Reading all values as a string from excel file

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Sarah R
Sarah R on 24 Jan 2022
Commented: _ on 24 Jan 2022
I have an excel file that includes, strings, numbers and time in the format "01:59.00"
When I use xlsread in Matlab to read in the sheet I am currently using [~, ~, alldata] = xlsread... however, my time variables are getting converted to decimals.
Is there any way I am able to keep the time variable or even read it as a string?
Thank you in advance
  1 Comment
Stephen23 on 24 Jan 2022
"my time variables are getting converted to decimals."
Nothing is "getting converted", in fact Excel stores dates as serial date numbers:
Ultimately all data stored on an Excel worksheet are either text or numeric: dates are numeric, so XLSREAD is giving you the actual data saved in the workbook. Formatting in Excel that interprets that serial date number and displays it in particular ways is purely an artifact of your OS's locale settings or the cell formatting.

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Answers (3)

VBBV on 24 Jan 2022
Use readtable or readmatrix instead of xlsread

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_ on 24 Jan 2022
Maybe you can just convert the decimal times to datetimes using the datetime() function, after reading them in.
ans = 7.3855e+05
ans = datetime
24-Jan-2022 01:24:14

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Stephen23 on 24 Jan 2022
In Excel dates are stored as serial date numbers, so what you are getting is the raw data.
The best solution is to use READMATRIX or READCELL which will (either automagically or with some hints from you) import Excel's serial date numbers as DATETIME objects.
The next option, if you insist on using outdated XLSREAD, is to do that conversion yourself. There are many threads on this forum showing how, the simplest approach is to use DATETIME which has this conversion built in:
N = 39448.25 % Excel serial date number
N = 3.9448e+04
D = datetime(N,'convertFrom','excel')
D = datetime
01-Jan-2008 06:00:00




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