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Inspired by this question: Using external tables in TikZ, I would like to know whether it is technically possible to use a xlsx (Office Open XML) file directly with luaLaTeX, i.e. can luaLaTeX call some external unzip program and then parse the extracted XML file? Or is that pushing the envelope too hard?

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up vote 9 down vote accepted

This is of course possible, as "LuaTeX is the new Mac Gyver". You can use the built-in luazip to unzip the contents of the xlsx file and then use an Lua-XML parser (see https://github.com/pgundlach/LuaTeX/tree/xmlreader for an XML enabled LuaTeX).

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You can of course create your own XML parser. LuaTeX's built in lpeg library uses grammars as an input almost exactly in the format as given by the w3c for XML. –  topskip Oct 6 '11 at 10:31

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