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Converting spreadsheets to text files from the command line

February 5, 2013

I just discovered a great command line tool called unoconv, which converts among any kind of document that libreoffice can understand (e.g. xls, csv, etc).

I was driven a little crazy trying to install it, so I’m writing down the steps that worked on my system:
1. Download and install libreoffice (NOT openoffice, which gave me headaches).
2. Download unoconv.
3. In the downloaded unoconv folder, find the unoconv file and put it in /usr/bin/

Here’s how you use it. Say you want to convert a spreadsheet called file.xlsx to a comma separated file (csv). Then from the command line do:

unoconv -f csv file.xlsx

Important: make sure libreoffice is not running.

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