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The Excel file format is designed in a way so that it is readable for both machines and people, and the same format is used for both parameters, time series and options. For simplicity this page will refer to them all as parameters.

To make things easier when importing values, it is highly recommended to create a template file by exporting the values from MERLIN-Expo. The values in the template are then replaced with real values and the file can then be imported back into MERLIN-Expo.

Simple formulas can be used when entering values.

When read by MERLIN-Expo, the tabs (sheets) are read from first to last. Each sheet can contain two sections; definitions and values. The definitions which have been read on one sheet will be remain in memory when the next sheet is read, so that all the definitions can be stored in the first sheet and subsequent sheets need contain only values.


A parameter is identified primarily by its name. The definitions section lists the names of parameters for which data is stored in the Excel file. It also lists the dependencies of each parameter, the unit, the description and other properties which is shared for all values of the parameter.

A parameter name may not be defined more than once in the entire Excel file.

  • Name - The name of the parameter.
  • Dependencies - A comma-separated list of the dependencies of the parameter.
  • Unit - The unit of the parameter.
  • Full name - The full name of the parameter, used in favour of the name when listing parameters.
  • Description - The description of the parameter.
  • Category - The category of the parameter.
  • Symbol - The symbol used when displaying the parameter in an equation.
  • Author - The person who created the parameter definition.


The values section contain the actual data for the parameter and is divided into sub-sections. Each row of the values section correspond to values for one dependency of one one single parameter (for time series, each row corresponds to one time point).

A parameter value is identified by the name, the indices. If the same parameter is used in several sub-systems - for instance if two soil sub-systems have been added to the model - the tag, id or guid of the Export info sub-section is used to identify the parameter.


The Parameter sub-section always contain two columns:

  • Name - The name of the parameter (as listed in the definition section).
  • Unit - The unit of the parameter (as listed in the definition section)

These columns are used for indices of the value. The number of columns depend on the dependencies of each parameter as listed in the definition section. This means that there might be columns which are relevant only for some parameters.


This section contains the values entered for the parameter, the PDF excluded. The number of columns depend on how what data is available for the parameters. The following columns are of special interest:

* **Value** - The (nominal) value of a parameter
* **Lookup data** - The "x" value of a [[Lookup table|time series]], typically time. 
* **Values** - The "y" value of a [[Lookup table|time series]]
* **Cyclic** - Whether the [[Lookup table|time series]] is cyclic or not (TRUE or FALSE)
* **Interpolation** - Lookup interpolation (see [[lookup table]] for more information.
* **Expression** - The selection of an [[general variable|option]].

The distribution section appears only when the sheet contains parameters that have been assigned PDF's.

The first column is always PDF, which contains the name of the PDF with arguments within parenthesis.

The number of columns that follow depends on the arguments of the PDF's - there will be one column for every type of argument.


PDF Max Min Mean Mode Std. Dev.
triang(min,max,mode) 17 8 12,7
unif(min,max) 0,4 0,1
logn(mean,sd) 0,035 0,006

This section details the source of values that are entered.

  • References - Literature references
  • Comments - Comments
Export info

The last column of the values section is used as the final link between a specific parameter and the row. This section is generated by the software, and it is important that you pay attention to what is written here if you copy/paste rows while working in Excel.

See also

excel_file_format.txt · Last modified: 2015/08/13 15:04 (external edit)