Sheet geometry

• range is a new argument for reading a rectangular range, possibly open. (#314, #8)

• n_max is a new argument that limits the number of data rows read. (#306, #281)

• Empty cells, rows, columns (xlsx #248 and #240, xls #271): Cells with no content are no longer loaded, even if they appear in the file. Affects cells that have no data but that carry explicit formatting, detectable in Excel as seemingly empty cells with a format other than “General”. Such cells may still exist in the returned tibble, with value NA, depending on the sheet geometry.

• Eliminates a source of trailing rows (#203) and columns (#236, #162, #146) consisting entirely of NA.
• Eliminates a subtle source of disagreement between user-provided column names and guessed column types (#169, #81).
• Embedded empty columns are no longer automatically dropped, regardless of whether there is a column name. (#157, #261)
• Worksheets that are completely empty or that contain only column names no longer error, but return a tibble with zero rows. (#222, #144, #65)
• Improved handling of leading and embedded blank rows and explicit row skipping. (#224, #194, #178, #156, #101)
• User-supplied col_names are processed relative to user-supplied col_types, if given. Specifically, col_names is considered valid if it has the same length as col_types, before or after removing skipped columns. (#81, #261)

Column types and coercion

• "list" is a new accepted value for col_types. Loads data as a list of length-1 vectors, that are typed using the logic from col_types = NULL, but on a cell-by-cell basis (#262 @gergness).

• "logical" is a new accepted value for col_types. When col_types = NULL, it is the guessed type for cells Excel advertises as Boolean. When a column has no data, it is now filled with logical NA. (#277, #270)

• "guess" is a new accepted value for col_types. Allows the user to specify some column types, while allowing others to be guessed (#286)

• A user-specified col_types of length one will be replicated to have length equal to the number of columns. (#127, #114, #261)

• "blank" has been deprecated in favor of the more descriptive and readr-compatible "skip", which is now the preferred way to request that a column be skipped. (#260, #193, #261)

• guess_max is a new argument that lets user adjust the number of rows used to guess column types. (#223, #257 @tklebel and @jennybc)

• trim_ws is a new argument to remove leading and trailing whitespace. It defaults to TRUE. (#326, #211)

• na can now hold multiple NA values, e.g., read_excel("missing-values.xls", na = c("NA", "1")). (#13, #56, @jmarshallnz)

• Coercions and cell data:

• Numeric data that appears in a date column is coerced to a date. Throws a warning. (#277, #266)
• Dates that appear in a numeric column are converted to NA instead of their integer representation. Throws warning. (#277, #263)
• “Number stored as text”: when a text cell is found in a numeric column, read_excel() attempts to coerce the string to numeric and falls back to NA if unsuccessful. Throws warning. (#277, #217, #106)
• Cells in error are treated as blank and are imported as NA (instead of the string "error"). (#277, #62)
• BoolErr cells are now handled in xls. Suppresses message "Unknown type: 517". (#274, #259)
• Dates that arise from a formula are treated as dates (vs. numeric) in xls. (#277)
• Dates in .xlsx files saved with LibreOffice are now recognized as such. (#134, @zeehio)

Compatibility

Many 3rd party tools write xls and xlsx that comply with the spec, but that are quite different from files produced by Excel.

• Namespace prefixes are now stripped from element names and attributes when parsing XML from xlsx. Workaround for the creative approach taken in some other s/w, coupled with rapidxml’s lack of namespace support. (#295, #268, #202, #80)

• Excel mixes 0- and 1-indexing in reported row and column dimensions for xls and libxls expects that. Other s/w may index from 0 for both, preventing libxls from reading the last column. Patched to restore access to those cells. (#273, #180, #152, #99)

• More robust logic for sheet lookup in xlsx. Improves compatibility with xlsx written by a variety of tools and/or xlsx containing chartsheets. (#233, #104, #200, #168, #116, @jimhester and @jennybc)

• The numFmtId attribute is no longer accessed when it does not exist (xlsx written by http://epplus.codeplex.com). (#191, #229)

• Location is inferred for cells that do not declare their location (xlsx written by JMP). (#240, #163, #102)

Other

• read_xls() and read_xlsx() are now exposed, such that files without an .xls or .xlsx extension can be read. (#85, @jirkalewandowski)

• The Lotus 1-2-3 leap year bug is now accounted for, i.e. date-times prior to March 1, 1900 import correctly. Date-times on the non-existent leap day February 29, 1900 import as NA and throw a warning. (#264, #148, #292)

• The tibble package is now imported (#175, @krlmlr) and tibble::repair_names() is used to prevent empty, NA, or duplicated column names. (#216, #208, #199 #182, #53, #247).

• Unwanted printed output (e.g., DEFINEDNAME: 21 00 00 ...) is suppressed when reading xls that contains a defined range. (#82, #188, @PedramNavid)
• Add support for correctly reading strings in .xlsx files containing escaped unicode characters (e.g. _x005F_). (#51, @jmarshallnz)