I've recently downloaded the package that allows you to work an excel file using python at: http://www.python-excel.org/

I'm new at installing things from a programmer perspective... can anyone tell me how I'm able to determine if I have installed the programs correctly?

You can try to run this program

import xlrd
import xlwt
import xlutils

If it doesn't run, it means you haven't installed the programs correctly. If it runs, it most likely means that you have installed them correctly.

Also you can do:

help()
### you get help prompt you input:
modules

You get quite list of modules available in your Python installation. Luckily x is at the end and you find the modules last column in the end if you installed them well.

it's probably much better to use OpenOffice calc than excel, as OO has native Python support.

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