Manipulate Excel with ASP.NET

This post is from CodeProject. Recently, I was learning how to operate MS Office documents with ASP.NET. This post is very helpful for me so that I share it in my blog and hope that it will be helpful for others who are learning the same thing with me.

If you want to get the original post, please click here:

Note: I get permissions to share this post from its author.


  • Environment Allocation
  • Excel Basic Manipulation with ASP.NET
  • Generate Excel DataTable with ASP.NET
  • Generate Excel Chart with ASP.NET
  • Browse, Download and Delete Excel Files on Server
  • Appendix

1. Environment Allocation

The following are the environments which I have tested.

  • Windows 9x + Personal Web Server (PWS) + Microsoft Office
  • Windows 2000 Professional + PWS + Microsoft Office
  • Windows 2000 Server + Internet Information Services (IIS) + Microsoft Office

At present, it tests successfully in the latter two environments. Generally speaking, any Office version is OK. But in consideration of uncertainty and incompatible of customers’ allocation, it’s better to choose the older version to avoid that it will not be displayed after downloading.

There are two discoveries.

There are errors when creating Excel objects if WPS 2002 is installed.

It is unstable to create object if opening FrontPage. Sometimes it is successful, sometimes not. It is difficult to create an Excel object if Microsoft Office is run on server.

On the server, COM component permissions must be set. Type DCOMCNFG in the command line and then enter COM setting interface. Choose Microsoft Excel and click properties. Select custom and add Everyone to all permissions. Save and restart server.

2. Excel Basic Manipulation with ASP.NET

a) Create Excel Object

set objExcelApp = CreateObject(“Excel.Application”)

objExcelApp.DisplayAlerts = false

objExcelApp.Application.Visible = false

b) Create a New Excel File


set objExcelBook = objExcelApp.ActiveWorkBook

set objExcelSheets = objExcelBook.Worksheets

set objExcelSheet = objExcelBook.Sheets(1)

c) Read Existed Excel File

strAddr = Server.MapPath(“.”)

objExcelApp.WorkBooks.Open(strAddr & “\Templet\Table.xls”)

set objExcelBook = objExcelApp.ActiveWorkBook

set objExcelSheets = objExcelBook.Worksheets

set objExcelSheet = objExcelBook.Sheets(1)

d) Save as Excel File

objExcelBook.SaveAs strAddr & “\Temp\Table.xls”

e) Save Excel File


f) Quit


set objExcelApp = Nothing

3. Generate Excel DataTable with ASP.NET

a) Insert Data in A Range

objExcelSheet.Range(“B3:k3”).Value = Array(“67”, “87”, “5”, “9”, “7”, “45”, “45”, “54”, “54”, “10”)

b) Insert Data in A Cell

objExcelSheet.Cells(3,1).Value=”Internet Explorer”

c) Select aRange

d) Draw Border on Cell. (Right, Left, Top and Bottom)

e) Set Cell Background Color

f) Merge Cell

g) Insert Row and Column

4. Generate Chart with ASP.NET

a) Create Chart


b) Set Chart Type

objExcelApp.ActiveChart.ChartType = 97

Note:4, Line charts; 5, Pie charts; 51, Bar charts.

c) Set Chart Title

objExcelApp.ActiveChart.HasTitle = True

objExcelApp.ActiveChart.ChartTitle.Text = “A test Chart”

d) Set Chart through Source Data

objExcelApp.ActiveChart.SetSourceData objExcelSheet.Range(“A1:k5”),1

e) Set Chart Data Directly


objExcelApp.ActiveChart.SeriesCollection(1).Name = “=””333″””

objExcelApp.ActiveChart.SeriesCollection(1).Values = “={1,4,5,6,2}”

f) Bind Chart

objExcelApp.ActiveChart.Location 1

g) Display DataTable

objExcelApp.ActiveChart.HasDataTable = True

h) Display Legend

objExcelApp.ActiveChart.DataTable.ShowLegendKey = True

5. Browse, Download and Delete Excel Files on Server.

There are several solutions to browse, Location.href=,Navigate,Response.Redirect. But it’s better to use server because it has more time to generate Excel with server.

It is a little troublesome to download. It is better to download component by using the server online or customize a component. The other way is to manipulate Excel component on server.

There are three programs to delete.

Name the Excel files which are generated by one users as same. So, the new file can cover the old one automatically.

Set to delete users’ temporary files when Session_onEnd method is aroused in Global.asa file.

Set to delete all the files in temporary folder when Application_onStart method is aroused in Global.asa file.

6. Appendix

Add “On Error Resume Next” before each file to avoid the progress dies when errors appear. Therefore, we must run “Application.Quit” no matter if there are errors in files to make sure that there are no dead progress left after completing program.


        strAddr = Server.MapPath(“.”)

        objExcelApp = CreateObject(“Excel.Application”)

        objExcelApp.DisplayAlerts = False

        objExcelApp.Application.Visible = False

        objExcelApp.WorkBooks.Open(strAddr & “\Templet\Null.xls”)

        objExcelBook = objExcelApp.ActiveWorkBook

        objExcelSheets = objExcelBook.Worksheets

        objExcelSheet = objExcelBook.Sheets(1)

        objExcelSheet.Range(“B2:k2”).Value = Array(“Week1”, “Week2”, “Week3”, “Week4”, “Week5”, “Week6”, “Week7”, “Week8”, “Week9”, “Week10”)

        objExcelSheet.Range(“B3:k3”).Value = Array(“67”, “87”, “5”, “9”, “7”, “45”, “45”, “54”, “54”, “10”)

        objExcelSheet.Range(“B4:k4”).Value = Array(“10”, “10”, “8”, “27”, “33”, “37”, “50”, “54”, “10”, “10”)

        objExcelSheet.Range(“B5:k5”).Value = Array(“23”, “3”, “86”, “64”, “60”, “18”, “5”, “1”, “36”, “80”)

        objExcelSheet.Cells(3, 1).Value = “Internet Explorer”

        objExcelSheet.Cells(4, 1).Value = “Netscape”

        objExcelSheet.Cells(5, 1).Value = “Other”



        objExcelApp.ActiveChart.ChartType = 97

        objExcelApp.ActiveChart.BarShape = 3

        objExcelApp.ActiveChart.HasTitle = True

        objExcelApp.ActiveChart.ChartTitle.Text = “Visitors log for each week shown in browsers percentage”

        objExcelApp.ActiveChart.SetSourceData(objExcelSheet.Range(“A1:k5”), 1)


        objExcelBook.SaveAs(strAddr & “\Temp\Excel.xls”)


        objExcelApp = Nothing

        ‘Method to Save table in Web

        ‘For example: ID=MYTABLE in Table

        sub btnExport_onclick()

        Dim objExcel

        On Error Resume Next

        objExcel = CreateObject(“excel.application”)

        With objExcel.visible = True


        End With

        m_row = “0”

        For a = 0 To document.all.mytable.rows.length – 1

            m_row = CStr(int(m_row) + 1)

            For b = 0 To document.all.mytable.rows(a).cells.length – 1

                m_col = chr(asc(“A”) + b)


                M_value = document.all.mytable.rows(a).cells(b).innerText

                objexcel.activecell.value = CStr(m_value)



        objexcel.visible = True


    End Sub


This post shows a method to manipulate Excel with ASP.NET, including basic operation, generate DataTable and chart, browse, download and delete Excel on server.

Finally, I want to recommend another tip in CodeProject, which is about how to export data to Excel and other files with ASP.NET.

Please click here to read:

Export Database to Excel, PDF, HTML, RTF, XML, etc. for ASP.NET without Automation


Oh, Summer

Summer is coming. My eyes are filled with Green.

Summer is a nice season but it makes me be irritated. OK, let me drink ice water and calm down.

Someone told me that beach is the most beautiful scene in Summer. Is it ture?

OK, it’s summer. Let’s enjoy it!

Generate Invoice with Mail Merge by Using C#


Mail merge is often used to print reports in bulk, such as financial statement, payroll or transcript. And the merged documents can be sent by E-mail.

In this article, I will show one way to generate mail merged reports via a .NET Word component, Spire.Doc.

Report Overview

This report includes multiple invoices, and each invoice starts in a new page. Invoice logo and supplier information will present in the header of every page.

Order, shipment, customer, order details and total price make up a completed invoice.

The following pictures show the appearance of invoice:

Content details in each invoice are shown as following:

Order Data Overview

All data in this example is from NorthWind database, which is a sample database provided by Microsoft Access 2003.

We will export data from table Orders, Shippers, Customers, Employees, [Order Details] and Products to generate our report. The following picture shows the relationship between the 6 tables.


We need to finish the following 3 steps to generate our report.

  1. Create a mail merge template.
  2. Load data from database.
  3. Merge data into template and save.

Every step includes several sub-steps and in #2 and #3 we need to write some code.

Create mail merge template

How to Create the Template

A template is a reusable document. It renders the pattern of our report. We could modify it to change our report without any modification of code.

Note: in this section, all tables mean DataTable instance, not physical table in database.

1. We can create the template in MS Word or by other program. Please see the following picture. It is the template we need to create. Data will be filled in the red party.

2. Insert mail-merge-field as placeholder into the red-block. There are three types of mail-merge-field which will be used in this example:

  a). GeneralField is a general Word mail-merge-field. It is real data field and our data will be filled in it during merge process. We need to insert a GeneralField to every red-block and name these fields with the corresponding data name. After inserting GeneralFields, our template will looks like:

   b). TableField is assistant mail-merge-field and used as a container of multiple related GeneralFields and other TableFields. So it is not data placeholder and no data will be filled in. It is composed of two special mail-merge-fields: TableStart:TableName and TableEnd:TableName. During merge process, the data of related GeneralFields contained by one same TableField will be from one same data table. For example, fields in Customer information block will be filled with data from data table Customer, so we need to put them in TableField Customer. Insert a mail-merge-field with field name TableStart:Customer immediately before the first CompanyName field and insert another mail-merge-field with field name TableEnd:Customer immediately after the field Country. And then our fields in Customer information block looks like:

During the merge process, data in column CompanyName of table Customer will be filled in the field CompanyName, Customer.Address to field Address, Customer.City to field City and so on.

Data of fields in column Salesperson in Order information table is from table Employee

Data of fields in column Ship Via in Order information table is from table Shipper

Data of fields in Order details table is from table Detail, except field ProductName. Data of field ProductName is from table Product. Dataof field InvoiceSubtotal and InvoiceTotal in Invoice total information is from table Total (virtual table)


  c). GroupField is assistant mail-merge-field too. It can contain multiple related GeneralFields and TableFields. It is composed of two special mail-merge-fields: GroupStart:GroupName and GroupEnd:GroupName. During merge process, all Word document elements included in a GroupField will be copied. One row in data table has one copy and data in the row will be filled into the fields in the copy. If the row has sub data table, the data in sub data table will be filled into the fields included in the corresponding TableField. If the sub data table has multiple data rows, the corresponding TableField will be copied and filled too. We need to insert a mail-merge-field named GroupStart:Order in the top of the template body and insert a mail-merge-field named GroupEnd:Order in the bottom of the template body. After this, our template looks like:

 You could find the complete template named InvoiceTemplate.doc in the attached source package.

Load Data from Database

Spire.Doc provides merge data from DataSet. So we will use DataAdapter to fill data table from NorthWind database to a DataSet and merge it into our template. Difference from DataRelation of DataSet, Spire.Doc has owned table relation functionality. So we don’t need to create DataRelation instance for the DataSet object. The code below just shows load Order data. Please see the attached source package for other code.

Merge data into template and save

In this section, we need to write some code to call Spire.Doc to merge our data table and template.

1. Create Spire.Doc.Document object and load template.

 2. Establish relationship between data tables.

In order to start each invoice in a new page, we insert a page-break-symbol immediately before the first paragraph when a new order row will be merged. To do this, we need to handle the event MergeField which is fired before a field merged.

Code of method InsertPageBreak


This article focuses on how to generate report by using mail merge with C#. In this method, we need to prepare data information and template firstly. Then, merge data in customized template. It helps us to generate report in bulk quickly and easily. 

For the component used in this example, please download from here.

Conclusion on Usual Data Export to Excel Methods with C#

Programmers often need to export data to Excel during programming. In this article, I will share three methods about how to export data to Excel from DataTable, GridView and Database. All these methods come from materials I collect. Therefore, this article is just a conclusion.

Method 1: Export Data to Excel from DataTable

         public static void ExportExcel(string fileName, DataTable dataSource)


            System.Web.UI.WebControls.GridView dgExport = null;

            System.Web.HttpContext curContext = System.Web.HttpContext.Current;

            //IO is used to export and return Excel

            System.IO.StringWriter strWriter = null;

            System.Web.UI.HtmlTextWriter htmlWriter = null;

            if (dataSource != null)


                //Set encoding and attachment format


                curContext.Response.Buffer = true;

                curContext.Response.AddHeader(“content-disposition”, “attachment; filename=” + System.Web.HttpUtility.UrlEncode(fileName, System.Text.Encoding.UTF8) + “.xls”);

                curContext.Response.ContentType = “application/”;

                //Avoid unreadable code to appearing in contents exported.

                curContext.Response.Write(“<meta http-equiv=Content-Type content=text/html;charset=UTF-8>”);

                //Export to Excel

                strWriter = new System.IO.StringWriter();

                htmlWriter = new System.Web.UI.HtmlTextWriter(strWriter);

                //Redefine one GridView without paging to solve the problem that there is paging in daData.

                dgExport = new System.Web.UI.WebControls.GridView();

                dgExport.DataSource = dataSource;

                dgExport.AllowPaging = false;


                //Download to server.




Method 2: Export Data to Excel from GridView

        public static void ExportExcel(string fileName, GridView gvMain)


            System.Web.HttpContext curContext = System.Web.HttpContext.Current;

            //IO is used to export and return Excel.

            System.IO.StringWriter strWriter = null;

            System.Web.UI.HtmlTextWriter htmlWriter = null;

            if (gvMain.DataSource != null)


                //Set encoding and attachment format.


                curContext.Response.Buffer = true;  

                curContext.Response.AddHeader(“content-disposition”, “attachment;filename=” + System.Web.HttpUtility.UrlEncode(fileName, System.Text.Encoding.UTF8) + “.xls”);

                curContext.Response.ContentType = “application/”;

                //Avoid unreadable code to appearing in contents exported.

                curContext.Response.Write(“<meta http-equiv=Content-Type content=text/html;charset=UTF-8>”);

                //Export to Excel

                strWriter = new System.IO.StringWriter();

                htmlWriter = new System.Web.UI.HtmlTextWriter(strWriter);

                //Download to Server






Problems and Solutions

We can find that method 2 is similar to method 1. But method 2 can customize format for Excel column, for example: ID card number, currency format.

However, there is one problem in method 2, wrong with the command: GridView widget must put in Form Marker which has the sentence: runat = server.

Solution: Override for VerifyRenderingInServerForm method of WebForm.

        public override void VerifyRenderingInServerForm(Control control)




The following code shows how to display ID card number and currency format after exporting data.

        protected void GridView1_RowDataBound(object sender, GridViewRowEventArgs e)


            if (e.Row.RowType == DataControlRowType.DataRow)


                e.Row.Cells[ID Number].Attributes.Add(“style”, “”);



The third method is based on a component, Spire.DataExport. Because it shows method to export data from database, so we need to get data information in database firstly. In this example, the data information which will be exported is customers table.

Method 3: Export Data from DataBase

            OleDbConnection oleDbConnection = new System.Data.OleDb.OleDbConnection();

            oleDbConnection.ConnectionString = “Provider=Microsoft.Jet.OLEDB.4.0;Data Source=DB1.mdb”;

            OleDbCommand oleDbCommand = new System.Data.OleDb.OleDbCommand();

            oleDbCommand.CommandText = “select * from Customers”;

            oleDbCommand.Connection = oleDbConnection;

            Spire.DataExport.XLS.CellExport cellExport = new Spire.DataExport.XLS.CellExport();

            Spire.DataExport.XLS.WorkSheet workSheet1 = new Spire.DataExport.XLS.WorkSheet();

            cellExport.FileName = “Customers.xls”;

            cellExport.SheetOptions.AggregateFormat.Font.Name = “Calibri”;

            cellExport.SheetOptions.CustomDataFormat.Font.Name = “Calibri”;

            cellExport.SheetOptions.TitlesFormat.Font.Name = “Calibri”;

            workSheet1.AutoFitColWidth = true;

            workSheet1.Options.TitlesFormat.Font.Color = Spire.DataExport.XLS.CellColor.Pink;

            workSheet1.Options.TitlesFormat.Alignment.Horizontal = Spire.DataExport.XLS.HorizontalAlignment.Center;

            workSheet1.Options.TitlesFormat.Font.Bold = true;

            workSheet1.Options.TitlesFormat.Font.Size = 11F;

            workSheet1.SheetName = “Customers”;

            workSheet1.SQLCommand = oleDbCommand;


            workSheet1.ItemType = Spire.DataExport.XLS.CellItemType.Row;






This article concludes three useful methods on exporting data to Excel. I hope that each of the three methods will be helpful for you.

About the component used in the third method, learn more by click here and download here.

Two Methods to Export Data from DataSet to Excel in C#

Dataset is often used to save data by users because it is available even though we close database. And users would like to export data in dataset to Excel for displaying because Excel is very convenient for formatting and calculating data. This article introduces two solutions to export in C#.

Solution with Microsoft Office Installed:

Before using this solution, please make sure that MS Office has been installed on your system and add Microsoft Object library as reference in project.

        ///<param name=”DataSet”>Export DataSet</param>
        ///<param name=”isShowExcle”>Show Excel or not</param>

        public bool DataSetToExcel(DataSet dataSet, bool isShowExcle, string fileName)

            DataTable dataTable = dataSet.Tables[0];
            int rowNo = dataTable.Rows.Count;
            int columnNo = dataTable.Columns.Count;
            int colIndex = 0;
            if (rowNo == 0)
                return false;

            //Create Excel Object
            Microsoft.Office.Interop.Excel.Application excel = new Microsoft.Office.Interop.Excel.Application();

            Microsoft.Office.Interop.Excel.Workbook workbook = excel.Workbooks.Add(Microsoft.Office.Interop.Excel.XlWBATemplate.xlWBATWorksheet);
            Microsoft.Office.Interop.Excel.Worksheet worksheet = (Microsoft.Office.Interop.Excel.Worksheet)workbook.Worksheets[1];
            worksheet.Name = DateTime.Now.ToString().Replace(“:”, “”).Replace(“-“, “”).Replace(” “, “”);
            excel.Visible = isShowExcle;

            //Microsoft.Office.Interop.Excel.Worksheet worksheet =(Microsoft.Office.Interop.Excel.Worksheet)excel.Worksheets[1];
            Microsoft.Office.Interop.Excel.Range range;

            //Generate Fields Name
            foreach (DataColumn col in dataTable.Columns)
                excel.Cells[1, colIndex] = col.ColumnName;
            object[,] objData = new object[rowNumber, columnNumber];
            for (int row = 0; row < rowNo; r++)
                for (int col = 0; col < columnNo; c++)
                    objData[row, col] = dataTable.Rows[r][c];
            range = worksheet.Range[excel.Cells[4, 3], excel.Cells[rowNo + 1, columnNo]];

            //Set Cell Format as Text
            range.NumberFormat = “@”;
            range.Value2 = objData;
            worksheet.Range[excel.Cells[4, 3], excel.Cells[rowNo + 1, 1]].NumberFormat = “yyyy-m-d h:mm”;
            workbook.SaveAs(example, System.Reflection.Missing.Value, System.Reflection.Missing.Value, System.Reflection.Missing.Value, System.Reflection.Missing.Value,
            System.Reflection.Missing.Value, Microsoft.Office.Interop.Excel.XlSaveAsAccessMode.xlNoChange, System.Reflection.Missing.Value, System.Reflection.Missing.Value,
            System.Reflection.Missing.Value, System.Reflection.Missing.Value, System.Reflection.Missing.Value);

            return true;

Solution with Data Export Component

This solution is based on a Free C# .NET Data Export component, Free Spire.DataExport. So, please download and install this component and then add its dll as reference in project. Now, follow the steps to realize exporting and formatting the exported data.

Firstly, Create a Windows Form project. Design the form and add essential elements in forms as following.

Secondly, double click Run button and write the following code.

            string connStr = txtConnstr.Text.Trim();
            string cmd = txtCmd.Text.Trim();

            //Fill DataSet
            using (OleDbConnection conn = new OleDbConnection(connStr))
                using (OleDbDataAdapter adapter = new OleDbDataAdapter(cmd, conn))
                    using (OleDbCommandBuilder commandBuilder = new OleDbCommandBuilder(adapter))

                        using (DataSet ds = new DataSet())
                            ds.Locale = System.Globalization.CultureInfo.InvariantCulture;
                            SaveFileDialog saveFileDLG = new SaveFileDialog();
                            saveFileDLG.Filter = “(*.xls)|*.xls”;
                            string currentDirectory = Directory.GetCurrentDirectory();
                            CellExport cellExport = new CellExport();
                            this.txtExportFile.Text = saveFileDLG.FileName;
                            if (string.IsNullOrEmpty(txtExportFile.Text))
                                MessageBox.Show(“Please input a directory!”);
                            OleDbCommand oleDbCommand1 = new OleDbCommand(txtCmd.Text, conn);
                            WorkSheet workSheet1 = new WorkSheet();

                            StripStyle stripStyle1 = new StripStyle();
                            stripStyle1.Borders.Bottom.Style = Spire.DataExport.XLS.CellBorderStyle.Thin;
                            stripStyle1.Borders.Left.Style = Spire.DataExport.XLS.CellBorderStyle.Thin;
                            stripStyle1.Borders.Right.Style = Spire.DataExport.XLS.CellBorderStyle.Thin;
                            stripStyle1.Borders.Top.Style = Spire.DataExport.XLS.CellBorderStyle.Thin;
                            stripStyle1.FillStyle.Background = Spire.DataExport.XLS.CellColor.LightGreen;

                            //Export Style
                            cellExport.ActionAfterExport = ActionType.OpenView;
                            cellExport.AutoFitColWidth = true;
                            cellExport.FileName = this.txtExportFile.Text.Trim();

                            cellExport.SheetOptions.TitlesFormat.Font.Name = “Times New Roman”;

                            workSheet1.AutoFitColWidth = true;
                            workSheet1.Options.TitlesFormat.Font.Color = Spire.DataExport.XLS.CellColor.Pink;
                            workSheet1.Options.TitlesFormat.Alignment.Horizontal = Spire.DataExport.XLS.HorizontalAlignment.Center;
                            workSheet1.Options.TitlesFormat.Font.Italic = true;
                            workSheet1.Options.TitlesFormat.Font.Bold = true;
                            workSheet1.Options.TitlesFormat.Font.Size = 12F;

                            //Export Data           
                            workSheet1.SheetName = “Demo”;
                            workSheet1.SQLCommand = oleDbCommand1;
                            workSheet1.ItemType = Spire.DataExport.XLS.CellItemType.Row;


The two solutions can export data from dataset to Excel. The first one is based on Microsoft Office, and the second one is based a component. If you don’t want to install MS Office on your computer, the second will be a good choice to export data.