If you find that the really handy Excel spreadsheet import feature for MySQL is missing in PHPMyAdmin, it's because it has been removed. According to the PHPMyAdmin changelog:
- [core] Remove library PHPExcel, due to license issues
- [export] Remove native Excel export modules (xls and xlsx formats)
- [import] Remove native Excel import modules (xls and xlsx formats)
In other words, they've removed it due to licensing issues from version 126.96.36.199 onwards. Ergo, all versions prior to that will still have the feature and a simple downgrade to 188.8.131.52 should be all that's needed. There are, however, serious implications to this as 184.108.40.206 provides security fixes to some vulnerabilities. I wouldn't do this on a live server. Instead, I'd downgrade all the way back to the latest 3.3.x release.
On my dev box, I downgraded to 3.3.2 as it is provided by Ubuntu - I'm not entirely sure why they haven't released 3.3.10. I did this also because I dislike the fact that the DROP/EMPTY links have been moved from the top of the page to within the operations tab.
Of course, an alternative is to simply save the Excel file as an Open Office document.