To read xlsx files, you have two built-in options on Mac and Linux, and one additional option on Windows:
- readtable() . For all sufficiently new versions of MATLAB, this invokes internal code in all operating systems, unless you give an option to disable that
- xlsread(). For Mac and Linux, this only ever uses internal code. For Windows that has Excel installed, it will attempt to use ActiveX to talk to Excel to do the work, and if that fails then it will use the internal code.
- For Windows only, you can use ActiveX or .NET to talk to Excel directly
The other possibilities, not built-in:
- You can link to an external C or C++ library to do the work for you
- You can invoke an external process to do the work for you
The same considerations apply for .xls files.
For text files, there would be additional possibilities.