Built-in styles for Excel Open XML

So a blog reader, Sebastien, once asked about built-in style numbers used in Open XML for Excel. I’m sorry to break the news to you. It’s not straightforward to use those built-in styles.

What are these built-in styles? Check these out:

Excel built-in styles

For instance, Sebastien was asking how to use the “Good” and “Bad” built-in styles. So the good news is, you can use those named styles. The bad news is, the various style effects (font colour, background colour, borders) aren’t automatically added in for you. From the Microsoft documentation of CellStyle:

This element represents the name and related formatting records for a named cell style in this workbook.

Annex H contains a listing of cellStyles whose corresponding formatting records are implied rather than explicitly saved in the file. In this case, a builtinId attribute is written on the cellStyle record, but no corresponding formatting records are written.

For all built-in cell styles, the builtinId determines the style, not the name. For all cell styles, Normal is applied by default.

Read the second paragraph again. It means even if you use the built-in style “Good”, you still need to create a style with the green background and green text font colour.

Since this is the case, I suggest you just stick to creating your own custom styles. It’s what’s going to happen anyway.

Now there is a magic number, 164. Your custom styles will start being numbered from 164 onwards. This implies there are 164 built-in styles (0-indexed). My search efforts only gave me a partial list.

Please refer to the ECMA-376 documentation for Office Open XML formats. Download the 1st edition, part 4. Inside, you’ll find a PDF. Turn to page 2135 (as of this writing. It’s page 2128 on the PDF itself though). You’ll find this:

Excel Open XML built-in style list

That list is probably that of “standard” styles. From reading the next few pages of the documentation, I believe most of those 164 built-in styles are due to internationalisation issues.

So my conclusion is, for the “standard” built-in styles you’re interested in, you still have to create the supporting style effects (font colour, background colour and the like). For the “non-standard” built-in styles, they are probably different based on the localisation of your Excel file. So you’re better off just creating your own custom styles, which I teach you how here and here. Or you can get my programming guide for detailed explanations and source code.

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