Excel is a powerful data visualization and analysis tool. Almost everyone knows how to use Excel’s fundamental functions. With Excel, you can easily organize your data, such as sorting, filtering, graphing and outlining. Even advanced data analysis models like pivot and regression analysis can be performed in Excel. It’s easy now to turn live data into a structured format. Here comes the problem, how to pull data from a website and turn it into Excel format? It’s tiresome to just repeat the same jobs of typing, searching, copying and pasting. There’s a smarter way to improve efficiency by automating the whole process.
This article will introduce several methods to automatically pull data from website into Excel for people without coding background.
Excel Web Queries is useful to get web data and turn it into an Excel format. It can save you from tedious and repetitive works of copy-and-paste. It can detect tables in the HTML codes of the websites automatically, and it can also be applied in cases where a standard ODBC (Open Database Connectivity) connection gets hard to create or maintain. Excel Web Queries can help you directly pull table data from websites.
Here are the simple steps you can follow (check the detailed tutorial here):
- Go to Data -> Get External Data -> From Web
- A window named “New Web Query” will pop up
- Enter the web address into the “Address” text box
- The page will load and show yellow icons against data/tables
- Click the yellow icon of arrow next to the tables you want to select
Click the “Import” button.
Then, you have the web data extracted in the Excel output format.
Using Excel VBA to Get Web Data
We’re more familiar with Excel’s built-in formula, such as AVERAGE, SUM, IF, and etc, but not many of us know how to utilize its built-in language VBA (Visual Basic for Application) which is known as “Macros”. This kind of Excel files is saved as ” .xlsm” format.
If you want to use VBA in Excel, you need to enable the tab of “Developer” first in the ribbon. Here is the path: right-click File -> Customize Ribbon -> check Developer tab. Then, you can set up your layout. Under the “Developer” interface, you can write VBA codes to different events. Getting started with VBA in Excel 2010 by going through this tutorial.
It requires you to have some technical background to use VBA, so it could be not practical for users who have no coding background. Excel VBA works by running macros and Excel Visual Basic’s step-by-step procedures. We need to build or get some VBA scripts first and then send requests to websites so that we can get web data extracted in return. VBA is also used commonly together with XMLHTTP and regular expressions to pull web data. For Windows users, you can use VBA with WinHTTP or InternetExplorer to pull web data to Excel output.
Be patient and practice more. Then, you will find Excel VBA a useful tool that worths you investing time and efforts on it. With some knowledge about VBA codes and HTML basics, you will make your data extraction experience much easier and more efficient than before. There’re lots of resources available on the Internet for you to learn how to use VBA to pull data. If you’re interested, you can start now!
Automated Data Extraction Tools
Automated data extraction tools, such as Octoparse, are also good options for those who have no knowledge about VBA codes and want to pull web data to Excel directly. With a data extraction tool, you can pull data easily from websites and export the data output to Excel format directly or via API. Most importantly, you don’t need to be proficient in programming languages. It’s perfect for users who have no coding background. You can start with any of them immediately to pull the data you need. Different data extraction tools have their own advantages and drawbacks. We have an article listing the TOP 30 free data extraction tools.
Among all the tools in the market, Octoparse stands out as the best data extraction software that can pull data from any website to excel efficiently. It can be installed on Windows and Mac OS systems. Anyone can use its prebuilt web scraping templates to pull web data in one click, or build a web crawler from scratch within minutes. You can check out the video below to get a quick video of how it works.
Outsource Your Data Extraction Project
Outsourcing the complex data extraction project to an expert team can also be a wise option to save your time and pay attention to your core business. Data extraction is not an easy job. Apart from the learning curve, you may also notice that many websites apply more strict anti-scraping techniques than before to avoid being extracted. In this case, an expert team in the data extraction field can make the work easier for you. You just need to wait for the expected data delivered to you on time.
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