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Excel Import Export Add-On

Export and import topics to/from an Excel sheet


This add-on extends the functionality of TWiki to ex- and import topics with forms to Excel. The export is currently limited to topics with a form, however the import can be done even to topics without any attached form. Best is to look at this example page: TWiki:Sandbox.IssueExcelExportImport


To export topics a table needs to be defined which and how the topics are exported. A couple of additional settings need to be configured such as which topics are exported.


  • The Excel file is attached to a topic
  • Only the data on the first sheet is considered for importing
  • The first row contains the column headers. They must exactly match with the names of the form fields. At the current stage this is not checked against the form definition.
  • Two special columns exist:
    • TEXT contains the raw text of the topic, i.e. everything except the meta data
    • TOPIC contain the name of topic that will be imported.

Help Needed

I need some help to finish this add-on. I know how to write Perl code, but I am not very familar with the internals of TWiki. I would much appriciate feedback. Please review the two files topics2excel and excel2topics for these aspects:

  • Security
    • Will topics2excel allow users to read a topic to which they should not have access? If yes, how can I avoid this?
    • Will excel2topics overwrite topics it should not have write access to? How to avoid?
  • Functionality
    • The criteria to select the topics for export is limited. How can this improved? Ideally I would like to use the same syntax as the %SEARCH{}% TWikiVariables
    • Is this add-on useful to anyone?
    • Which features are missing?
      • Import: Allow different parent topics. Currently all topics have the same parent
      • Export: different date/time formats for different columns
      • Export: A configurable sort order (currently sorted by topic names)
  • Compatibility
    • Is the code compatible with future or other current versions of TWiki? I developed against TWiki3 and did a quick test with TWiki4 using the VMWare image from TWiki:Codev.TWikiVMDebianStable.


  • See the attached example in Sandbox.IssueExcelExportImport

Add-On Installation Instructions

Note: You do not need to install anything on the browser to use this add-on. The following instructions are for the administrator who installs the add-on on the server where TWiki is running.

  • Download the ZIP file from the Add-on Home (see below)
  • Unzip ExcelImportExportAddOn.zip in your twiki installation directory. Content:
    File: Description:
    bin/excel2topics program to import topics
    bin/topics2excel program to export topics
    data/Sandbox/IssueExcelExportImport.txt working example
    data/Sandbox/IssueTemplate.txt Template topic for new topics
    data/Sandbox/IssueTracker.txt List of all topics and to create a new topic
    data/Sandbox/IssueTracking.txt Main page
    data/Sandbox/IssueTrackingForm.txt Form for the example
    data/Sandbox/IssueUserHasNoClueHowToUseTheSystem1.txt Example topic with form data
    data/Sandbox/IssueTheBarProblem2.txt Example topic with form data
    data/Sandbox/IssueKeyboardChairError3.txt Example topic with form data
    data/Sandbox/IssueUserCanNotFindTheOnButton4.txt Example topic with form data
    data/TWiki/ExcelImportExportAddOn.txt Add-on topic
    data/TWiki/ExcelImportExportAddOn.txt,v Add-on topic repository
    bin/foobar Add-on script
  • Add the IssueTrackingForm to the forms for the Sandbox web in WebPreferences
  • Test if the installation was successful:
  • Go to IssueExcelExportImport and carry out the steps in this topic

Add-On Info

  • Set SHORTDESCRIPTION = Export and import topics to/from an Excel sheet

Add-on Author: TWiki:Main/ClausLanghans
Add-on Version: 13 Aug 2006 (v1.000)
Change History:  
13 Aug 2006: Initial version
CPAN Dependencies: Spreadsheet::ParseExcel, Spreadsheet::WriteExcel
Other Dependencies: none
Perl Version: 5.005
License: GPL
Add-on Home: http://TWiki.org/cgi-bin/view/Plugins/ExcelImportExportAddOn
Feedback: http://TWiki.org/cgi-bin/view/Plugins/ExcelImportExportAddOnDev
Appraisal: http://TWiki.org/cgi-bin/view/Plugins/ExcelImportExportAddOnAppraisal

Related Topic: TWikiAddOns

-- TWiki:Main/ClausLanghans - 13 Aug 2006

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Topic revision: r8 - 2006-09-10 - PeterThoeny
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