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OpenXML + Linq = Awesome Office files

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Office Open XML (also informally known as OOXML or OpenXML) is a zipped, XML-based file format developed by Microsoft for representing spreadsheets, charts, presentations and word processing documents. [1] If someone is looking for software to generate MS-Office file programatically, I would highly recommend considering this library. I have recently used OpenXML to generate Excel reports from a windows service. The library was very fast in generating reports with a lot of data and the best part about this library is that it is free ūüôā Microsoft provides a SDK that can be downloaded from here and can very easy used to generate awesome Office reports. Following are some resources for OpenXML development:

Here is a utility function that converts a List of objects into a DataTable, that can be easily exported to an OpenXML file. Basically in the code below, while loop through the contents of the List object, we use reflection to read the List object properties to create the column names of a DataRow object. Data from each List object is then populated in the DataRow object which will then be used to fill our DataTable.

public DataTable ConvertToDataTable(List<EmployeeData> varlist)
    DataTable dtReturn = new DataTable();
    // column names
    PropertyInfo[] oProps = null;

    if (varlist == null) return dtReturn;
    foreach (EmployeeData rec in varlist)
        if (oProps == null)
            oProps = ((Type)rec.GetType()).GetProperties();
            foreach (PropertyInfo pi in oProps)
                Type colType = pi.PropertyType;

                if ((colType.IsGenericType) && (colType.GetGenericTypeDefinition()
                == typeof(Nullable)))
                    colType = colType.GetGenericArguments()[0];

                dtReturn.Columns.Add(new DataColumn(pi.Name, colType));

        DataRow dr = dtReturn.NewRow();
        foreach (PropertyInfo pi in oProps)
            dr[pi.Name] = pi.GetValue(rec, null) == null ? DBNull.Value : pi.GetValue
            (rec, null);

    return dtReturn;

1. Office Open XML – Wikipedia
2. Open XML SDK 2.0


Written by cavemansblog

September 21, 2011 at 1:37 am

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