An example DRF project on how to upload and process excel files using openpyxl


The requirements.txt/environment.yml lists all Python moduls required. In short:

  • Python 3.10
    • Django==4.0.3
    • djangorestframework==3.13.1
    • openpyxl==3.0.9

Note: Project was created under Windows. Installing from requirements.txt under Linux might fail due to possible differences in module versions/version naming

Install from source

Clone repository or download as zip. Optional: create a virtualenv / conda env to use an isolated Python environment

Install using pip:

pip install -r requirements.txt

Install using conda:

conda env create -f environment.yml
conda activate drf_excel_processing


  1. Make sure your environment is activated
  2. Run the Django development server from the “excel_project” folder using:
python .\manage.py runserver
  1. open your browser and navigate to:
  2. Use the provided example_excel_sheet.xlsx for upload and processing
  3. Use “Raw data” to post columns in the Summary view since DRF does not provide a lists component in the HTML form


  • this is just an example project that would need some modifications for production use
  • this project uses the DRF Browsable API accessible via browser at to allow for easier API discoverability
  • authentication and authorization was disabled/skipped for ease of use
  • as stated in https://docs.djangoproject.com/en/4.0/howto/static-files/ – the way static files are served in this project is not suitable for production use. Follow https://docs.djangoproject.com/en/4.0/howto/static-files/deployment/ in order to serve static files in production.
  • the summary endpoint can be accessed either via the summary URL, or via the “Extra Actions” dropdown in a detail view
  • since it was just required to create a summary of the provided Excel file, this could have been solved by just implementing one endpoint – however the current approach seems “nicer” overall and allows for easier extensibility
  • the current create_summary method assumes that the column names can be found in the first row of the first available sheet


  • Compatible/Parsable Excel file/sheet structure should be better defined:

    • What is a column name e.g. column header (A, B, C, AA, AB etc.) or some cell that contains that name as a value
    • Where is a column located e.g. first row or arbitrary location (add parameter with information about the specific row where the column headers can be found)
    • Are duplicated column names allowed? If so, how should they be handled?
    • Excel files use different sheets (tabs at the bottom of the screen) – add parameter to enable sheet selection (via name or index)
    • It might be sensible to also include information about the numbers type, e.g. currency (if any)
  • Parse Excel file during initial post to extract columns which could be provided as a general model field and a “MultipleChoiceField” in the summary endpoint

  • Better Error handling:

    • ensure loaded file is in fact an Excel file (file extensions do not mean a thing…)
    • return information why data for a specific column was not returned e.g. column not found, TypeError (cannot calculate sum/avg for strings), empty file etc.
  • write tests (especially for openpyxl, since I do not a lot of experience with this specific module)

  • add comments where needed


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