One of the features that I really enjoy is the ability to easily transform an Excel file into a web app in Oracle APEX. The process is quick and painless. Depending on the size of the Excel file, you can generate and deploy a production-ready web app in literally minutes.

Using Excel files is great and all but the downside to it is that everybody has their own version of data. To recompile it into a single point of truth is tedious and the end result might be littered with errors and mistakes. Worse it could lead to bad decisions being made due to the bad data being distributed.

In this article, I would like to share a guide on how to create a simple web app from an Excel file which then you can share out with your colleagues so that they will be able to update or upload new data there.

If you want to try it out on your local machine first, here’s an easy guide to setup Oracle APEX 20.2 and ORDS in Windows 10.

Transform an Excel file into a web app in Oracle APEX

For today’s article, I am going to start off by creating a simple web app to list all the computers that I manage in my organization and of course the information shown below this point are dummy data.

You will first need to create an Oracle APEX workspace. Once that is done, log in to your workspace and click on the App Builder located under the APEX menu bar, and then click on Create a New App.

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Oracle APEX 20.2 – Create web app.

Then on the Create an Application page, select the ‘From a File‘ button.

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Oracle APEX – Create application source selections.

To transform an Excel file into a web app in Oracle APEX, either click on the ‘Choose File’ button and selecting your file from your specified location or just drag and drop it into the designated area. APEX accepts Excel files in .xlsx and .csv formats. It also accepts other extensions such as .txt, .xml and .json.

Or if you are the copy & paste type, you can select the ‘Copy & Paste‘ section as shown below and choose the data that you need from your .csv file. I will be using the ‘Upload a File‘ section for this article.

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Oracle APEX 20.2 – Copy & Paste section to upload data.

The following step is to name your table. I have given the Table Name ‘COMPUTERS’ as I will want to create a web app to track those items in my organization.

Then select the columns that you want to upload. If your Excel workbook has multiple sheets, do ensure that you are uploading data from the correct sheet. You can preview your data prior to uploading to confirm your selections. If all looks good click on the ‘Load Data‘ button.

oracle-apex-load-data-settings
Oracle APEX – Load Data settings.

Uploading data is fairly fast. Since I only have 153 computers, uploading that is almost instant. Your mileage may vary depending on how much you are uploading. Once the process finishes, APEX will show a green check mark and you can proceed to click on the ‘Create Application‘ button to continue building up your web app.

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Oracle APEX – Load data complete.

Now here are the final settings that you need to do to transform an Excel file into a web app in Oracle APEX.

Provide a name for your web application and select an appearance template that you prefer. You can also create your own custom templates but that is a story for another article.

web-app-name-appearance
Web app name and appearance.

As you can see, Oracle APEX has helped to create pages automatically using the information that we have recently uploaded. You can either accept, delete, edit or add more pages according to your specifications. Furthermore, you can add useful features by marking the checkboxes as shown below:

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Web app pages and features selections.

I usually leave the pages as it is and make the features available. It can always be edited and updated later on if there is a need to perform it. As for the ‘Settings‘ located further below, you can use the defaults selected for now. Once you are happy with the selections, do click on the green ‘Create Application‘ button.

Give it a minute to generate those pages and once it completes, you will be brought to your application and see the pages and features that has been automatically generated by Oracle APEX. Over here you can fine-tune your new web app that was generated from your Excel file.

But if you can’t wait to see your new web app, then just click on the ‘Run Application‘ button.

oracle-apex-run-web-app
Oracle APEX – Run Application.

A new tab will open and you can log in to the new web app by using the same credentials that you used when logging into your Oracle APEX workspace. Below would be a dashboard with pages that were automatically suggested by the low code tool.

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New web app dashboard.

If you open those pages, you can already view and start to manipulate the uploaded data directly on the new web app. Generate reports, graphs, editing your data, and many more. All of these in just mere minutes.

Conclusion on how to transform an Excel file into a web app in Oracle APEX

To transform an Excel file into a web app in Oracle APEX is quick and easy. I managed to generate the above web app with access control features and many others in less than 5 minutes. Talk above efficiency and simplicity. Even non-IT persons should be able to create their own web apps using Oracle APEX after some training.

This can be very helpful for teams as they are now able to view information from a single source of truth. It as well helps them to acquire better data integrity and transparency. Not forgetting to mention that better data leads to better decisions too.

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