Do you need to create Excel spreadsheets with C# or VB.NET?

Ahhh Microsoft Excel spreadsheets, an important and usually unavoidable tool in the day-to-day operations of an office worker. I too was inextricably bound to Excel during my professional programming career.

“Wait, weren’t you working as a programmer? Why were you using Excel like a ‘normal’ office worker?”

Ahhh, that’s because I work with said ‘normal’ office workers. One of my users then, a product manager, needed access to the database records. Due to circumstantial requirements, there’s no user interface that’s flexible enough to fix the problem. So the solution was to dump the records into an Excel file and send it to him. I would also send him a short analysis, and he would reply with the changes in the Excel file. I was to check the data integrity and then when it’s done, I would upload it into the database. As a result, I became well acquainted with basic Excel data manipulation.

Moving along, I worked with more users. Customer service officers, sales representatives, marketing staff, administrative staff, switch operators (I was in the telecommunications industry), technical staff, managers and directors. One common requirement from all of them was reports. There were 3 types: in text, PDF and Excel. By far the most popular type of report was the Excel reports. That’s because it’s easily editable and be manipulated by the users. The second reason was that the data required tended to be tabular, and Excel excelled (no pun intended) in that.

So to cut the story short (but the full story is in my programming guide. Yes, I’m going to tell you about it in a little while), I started looking into Open XML formats for Excel spreadsheets. My experiments yielded accepted results for my users. And I wrote about my experiments here. And some programmers found the articles useful. Then one fine day, it hit me; I should create a programming guide on it.

Spreadsheet Open XML From Scratch

Spreadsheet Open XML From Scratch

Before I tell you more, answer this question. “Do you need to create Excel spreadsheets with C# or VB.NET?” If so, you’re in luck because I created a guide just for you. It’s called Spreadsheet Open XML From Scratch. This guide will teach you how to create Excel spreadsheets using C# or VB.NET and the Open XML SDK (version 2.0). You can read the full details here.

The price is set at US$ 47. I decided on that price after thinking how much you will learn from it, and how much time and effort I’ve put into it. Half of the guide contains a compilation of the existing articles I’ve written, with the written material edited (some with new material added) and the source code cleaned up. The source code then was written with the Open XML SDK 2.0 CTP version. With the cleaned up source code, it’s written with the Open XML SDK 2.0 release version. There’s at least one class that will stop working if you use my old code. I’ve also written VB.NET versions of the C# code, so you can use that if you’re more comfortable with VB.NET.

The other half of the guide contains all new material and source code. As a bonus, there’s even a section teaching you how to use an Excel template to shortcut your spreadsheet generation process.

As an additional bonus, if you are one of the first 10 buyers, I will throw in a free 30 day consultation. You can ask me anything on the concepts involved, the source code, the Open XML SDK or Excel in general. This is in addition to the 1 year satisfaction and effectiveness guarantee, and 1 year unlimited free updates to the guide. This information is given to you because you’re reading my blog (it’s not on the product page). I’d offer it to more people, but there’s a physical limitation on my time.

You don’t have to buy my guide if you don’t want to for any reason. No problem, you can still read my blog for free. But if you’re interested, go check out my programming guide Spreadsheet Open XML From Scratch. Or you can buy the guide directly here. Thanks for reading.

Basic guide to Excel Open XML

Ok, I don’t know why I didn’t think of it before. So it appears that there’s some need to create Excel files using Open XML SDK 2.0. I’m halfway done with my guide to doing that. It will be sold as an ebook (packaged with source code). It’s a consolidation of some of the articles I’ve already written on the subject, together with some all new articles. Included topics are:

  • How to create a stylesheet and use it
  • How to insert an image into a worksheet
  • How to insert multiple images into a worksheet
  • More advanced styling options
  • Setting column widths
  • Setting column and row settings (such as grouping columns and hiding rows)
  • Text alignment in a cell

When I teach, I believe in giving you the simplest explanation and code. This allows you to create more complex functions if you want. If I complicate it for you, you might not know what the individual parts are. It’s like giving you all 26 alphabets and let you play with it. Much better if you learn the individual alphabets and it’s up to you to form words with them.

I haven’t finalised the cost of the product, nor the release date. But I’m planning a “before Christmas” launch, so you should see it in my store soon. This is a heads up in case you’re agonising over a Christmas present for a programmer (or yourself). The price will be fair, considering that I will be saving you tons of hours of research and pain. It will also come with both C# and VB.NET supporting code.

Having worked in a mid-sized company, I understand that sometimes your IT department doesn’t allow third party products (or doesn’t have the budget to buy the license). I don’t consider the Open XML SDK 2.0 to be a third party product. Besides, it’s by Microsoft (and free!). Most companies should be able to accept that. The source code will only need the Open XML SDK (and the .NET Framework of course) to work.

My product license will be fairly flexible, so you can use my code to create commercial products. And the license is tied to the product, not to number of computers or developers or servers (or whatever complicated rule being used by other software companies). You only need to buy 1 copy. (But tell your friends to buy as well because I need to eat)

So yeah, that’s all I have to say. If there’s a particular topic you want me to cover, there’s still some time. Comment below and I might consider adding it to the guide. If this turns out to be popular (as in I get to eat a couple of meals because of it), I’ve got plans to include more Excel Open XML goodness, and even expand to Word and PowerPoint. We’ll see…