Never mind, I think I got it. If use [~,~,data] = xlsread('myfile.csv','A:A') then it returns the 1048576x1 cell. But, if I just do data = xlsread('myfile.csv','A:A') then it automatically starts where the data begins and stops where it ends. I'm not sure if this will work for .xlsx files, but it works for my .csv files
How can I extract only cells with a value in specific column from excel?
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Is there a way to specify the starting row and continue to the bottom of that column of numbers without specifying the exact row it ends at? I have excel files where the values start in A5, and then there is a variable number of values in that column (100-200) in each file. I know how to specify the range if I know the end value (eg 'A5:A142') and I know I can specify the whole column ('A:A') but I don't know how many rows will be in any given file so I can't specify the endpoint, and when I do the whole column it takes a very long time and I end up with a 1048576x1 cell filled mostly with NaN.