextType' is 'string', then the importing function returns duration data as an array of strings.

Data Types: char | string

Output data type of hexadecimal data, specified as the comma-separated pair consisting of 'HexType' and one of the values listed in the table.

The input file represents hexadecimal values as text, using either 0x or 0X as a prefix and the characters 0-9, a-f, and A-F as digits. (Uppercase and lowercase letters represent the same digits—for example, '0xf' and '0xF' both represent 15.)

The importing function converts the hexadecimal values to the data type specified by the value of 'HexType'.

Value of 'HexType'

Data Type of Output Table Variables

'auto'

data type detected automatically

'text'

unaltered input text

'int8'

8-bit integer, signed

'int16'

16-bit integer, signed

'int32'

32-bit integer, signed

'int64'

64-bit integer, signed

'uint8'

8-bit integer, unsigned

'uint16'

16-bit integer, unsigned

'uint32'

32-bit integer, unsigned

'uint64'

64-bit integer, unsigned

Example: 'HexType','uint16' converts text representing hexadecimal values (such as '0xFF') to unsigned 16-bit integers (such as 255) in the output table.

Data Types: char | string

Output data type of binary data, specified as the comma-separated pair consisting of 'BinaryType' and one of the values listed in the table.

The input file represents binary values as text, using either 0b or 0B as a prefix and the characters 0 and 1 as digits.

The importing function converts the binary values to the data type specified by the value of 'BinaryType'.

Value of 'BinaryType'

Data Type of Output Table Variables

'auto'

data type detected automatically

'text'

unaltered input text

'int8'

8-bit integer, signed

'int16'

16-bit integer, signed

'int32'

32-bit integer, signed

'int64'

64-bit integer, signed

'uint8'

8-bit integer, unsigned

'uint16'

16-bit integer, unsigned

'uint32'

32-bit integer, unsigned

'uint64'

64-bit integer, unsigned

Example: 'BinaryType','uint16' converts text representing binary values (such as '0b11111111') to unsigned 16-bit integers (such as 255) in the output table.

Data Types: char | string

Remove nonnumeric characters from a numeric variable, specified as a logical true or false.

Example: If name-value pair is specified as 'TrimNonNumeric',true, then the importing function reads '$500/-' as 500.

Data Types: logical

Spreadsheet Files Only

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Worksheet to read, specified as the comma-separated pair consisting of 'Sheet' and a positive integer indicating the worksheet index or a character vector or string containing the worksheet name. The worksheet name cannot contain a colon (:). To determine the names of sheets in a spreadsheet file, use sheets = sheetnames(filename). For more information, see sheetnames.

If you specify the Sheet argument in addition to opts the import options, then the readtable function uses the specified value for Sheet argument, overriding the sheet name defined in the import options.

Example: 'Sheet', 2

Example: 'Sheet', 'MySheetName'

Example: 'Sheet', "MySheetName"

Data Types: char | string | single | double | int8 | int16 | int32 | int64 | uint8 | uint16 | uint32 | uint64

Portion of the worksheet to read, indicated as a rectangular area specified by a comma separated pair consisting of 'Range' and a character vector or string scalar in one of the following forms.

Ways to specify Range Description
  

'Cell' or [row col]

Starting Cell

Specify the starting cell for the data as a character vector or string scalar or a two element numeric vector.

  • Character vector or string scalar containing a column letter and row number using Excel A1 notation. For example, A5 is the identifier for the cell at the intersection of column A and row 5.

  • Two element numeric vector of the form [row col] indicating the starting row and column.

Using the starting cell, the importing function automatically detects the extent of the data by beginning the import at the start cell and ending at the last empty row or footer range.

Example: 'A5' or [5 1]

'Corner1:Corner2'

Rectangular Range

Specify the range using the syntax 'Corner1:Corner2', where Corner1 and Corner2 are two opposing corners that define the region. For example, 'D2:H4' represents the 3-by-5 rectangular region between the two corners D2 and H4 on the worksheet. The 'Range' name-value pair argument is not case-sensitive, and uses Excel A1 reference style (see Excel help).

Example: 'Range','Corner1:Corner2'

''

Unspecified or Empty

If unspecified, readtable automatically detects the used range.

Example: 'Range',''

Note: Used Range refers to the rectangular portion of the spreadsheet that actually contains data. readtable automatically detects the used range by trimming any leading and trailing rows and columns that do not contain data. Text that is only white space is considered data and is captured within the used range.

'Row1:Row2'

Row Range

You can identify range by specifying the beginning and ending rows using Excel row designators. Then readtable automatically detects the used column range within the designated rows. For instance, readtable interprets the range specification '1:7' as an instruction to read all columns in the used range in rows 1 through 7 (inclusive).

Example: 'Range','1:7'

'Column1:Column2'

Column Range

You can identify range by specifying the beginning and ending columns using Excel column designators. Then readtable automatically detects the used row range within the designated columns. For instance, readtable interprets the range specification 'A:F' as an instruction to read all rows in the used range in columns A through F (inclusive).

Example: 'Range','A:F'

'NamedRange'

Excel’s Named Range

In Excel, you can create names to identify ranges in the spreadsheet. For instance, you can select a rectangular portion of the spreadsheet and call it 'myTable'. If such named ranges exist in a spreadsheet, then readtable can read that range using its name.

Example: 'Range','myTable'

Example: 'Range', 'A1:F10'

Example: 'Range', "A1:F10"

Data Types: char | string

Flag to start an instance of Microsoft Excel for Windows when reading spreadsheet data, specified as the comma-separated pair consisting of 'UseExcel' and either true, or false.

You can set the 'UseExcel' parameter to one of these values:

  • true — The importing function starts an instance of Microsoft Excel when reading the file.

  • false — The importing function does not start an instance of Microsoft Excel when reading the file. When operating in this mode, the importing function functionality differs in the support of file formats and interactive features, such as formulas and macros.

UseExcel

true

false

Supported file formats

.xls, .xlsx, .xlsm, .xltx, .xltm, .xlsb, .ods

.xls, .xlsx, .xlsm, .xltx, .xltm

Support for interactive features, such as formulas and macros

Yes

No

When reading from spreadsheet files on Windows platforms, if you want to start an instance of Microsoft Excel, then set the 'UseExcel' parameter to true.

Output Arguments

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Output table, returned as a table. The table can store metadata such as descriptions, variable units, variable names, and row names. For more information, see the Properties section of table.

Tips

  • Large files in XLSX format sometimes load slowly. For better import and export performance, Microsoft recommends that you use the XLSB format.

Compatibility Considerations

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Behavior changed in R2020a

Introduced in R2013b