I have a .dbf file from arcgis 10.1 and it contains 370 columns and 582 rows. I want to open it in excel but it can only open 256 columns no more than that.

There's a way that I can break a file and then merge them but that's quite time consuming.

I've got to know that by using VBA we can read dbf files the way is it. Anybody please suggest me what to do to open it in one excel sheet through VBA or any other way.

  • 1
    Have you tried to drag and drop the .dbf file into excel directly?
    – ahmadhanb
    Jul 14, 2017 at 10:58
  • Yes and the issue remains the same, it will only show 256 columns.
    – Pooja
    Jul 14, 2017 at 11:21
  • Open in ArcMap, select all rows, Copy-Paste to Excel by clicking one of the small grey Squares to the left in the attribute table. Or do want to open the actual dbf table in Excel?
    – BERA
    Jul 14, 2017 at 11:28
  • I want to open the dbf in excel mainly, it is limitation of arcgis that it can't plot more than 256 columns. I am trying to find way to open all the column in excel
    – Pooja
    Jul 14, 2017 at 11:40
  • Another way would be to use the Make Feature Layer (or Make table view) tool in ArcMap and display only the missing columns. But then you will of course not see all 370 columns.
    – BERA
    Jul 14, 2017 at 12:02

3 Answers 3


If you're able to use python, simpledbf (https://pypi.python.org/pypi/simpledbf/0.2.4) can read the dbf file and export to a csv:

dbf = Dbf5('example.dbf')


you can also use GDAL ogr2ogr -f "XLSX" or "CSV" name.xlsx/csv source.shp




There's another way of doing it. Add the dbf file in arcgis and then export as text, then there won't be any limitation for the columns. Open in excel and simply use delimited to remove the commas.

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