.net - How do I create an Excel (.XLS and .XLSX) file in C# without installing Microsoft Office?

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Top 5 Answer for .net - How do I create an Excel (.XLS and .XLSX) file in C# without installing Microsoft Office?

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You can use a library called ExcelLibrary. It's a free, open source library posted on Google Code:


This looks to be a port of the PHP ExcelWriter that you mentioned above. It will not write to the new .xlsx format yet, but they are working on adding that functionality in.

It's very simple, small and easy to use. Plus it has a DataSetHelper that lets you use DataSets and DataTables to easily work with Excel data.

ExcelLibrary seems to still only work for the older Excel format (.xls files), but may be adding support in the future for newer 2007/2010 formats.

You can also use EPPlus, which works only for Excel 2007/2010 format files (.xlsx files). There's also NPOI which works with both.

There are a few known bugs with each library as noted in the comments. In all, EPPlus seems to be the best choice as time goes on. It seems to be more actively updated and documented as well.

Also, as noted by @АртёмЦарионов below, EPPlus has support for Pivot Tables and ExcelLibrary may have some support (Pivot table issue in ExcelLibrary)

Here are a couple links for quick reference:
ExcelLibrary - GNU Lesser GPL
EPPlus - GNU (LGPL) - No longer maintained
EPPlus 5 - Polyform Noncommercial - Starting May 2020
NPOI - Apache License

Here some example code for ExcelLibrary:

Here is an example taking data from a database and creating a workbook from it. Note that the ExcelLibrary code is the single line at the bottom:

//Create the data set and table DataSet ds = new DataSet("New_DataSet"); DataTable dt = new DataTable("New_DataTable");  //Set the locale for each ds.Locale = System.Threading.Thread.CurrentThread.CurrentCulture; dt.Locale = System.Threading.Thread.CurrentThread.CurrentCulture;  //Open a DB connection (in this example with OleDB) OleDbConnection con = new OleDbConnection(dbConnectionString); con.Open();  //Create a query and fill the data table with the data from the DB string sql = "SELECT Whatever FROM MyDBTable;"; OleDbCommand cmd = new OleDbCommand(sql, con); OleDbDataAdapter adptr = new OleDbDataAdapter();  adptr.SelectCommand = cmd; adptr.Fill(dt); con.Close();  //Add the table to the data set ds.Tables.Add(dt);  //Here's the easy part. Create the Excel worksheet from the data set ExcelLibrary.DataSetHelper.CreateWorkbook("MyExcelFile.xls", ds); 

Creating the Excel file is as easy as that. You can also manually create Excel files, but the above functionality is what really impressed me.

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If you are happy with the xlsx format, try my GitHub project, EPPlus. It started with the source from ExcelPackage, but today it's a total rewrite. It supports ranges, cell styling, charts, shapes, pictures, named ranges, AutoFilter and a lot of other stuff.

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And what about using Open XML SDK 2.0 for Microsoft Office?

A few benefits:

  • Doesn't require Office installed
  • Made by Microsoft = decent MSDN documentation
  • Just one .Net dll to use in project
  • SDK comes with many tools like diff, validator, etc


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I've used with success the following open source projects:

  • ExcelPackage for OOXML formats (Office 2007)

  • NPOI for .XLS format (Office 2003). NPOI 2.0 (Beta) also supports XLSX.

Take a look at my blog posts:

Creating Excel spreadsheets .XLS and .XLSX in C#

NPOI with Excel Table and dynamic Chart

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You can use OLEDB to create and manipulate Excel files. Check this: Reading and Writing Excel using OLEDB.

Typical example:

using (OleDbConnection conn = new OleDbConnection("Provider=Microsoft.Jet.OLEDB.4.0;Data Source=C:\\temp\\test.xls;Extended Properties='Excel 8.0;HDR=Yes'")) {   conn.Open();   OleDbCommand cmd = new OleDbCommand("CREATE TABLE [Sheet1] ([Column1] string, [Column2] string)", conn);   cmd.ExecuteNonQuery(); } 

EDIT - Some more links:

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