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Thu, Mar 02, 2017 9:52 pm

Extracting embedded documents from an Excel .xlsm file

I often receive Microsoft Excel files that have documents created by other Microsoft applications embedded within them. E.g., at the top of a worksheet I may see something like =EMBED("Visio.Drawing.11","").

EMBED Visio.Drawing

Sometimes I want to extract the embedded file. With a Microsoft Excel .xlsm file that is easy to do, because XLSM is a zipped, XML-based file format. To extract embedded documents, such as Visio drawings or PowerPoint presentations, I make a copy of the .xlsm file then rename the copy's extension from .xlsm to .zip. I can then extract the contents of the zip file. Within the directory that holds the extracted files, there will be a xl directory. Within that directory there is a media directory and within the media directory there is an embeddings directory that holds the embedded files, such as the Visio drawings in the example below.

$ ls ~/Documents/Work/CRQ/843940/unzipped
[Content_Types].xml	customXml		xl
_rels			docProps
$ ls ~/Documents/Work/CRQ/843940/test/xl
_rels			comments19.xml		comments9.xml
calcChain.xml		comments2.xml		ctrlProps
charts			comments20.xml		drawings
comments1.xml		comments21.xml		embeddings
comments10.xml		comments22.xml		media
comments11.xml		comments23.xml		printerSettings
comments12.xml		comments24.xml		sharedStrings.xml
comments13.xml		comments3.xml		styles.xml
comments14.xml		comments4.xml		theme
comments15.xml		comments5.xml		vbaProject.bin
comments16.xml		comments6.xml		workbook.xml
comments17.xml		comments7.xml		worksheets
comments18.xml		comments8.xml
$ ls ~/Documents/Work/CRQ/843940/unzipped/xl/media
image1.png	image2.jpeg	image4.emf	image6.emf	image8.emf
image10.emf	image3.emf	image5.emf	image7.emf	image9.png
$ ls ~/Documents/Work/CRQ/843940/unzipped/xl/embeddings

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