How do I render HTML in Excel 2010/2013 while keeping the formatting?

I'm extracting from an SQL database in XML format and looking to format the output in Excel. Some columns were entered as rich text and contain HTML formatting; I would like to retain that formatting.
I could write a parser in VBA - but is there an easier way to transform the HTML so that Excel can understand it? I've tried solutions that use IE in the back ground (not supported as I use IE11)  and the DataObject from MS Forms 2.0 (Paste Special with Unicode text is not supported).
The HTML tags are mostly style - font name, bold, underline, etc - with or without spanning.
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This may seem dumb.
Here's a simple html file
<b> Will Excel See this as bold and italics?</b>
<td> and this just italic?</i></td>

Open in new window

I can open HTML files with Excel
open itAnd the formatting is preserved.
From there, go File|Save As and save it as an .xls

Does that work for you?
Big MontyWeb Ninja at largeCommented:
how are you pulling the data from the database? are you using a server side language such asp or php? if so, just set the content type to:

Content-Type: application/

an example using ASP:


Open in new window

** edit to give source of example

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MikeDigginsAuthor Commented:
Thanks, both - and nothing's dumb if its meant to help. I'm using a WCF-based service to run a number of stored procedures for various purposes; in each case the output is an XML document. Each row is represented as an element containing the columns returned by the procedure. The document is then consumed by a front end - Excel in this case. I'm using VBA to consume the document, so I'm looking for something that runs in that environment and can parse the embedded HTML.

Here's a short example, including the header:

<?xml version="1.0" standalone="yes"?>
<rptFindData xmlns="">
            <element p2:type="usp_rptFindDataResult" xmlns:p2="">
                        <FirstName>Attn: Mike</FirstName>
                        <RichTextComment>This is &amp;nbsp;the type of output I need to <b>render</b>.</RichTextComment>

I'm not too well up on the configuration of this but the content type approach sounds promising - any suggestions that will help me get out of writing a parser gratefully received.
I don't do anything with XML.
I'm an Access guy, so when I pull stuff from SQL Server, I don't do it as XML.
Here's a link to using VBA to apply  an XSL to an XML file
But that still requires the creation XSL file

Perhaps that is easy?
Or is that the parser you are hoping to avoid writing?

Do you control the SQL Server?
You have to configure the stored procedures to return XML like it is noted here to get XML
Wouldn't it simpler to have the SQL Server output the results in a dataset more to your liking?
Executing sprocs with ADO in VBA and using the resulting recordsets isn't hard.
Because it seems that the XML is the impediment, and not by your design.
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