Creek is a Ruby gem that provides a fast, simple and efficient method of parsing large Excel (xlsx and xlsm) files.

Monthly Downloads: 312,921
Programming language: Ruby
License: MIT License

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Creek - Stream parser for large Excel (xlsx and xlsm) files.

Creek is a Ruby gem that provides a fast, simple and efficient method of parsing large Excel (xlsx and xlsm) files.


Creek can be used from the command line or as part of a Ruby web framework. To install the gem using terminal, run the following command:

gem install creek

To use it in Rails, add this line to your Gemfile:

gem 'creek'

Basic Usage

Creek can simply parse an Excel file by looping through the rows enumerator:

require 'creek'
creek = Creek::Book.new 'spec/fixtures/sample.xlsx'
sheet = creek.sheets[0]

sheet.rows.each do |row|
  puts row # => {"A1"=>"Content 1", "B1"=>nil, "C1"=>nil, "D1"=>"Content 3"}

sheet.simple_rows.each do |row|
  puts row # => {"A"=>"Content 1", "B"=>nil, "C"=>nil, "D"=>"Content 3"}

sheet.rows_with_meta_data.each do |row|
  puts row # => {"collapsed"=>"false", "customFormat"=>"false", "customHeight"=>"true", "hidden"=>"false", "ht"=>"12.1", "outlineLevel"=>"0", "r"=>"1", "cells"=>{"A1"=>"Content 1", "B1"=>nil, "C1"=>nil, "D1"=>"Content 3"}}

sheet.simple_rows_with_meta_data.each do |row|
  puts row # => {"collapsed"=>"false", "customFormat"=>"false", "customHeight"=>"true", "hidden"=>"false", "ht"=>"12.1", "outlineLevel"=>"0", "r"=>"1", "cells"=>{"A"=>"Content 1", "B"=>nil, "C"=>nil, "D"=>"Content 3"}}

sheet.state   # => 'visible'
sheet.name    # => 'Sheet1'
sheet.rid     # => 'rId2'

Filename considerations

By default, Creek will ensure that the file extension is either *.xlsx or *.xlsm, but this check can be circumvented as needed:

path = 'sample-as-zip.zip'
Creek::Book.new path, :check_file_extension => false

By default, the Rails file_field_tag uploads to a temporary location and stores the original filename with the StringIO object. (See this section of the Rails Guides for more information.)

Creek can parse this directly without the need for file upload gems such as Carrierwave or Paperclip by passing the original filename as an option:

# Import endpoint in Rails controller
def import
  file = params[:file]
  Creek::Book.new file.path, check_file_extension: false

Parsing images

Creek does not parse images by default. If you want to parse the images, use with_images method before iterating over rows to preload images information. If you don't call this method, Creek will not return images anywhere.

Cells with images will be an array of Pathname objects. If an image is spread across multiple cells, same Pathname object will be returned for each cell.

sheet.with_images.rows.each do |row|
  puts row # => {"A1"=>[#<Pathname:/var/folders/ck/l64nmm3d4k75pvxr03ndk1tm0000gn/T/creek__drawing20161101-53599-274q0vimage1.jpeg>], "B2"=>"Fluffy"}

Images for a specific cell can be obtained with images_at method:

puts sheet.images_at('A1') # => [#<Pathname:/var/folders/ck/l64nmm3d4k75pvxr03ndk1tm0000gn/T/creek__drawing20161101-53599-274q0vimage1.jpeg>]

# no images in a cell
puts sheet.images_at('C1') # => nil

Creek will most likely return nil for a cell with images if there is no other text cell in that row - you can use images_at method for retrieving images in that cell.

Remote files

remote_url = 'http://dev-builds.libreoffice.org/tmp/test.xlsx'
Creek::Book.new remote_url, remote: true

Mapping cells with header names

By default, Creek will map cell names with letter and number(A1, B3 and etc). To be able to get cell values by header column name use with_headers (can be used only with #simple_rows method!!!) during creation (Note: header column is first string of sheet)

creek = Creek::Book.new file.path, with_headers: true


Contributions are welcomed. You can fork a repository, add your code changes to the forked branch, ensure all existing unit tests pass, create new unit tests which cover your new changes and finally create a pull request.

After forking and then cloning the repository locally, install the Bundler and then use it to install the development gem dependencies:

gem install bundler
bundle install

Once this is complete, you should be able to run the test suite:


There are some remote tests that are excluded by default. To run those, run

bundle exec rspec --tag remote

Bug Reporting

Please use the Issues page to report bugs or suggest new enhancements.


Creek has been published under MIT License

*Note that all licence references and agreements mentioned in the Creek README section above are relevant to that project's source code only.