Recently a clean-up project was started related to and .

Rightnow the wiki includes a quotation of the official help article which only describes the syntax and point users to W3School to learn about xPath. I think that we could improve it.

IMPORTXML requires two arguments, an URL to a file to be examined, I call it "the source file", and a xPath query.

Also I think that most of the questions about IMPORTXML fall in at least one of the following categories:

  • The source file doesn't follow the XML markup rules

    • Usually the answer is the xPath query of the topmost node that could be retrieved by IMPORTXML then suggest the use of other spreadsheet functions to get the required content.
    • The wiki could include the suggestion to use the W3C Markup Validation Service prior to post the question as part of the OP research effort.
  • The source file doesn't contain the content to be parsed

    • The answer is that Google Sheets built-in functions aren't able to get that content.
    • The above could be because the content isn't included on the publically available source code of the page
    • The wiki could include recommendations to use other tools or to point users to Software Recommendations
  • The source file follow the XML markup rules but the OP has problems to figure out the xPath

    • The answers could include a working xPath.
    • The wiki could include instructions about how to get one.
  • The issue isn't related to the source file

    • The wiki could include links to questions about Google Sheets functions and formulas common errors
    • Another common question is about the the automatic refresh of the imported results

Does it makes sense to extend the wiki or should it be better to proceed in a different way, like looking for/creating canonical questions? Is it too soon?


I was bold and jumped in into extending the [importxml] wiki. Also I created a self-answered question that could be used as reference on questions:

I will wait a bit for feedback about it prior to add the it's link to the [importxml] wiki.


NOTE: Searching for importxml -[importxml] is:q returns 33 questions.

  • 2
    Be bold! Do it! – ale Mar 20 at 18:05
  • @ale I'm made an edit. Later I will look for importxml FAQs – Rubén Mar 20 at 18:50

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