Which Type of Data Can Be Accessed Using Excel’s WEBSERVICE Function?


Scott Campbell

In today’s digital age, Excel has become an indispensable tool for data analysis and manipulation. One of the lesser-known but incredibly powerful features in Excel is the WEBSERVICE function. This function allows you to retrieve data from web services directly into your Excel spreadsheets, opening up a whole new world of possibilities for data integration and automation.

What is the WEBSERVICE function?

The WEBSERVICE function in Excel is a dynamic array function that enables you to fetch data from web services using their Uniform Resource Locator (URL). It sends an HTTP request to the specified URL and returns the response as a text string.

Accessing Different Types of Data with WEBSERVICE Function

1. Text Data:

If the web service you are accessing returns plain text, you can use the WEBSERVICE function to retrieve it directly into a cell. For example, if you have a URL that points to a weather API, you can use this function to fetch the current temperature or weather conditions.


2. XML Data:

The WEBSERVICE function can also handle XML data returned by web services.

XML is a widely used format for structured data exchange on the web. You can parse and extract specific information from XML using Excel’s built-in functions like XPath.

=FILTERXML(WEBSERVICE("https://api.example.com/data.xml"), "//tagname")

Note: Replace “tagname” with the actual name of the XML tag you want to extract.

3. JSON Data:

JSON (JavaScript Object Notation) is another popular data format used by many web services. Excel doesn’t have built-in functions to handle JSON, but you can use third-party add-ins or custom VBA code to parse and extract data from JSON responses obtained through the WEBSERVICE function.

=JSON.VALUE(WEBSERVICE("https://api.json"), "key")

Note: Replace “key” with the actual name of the JSON key you want to extract.

Tips for Using the WEBSERVICE Function

  • Ensure that you have a stable internet connection while using the WEBSERVICE function.
  • Consider using error handling techniques like IFERROR or ISERROR to handle potential errors when fetching data from web services.
  • If the fetched data is not updating automatically, check if automatic calculation is enabled in Excel’s options.
  • If a web service requires authentication (e.g., API key or token), you may need to include it in the URL or use additional functions like AUTHENTICATION.GETTOKEN.

In Conclusion

The WEBSERVICE function in Excel allows you to access various types of data from web services. Whether it’s retrieving plain text, parsing XML, or extracting JSON data, this powerful function opens up endless possibilities for integrating external data into your spreadsheets. With a little creativity and understanding of different data formats, you can leverage the full potential of this function and take your Excel skills to new heights!

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