Microsoft Excel is extremely popular spreadsheet ideal for visual representation of the data and various manipulations over it. Also, many companies store operational data like sales records and clients contacts in MS Excel spreadsheets. However, large volume of the data demands for more powerful and reliable storage like relational database management system.

Choosing the target DBMS, it is important to realize primary advantages of new system compared with Microsoft Excel. Most of advanced databases provide powerful features to store, manage, protect and share the data. However, if organization does not plan to increase cost of ownership for new system, only free database management systems like MySQL or PostgreSQL should be considered. PostgreSQL is more sophisticated than MySQL and consequently requires more time to learn it and more resources for development. If an organization does not have qualified stuff and has no plans to deploy complicated corporate-scale data warehouse, they should choose MySQL as the most suitable target of migration from Microsoft Excel.

Strategies of MS Excel to MySQL Migration

The most straight forward approach to migrate data from MS Excel to MySQL server is based on extract-transform-load technique. First, Microsoft Excel data must be exported to plain text or CSV. Then it is required to create empty MySQL table with structure complied to the exported data. Finally, import data from intermediate plain text or CSV files to MySQL tables using “LOAD DATA” command.

This approach is fine for experienced programmers or database administrators while other users may face some issues with it. All data types must be specified properly in manually created MySQL tables, otherwise the conversion procedure may cause data loss or corruption.

Data Migration Tools

The simplest approach to MS Excel to MySQL migration is to use special software than can automate the entire procedure with just a few mouse clicks. One of such tools is Excel to MySQL converter developed by Intelligent Converters software company. It has easy-to-use interface and provides enough capabilities for efficient migration of large and complicated Microsoft Excel spreadsheets. The product does all necessary transformations to guaranty the most accurate result, supports Unicode and can export data into MySQL script file for those cases when direct connection to MySQL server is not available.

Intelligent Types Conversion

Microsoft Excel has just a few data types, much less than MySQL. For example, it does not have distinguished types INTEGER and DOUBLE. All MS Excel numbers are converted into MySQL DOUBLE in order to avoid data loss. However, that approach may generate inaccurate result for particular data. To resolve this issue, Excel to MySQL converter analyzes each value in every column during migration. If all values allow more precise type conversion (for example INTEGER instead of DOUBLE), the program refines the column type.

For example, consider MS Excel worksheet having such values in particular column:




MS Excel to MySQL converter initially converts this data into DOUBLE type. Later the program recognizes that all values are integers and changes column type properly.


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