How to Download an Excel File from the Web Using Python

Friendly Introduction

Are you ready to conquer the challenge of downloading Excel files from the web using Python? Fear not, as we embark on this journey together. It may seem daunting at first, but with our guidance, you’ll soon be adept at fetching Excel files effortlessly.

What You’ll Learn

In this tutorial, you will learn how to efficiently download Excel files from the internet using Python. This skill is invaluable for automating data collection and analysis tasks, saving you time and effort in your data-related projects.

Diving Into the Problem and Our Approach

Many websites host valuable data in Excel formats, making it essential for analysts and data scientists to automate the download process. Our solution involves leveraging two powerful libraries: requests for handling HTTP requests and either openpyxl or pandas for working with Excel files directly within Python.

  1. We use requests to fetch the file from a specified URL.
  2. Depending on your requirements, we either save the file directly or load it into Python for further processing.


import requests

# URL of the Excel file you want to download
url = ''

# Send a GET request to the URL
response = requests.get(url)

# Check if the request was successful (status code 200)
if response.status_code == 200:
    # Open file in binary write mode and save content to it
    with open("downloaded_file.xlsx", "wb") as f:
    print("Failed to retrieve the file")

# Copyright PHD


Let’s understand each part of our solution:

  • We import requests for sending HTTP requests.
  • The url variable stores the link where our desired Excel file is located.
  • Using requests.get(url), we make a GET request to that URL.
  • A status code of 200 indicates a successful request.
  • If successful (response.status_code == 200), we create a new Excel file named “downloaded_file.xlsx” and write the received content into it.

This approach ensures you have your downloaded data ready for further analysis or processing.

  1. Can I use this method for any type of file?

  2. Yes! This method works not only for Excel files but also for PDFs, images, or any other filetype as long as you have its direct URL.

  3. Is it necessary to check response.status_code?

  4. While not strictly required, checking ensures that your script handles valid responses appropriately.

  5. What happens if I hit rate limits?

  6. Consider adding delays between requests or contacting site administrators regarding API usage policies.

  7. Can I download files behind authentication walls?

  8. Yes, but additional steps like managing login credentials via sessions might be necessary.

  9. Will these downloads affect my network performance?

  10. Downloading large or numerous files simultaneously can potentially impact network performance.


Mastering this technique expands your toolkit for accessing and manipulating online datasets efficiently across various projects. Remember to respect target servers’ guidelines while coding responsibly. Happy coding!

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