Importing Excel Into an Array With Laravel Excel

Being able to import Excel files into Laravel and working with its data in your code opens up a range of potential use cases.

The free package Laravel Excel by Maatwebsite makes working with spreadsheets very straightforward. It has many features to work with CSV and XLSX files like importing them into a database or simply into an array.

In this tutorial, we’ll build a full example Laravel application with a form to upload an Excel file (xlsx). As a demo, we will create a controller that imports the upload into an array and dumps it to the page. You could easily take this a step further and add your custom code to process the data further.

Let’s get started!

Step 1: Install Laravel

Begin by creating a new Laravel project if you haven’t done so already. Open your terminal and run:

composer create-project --prefer-dist laravel/laravel excel-to-array

Step 2: Install the Laravel Excel Package

Now let’s install the maatwebsite/laravel-excel package using Composer. Open your terminal and run the following command:

composer require maatwebsite/excel

Step 3: Create an Excel Import Class

Run the following command to instruct artisan to generate a new Import class:

php artisan make:import MoviesImport

Step 4: Add Import Class Code

Open the generated file at app/Imports/MoviesImport.php and replace its default code with:


namespace App\Imports;

use Maatwebsite\Excel\Concerns\ToArray;

class MoviesImport implements ToArray
    public function array(array $array)
        return $array;

Step 5: Create the Controller

Next, let’s create the controller that will handle the file upload and Excel import by running:

php artisan make:controller ExcelImportController

Step 6: Add Controller Code

Open the newly created file at app/Http/Controllers/ExcelImportController.php and add the following code:


namespace App\Http\Controllers;

use App\Imports\MoviesImport;
use Illuminate\Http\Request;
use Maatwebsite\Excel\Facades\Excel;

class ExcelImportController extends Controller
    // Displays the file upload form.
    public function showUploadForm()
        return view('upload');

    // Handles the file upload and Excel import.
    public function import(Request $request)
        // Ensure that the 'file' field is present, is a file and is either in xlsx or xls format
            'file' => 'required|file|mimes:xlsx,xls',

        $file = $request->file('file');
        $array = Excel::toArray(new MoviesImport, $file);


Step 7: Create a View With File Upload Form

Let’s create a view file to display the file upload form. Create a new file named upload.blade.php in the resources/views directory and add the following code:

<!DOCTYPE html>
<html lang="en">
    <meta charset="UTF-8">
    <meta name="viewport" content="width=device-width, initial-scale=1.0">
    <title>Excel Import</title>
    <!-- Bootstrap CSS -->
    <link href="" rel="stylesheet">
<div class="container mt-5">
    <h2>Upload Excel File</h2>
    <form action="{{ route('excel.import') }}" method="POST" enctype="multipart/form-data">
        <div class="mb-3">
            <input class="form-control" type="file" name="file">
        <button type="submit" class="btn btn-primary">Import</button>


Step 8: Add Routes

Now, let’s define routes to handle file upload and Excel import requests. Open your routes/web.php file and add the following routes:


use App\Http\Controllers\ExcelImportController;

Route::get('/upload', [ExcelImportController::class, 'showUploadForm'])->name('excel.uploadform');
Route::post('/import', [ExcelImportController::class, 'import'])->name('excel.import');

Step 9: Test the Application

You can now start development server for testing by running:

php artisan serve

Then, open your browser and navigate to to access the file upload form. Upload an Excel file, and the controller will import its data into an array and dump it for testing purposes.

It should look as follows:

Screenshot of Our Excel File Upload Form
Screenshot Showing a Dump of the Imported Array

That’s it! You’ve successfully imported your uploaded spreadsheet into an array!


In this tutorial, we’ve covered the process of importing Excel data into an array using Maatwebsite’s Laravel Excel package. We began by installing the necessary dependencies and creating a controller to handle the file upload and import. We then created a simple view for uploading Excel files and defined routes to handle the upload process.

If you have any questions or like to share how you use this package, feel free to leave a comment below. Happy coding!


Johan van den Broek

Johan is the creator of As a child, he began tinkering with various programming languages, many of which have been long forgotten today. Currently, he works exclusively with PHP and Laravel, and his passion for programming remains to this day.

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