Solution For Parsing An Excel File In C# And The Cells Seem A To Get Cut Off At 255 Characters

Problem Statement

An Excel sheet containing perhaps 10 rows and a couple of columns. In a couple of the rows, the length of the data is more than 255 characters. When I try to upload this file in an ASP.Net application using the traditional OLEDB provider, I do not see all the data; in particular, the cells are truncated to 255 characters when loaded into my dataset object.

Having done sleepless nights, I have found some solutions to fix this issue, which are presented below.

Solution 1. If your application is only used on one computer, then you can go directly to the following registry settings and change the TypeGuessRows value.


Solution for 64-bit systems


By setting this value to zero, every line of your spreadsheet is scanned for type guessing, rather than the default of 8 lines. If any text field is longer than 255 characters are encountered, then those columns are deemed to be memo fields.

Note that you are still not 100% guaranteed to get the right data types, depending on your data.

Note also the HKLM scope of this key, though; it will affect every OleDB Excel import by any process on that machine and this leads to a degradation of performance depending on the size of the data.

Solution 2. A second way to work around this problem (without modifying the registry) is to make sure that rows with fields, that have data 255 characters or greater, are present in the first 8 rows (the default value of TypeGuessRows is 8) of the source data file.

Solution 3. This is the recommended solution by me as there is no need to change any registry or take care to have those lengthy data to be in the first 8 rows. Instead, we have a tool called NPOI which can be downloaded from

Using this dll, we can upload the spreadsheet without concern for data truncation, and also it has many features like creating the spreadsheet on the fly, including charts, reports, etc. for more information, you can find it on the site

public static DataTable getExcelData(string FileName, string strSheetName)
    DataTable dt = new DataTable();
    HSSFWorkbook hssfworkbook;

    using (FileStream file = new FileStream(FileName, FileMode.Open, FileAccess.Read))
        hssfworkbook = new HSSFWorkbook(file);
    ISheet sheet = hssfworkbook.GetSheet(strSheetName);
    System.Collections.IEnumerator rows = sheet.GetRowEnumerator();
    while (rows.MoveNext())
        IRow row = (HSSFRow)rows.Current;
        if (dt.Columns.Count == 0)
            for (int j = 0; j < row.LastCellNum; j++)
        DataRow dr = dt.NewRow();
        for (int i = 0; i < row.LastCellNum; i++)
            ICell cell = row.GetCell(i);
            if (cell == null)
                dr[i] = null;
                dr[i] = cell.ToString();
    return dt;

Maybe I presented the solutions too directly without adequate explanation or discussion, but presently, my motto is to provide you the reasonable and permanent solutions for those suffering from a similar problem.

Hope this research and the code help you a lot. If so, then please drop a comment below for me.

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