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I know that it's possible to import Excel data into Mathematica using the Import command, as we can see in this post. But some times, I need just to do some fast calculation and It would be very nice if I could achieve It using clipboard, using something as simple as CTRL+C/CTRL+V. How could I perform that?

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This is also quite convenient: On OS X I had to paste to a plain text editor first to strip formatting, but if my memory serves me well, it works well (without needing such steps) on Windows – Szabolcs Nov 15 '12 at 16:08
Nice link @Szabolcs. It's nice because makes the excel macro unnecessary, so I can remove this part. But you know how can we make this "clean step" using Mathematica? – Murta Nov 15 '12 at 20:23
My Mathematica is on Mac and my Excel on Windows (in the same machine, using Parallels). – Murta Nov 15 '12 at 20:27
Sorry I just saw that in your answer. I wouldn't be familiar with that combination, but could you try it in Windows only? I'm curious if it works there without the cleaning. I think it should. The Windows clipboard can store data in multiple formats simultaneously. – Szabolcs Nov 15 '12 at 20:28
Yes! In both case they work (Mathematica Windows and Mac), but you have to make the "plain text" intermediate step. I think that if you solve it for Windows (remove this step using Mathematica), you solve it for mac too. – Murta Nov 15 '12 at 20:32
up vote 11 down vote accepted

You can easily implement it in two steps.

  1. You create an Excel macro in your personal.xlsb that you can use to execute some keybord shortcut to copy your selected data. I use CTRL+SHIFT+C.
  2. Second you can create a Mathematica function to import this clipboard data (optional, but very usefull)

More information on how to handle your personal.xlsb here

How to implement it!

Below we have the Excel macro to copy to clipboard the selected Excel range using Mathematica format:

Private Sub Excel_To_Mathematica()

    'Program by:  Dana DeLouis  (Microsoft Excel MVP)
    'Modified by: Rodrigo Murta (Mathematica Addicted)
    'Changes by Murta:
    '   Usable for "," as decimal separator
    '   Eliminate bug for big and small Numbers
    '   Elminate Transpose line number limitations

      Dim ClipBoard As New DataObject

      Dim Nr As Long    '# of Rows
      Dim Nc As Long    '# of Columns
      Dim r As Long     ' Row Pointer
      Dim C As Long     ' Column Pointer
      Dim T()           'Temporary Storage
      Dim Tc()          'Temporary Storage
      Dim v As Variant  'Holds the data from Worksheet

      Dim s As String
      Dim ButtonClicked As Long
      Const DQ As String = """" 'Double Quotes: 4 of them!
      Dim transp                'Temp Array for Transpose Case

      Application.ScreenUpdating = False

    '// A little error checking first...
      If TypeName(selection) <> "Range" Then
          MsgBox "Select a Range first"
          Exit Sub
      End If

      If selection.Areas.Count > 1 Then
          MsgBox "Select only 1 area.  Macro will Exit"
          Exit Sub
      End If

    '// Load data into an Array
      If selection.Cells.Count = 1 Then
          ReDim v(1 To 1, 1 To 1)
          v(1, 1) = selection
          v = selection
      End If

    '// Get number of Rows & Columns
      Nr = UBound(v, 1)
      Nc = UBound(v, 2)

      If Nc = 1 And Nr > 1 Then
          ButtonClicked = MsgBox("Transform Vectors in Columns?", vbYesNo)
      End If

        '// Put quotes around text
          For r = 1 To Nr
              For C = 1 To Nc
                  If IsNumeric(v(r, C)) Then
                    v(r, C) = Replace(Replace(Format(v(r, C), "@"), ",", "."), "@", "")
                    v(r, C) = Replace(v(r, C), "E", "*10^")
                    v(r, C) = DQ & v(r, C) & DQ
                  End If
              Next C
          Next r

          If ButtonClicked = vbYes Then

              ReDim tempArray(1 To Nr)
              For i = 1 To Nr
                tempArray(i) = v(i, 1)

              v = tempArray

              s = "{" & Join(v, ",") & "}"
              ReDim T(1 To Nr)
              ReDim Tc(1 To Nc)
              For r = 1 To Nr
                    For C = 1 To Nc
                        Tc(C) = v(r, C)

                    T(r) = "{" & Join(Tc(), ",") & "}"
              s = Join(T, ",")
              If Nr > 1 Then s = "{" & s & "}"
          End If

      ClipBoard.SetText s
      Application.ScreenUpdating = True
      'Application.StatusBar = "data copied"
      'Application.StatusBar = False

    End Sub

    Private Function TransposeDim(v As Variant) As Variant
    ' Custom Function to Transpose a 1-based array (v)

        Dim x As Long, y As Long, Xupper As Long, Yupper As Long
        Dim tempArray()

        Xupper = UBound(v, 2)
        Yupper = UBound(v, 1)

        ReDim tempArray(1 To Xupper, 1 To Yupper)

        For x = 1 To Xupper
            For y = 1 To Yupper
                tempArray(x, y) = v(y, x)
            Next y
        Next x

        TransposeDim = tempArray

    End Function

If you want, you can create the Excel shortcut using this command in your ThisWorkbook object of you personal.xlsb file:

Private Sub Workbook_Open()

    Application.OnKey "^+c", "Excel_To_Mathematica" 'ctrl + shift + c

End Sub

Using the above macros, you are ok to past your data into Mathematica using CTRL+V, but some times, you have a big list, and you would like to make some variable to receive this information directly. So I use this Mathematica function my start up pack.

  getClipboardData[]:=  NotebookGet[ClipboardNotebook[]][[1, 1, 1]] // ToExpression

So, instead of CTRL+V my Excel data, I can write:

data = getClipboardData[]

I tested it 1M Excel lines without problems (that is the excel limit in 2010). I use Mathematica on Mac and Excel on Windows (using Parallels).


The code still works with Excel 2013

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Great answer, but the link for "More information on how to handle your personal.xlsb" is broken. – Gustavo Delfino Aug 8 '14 at 15:31
I think the VBA script is not compatible with Excel 2007. The line "Dim ClipBoard As New DataObject" generates this error: "User-defined type not defined". Any ideas? – Gustavo Delfino Aug 8 '14 at 16:11
You can try this. Let me know if it helps. – Murta Aug 9 '14 at 1:14
Yes it works now. Thank you. I had to add the "Microsoft Forms 2.0 Object Library" but it was not in the list so I had to click "Browse" and select "C:\Windows\System32\FM20.DLL" on my Win7 machine. – Gustavo Delfino Aug 11 '14 at 7:38
@William I have just done this again on a different Windows 97 PC, and the C:\Windows\System32\FM20.DL file was already there. Maybe the solution is different for Excel 16. I am stuck with Excel 2007. – Gustavo Delfino Mar 22 at 19:29

A very simple way to import tables of integers is like this:
add a few columns in Excel containing the separators "{", "," and "}," in between your columns of integers:

enter image description here

then paste in your workbook, and add a leading "{" and a trailing "}" and ... done.
(mind the superfluous comma at the end). Works in version 10.

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