Click here to Skip to main content
Click here to Skip to main content

Export Silverlight DataGrid to Excel XML/CSV

, 1 Dec 2009 CPOL
Rate this:
Please Sign up or sign in to vote.
This article explains how to export the contents of a DataGrid to Excel/CSV.


There are several reasons for the end user to export data from an application into an Excel compatible format (mostly for further analysis/usage or data). This article explains how to include data export capability to Silverlight DataGrid.


I am working on migrating some ASP.NET code to a Silverlight application. One of the features that I felt lacking in Silverlight is the ability to export the contents of a DataGrid to the end user. To address this issue, I created an extension for DataGrid control. When the attached file (DataGridExtensions.cs) is included in a project, the "Export" extension is automatically made available to all the DataGrid controls used in the project.

Using the code

This module exposes two methods:

  • Export (this DataGrid dg) - extends the DataGrid control by providing the export functionality.
  • ExportDataGrid (DataGrid dGrid) - this method is internally called by the "Export" DataGrid extension. However, this method can be directly called too.
public static void Export(this DataGrid dg)
public static void ExportDataGrid(DataGrid dGrid)
    SaveFileDialog objSFD = new SaveFileDialog() { DefaultExt = "csv", 
        Filter = "CSV Files (*.csv)|*.csv|Excel XML (*.xml)|*.xml|All files (*.*)|*.*", 
        FilterIndex = 1 };
    if (objSFD.ShowDialog() == true)
        string strFormat = 
          objSFD.SafeFileName.Substring(objSFD.SafeFileName.IndexOf('.') + 1).ToUpper();
        StringBuilder strBuilder = new StringBuilder();
        if (dGrid.ItemsSource == null) return;
        List<string> lstFields = new List<string>();
        if (dGrid.HeadersVisibility == DataGridHeadersVisibility.Column || 
            dGrid.HeadersVisibility == DataGridHeadersVisibility.All)
            foreach (DataGridColumn dgcol in dGrid.Columns)
                lstFields.Add(FormatField(dgcol.Header.ToString(), strFormat));
            BuildStringOfRow(strBuilder, lstFields, strFormat);
        foreach (object data in dGrid.ItemsSource)
            foreach (DataGridColumn col in dGrid.Columns)
                string strValue = "";                    
                Binding objBinding = null;
                if (col is DataGridBoundColumn)
                    objBinding = (col as DataGridBoundColumn).Binding;
                if (col is DataGridTemplateColumn)
                    //This is a template column...
                    //    let us see the underlying dependency object
                    DependencyObject objDO = 
                      (col as DataGridTemplateColumn).CellTemplate.LoadContent();
                    FrameworkElement oFE = (FrameworkElement)objDO;
                    FieldInfo oFI = oFE.GetType().GetField("TextProperty");
                    if (oFI != null)
                        if (oFI.GetValue(null) != null)
                            if (oFE.GetBindingExpression(
                                   (DependencyProperty)oFI.GetValue(null)) != null)
                                objBinding = 
                if (objBinding != null)
                    if (objBinding.Path.Path != "")
                        PropertyInfo pi = data.GetType().GetProperty(objBinding.Path.Path);
                        if (pi != null) strValue = pi.GetValue(data, null).ToString();
                    if (objBinding.Converter != null)
                        if (strValue != "")
                            strValue = objBinding.Converter.Convert(strValue, 
                              typeof(string), objBinding.ConverterParameter, 
                            strValue = objBinding.Converter.Convert(data, 
                              typeof(string), objBinding.ConverterParameter, 
            BuildStringOfRow(strBuilder, lstFields, strFormat);
        StreamWriter sw = new StreamWriter(objSFD.OpenFile());
        if (strFormat == "XML")
            //Let us write the headers for the Excel XML
            sw.WriteLine("<?xml version=\"1.0\" " + 
            sw.WriteLine("<?mso-application progid" + 
            sw.WriteLine("<Workbook xmlns=\"urn:" + 
            sw.WriteLine("<DocumentProperties " + 
                         "xmlns=\"urn:schemas-microsoft-com:" + 
            sw.WriteLine("<Author>Arasu Elango</Author>");
            sw.WriteLine("<Created>" +  
                         DateTime.Now.ToLocalTime().ToLongDateString() + 
            sw.WriteLine("<LastSaved>" + 
                         DateTime.Now.ToLocalTime().ToLongDateString() + 
            sw.WriteLine("<Company>Atom8 IT Solutions (P) " + 
            sw.WriteLine("<Worksheet ss:Name=\"Silverlight Export\" " + 
        if (strFormat == "XML")

The ExportDataGrid method prompts to the user to select the output save file name. Based on the user selection, the method determines the format to save -- XML or CSV. The Excel XML format used is not compatible with Microsoft Excel 2003 or earlier.

The row contents are built by a method named BuildStringOfRow.

private static void BuildStringOfRow(StringBuilder strBuilder, 
        List<string> lstFields, string strFormat)
    switch (strFormat)
        case "XML":
            strBuilder.AppendLine(String.Join("\r\n", lstFields.ToArray()));
        case "CSV":
            strBuilder.AppendLine(String.Join(",", lstFields.ToArray()));

The above method builds the row contents string as per the output format. Formatting of individual fields is done by a method named FormatField.

private static string FormatField(string data, string format)
    switch (format)
        case "XML":
            return String.Format("<Cell><Data ss:Type=\"String" + 
               "\">{0}</Data></Cell>", data);
        case "CSV":
            return String.Format("\"{0}\"", 
              data.Replace("\"", "\"\"\"").Replace("\n", 
              "").Replace("\r", ""));
    return data;

The FormatField method returns the data formatted as per the output format.

How to use

After including the attached code (DataGridExtensions.cs) to your project, you can initiate the export of the DataGrid contents by calling the Export() method of the DataGrid. For example, if the DataGrid name is objDataGrid, you will be calling objDataGrid.Export() to invoke the export.

Points of interest

This code generates the Excel file in XML format. I found exporting in XML much easier than exporting into the XLS or XLSX format.


  • Version 1 - December 1, 2009.


This article, along with any associated source code and files, is licensed under The Code Project Open License (CPOL)


About the Author

Architect Atom8 IT Solutions (P) Ltd
India India
I have been programming since 1991. I consider programming as my passion. I founded Atom8 IT Solutions (P) Ltd., in April 2009 and have been developing applications in Microsoft Technologies (mainly C#, Silverlight).
My specialization has been on the US healthcare domain (Medical Transcription, Patient Financial Services, EMRs).

Comments and Discussions

Questionproblem in using the code in WPF PinmemberMember 108307014-Jun-14 23:03 
QuestionCool stuff! PinmemberNick Gray (Techno Crusaders)25-May-14 18:27 
Question.xlsx PinmemberAngela 1029384829-Jan-14 2:25 
QuestionConvert PinmemberAngela 1029384828-Jan-14 0:21 
QuestionThanks PinmemberRavin Singh D23-Jan-14 7:49 
QuestionNull reference Exception PinmemberMember 970420616-Jun-13 23:40 
GeneralMy vote of 5 PinmemberYasodha.eng29-Apr-13 0:22 
QuestionTo hide some selected columns in the exported file Pinmembermeetprabhum31-Oct-12 0:07 
GeneralIf the characters is chinese , it will appear garbled. [modified] Pinmemberstarrycheng2-Aug-12 21:22 
QuestionProblem Pinmemberaa_rojasm25-Jun-12 7:45 
GeneralRe: Problem [modified] PinmemberSpeedyCoder1-Jul-12 10:41 
QuestionExport Silverlight DataGrid to Excel XML/CSV PinmemberVikramdcecse8-Jun-12 8:58 
QuestionEmpty PinmemberMember 875655724-Mar-12 1:45 
GeneralMy vote of 5 PinmemberEderM222-Feb-12 8:21 
QuestionHow to Export Images to excel in silver light PinmemberMember 401717417-Feb-12 4:17 
QuestionHow to have multiple worksheets PinmemberS.R.H12-Feb-12 23:19 
GeneralMy vote of 5 PinmemberShilpa from Mysore2-Feb-12 0:21 
QuestionNice work, thanks! PinmemberMember 839692426-Dec-11 14:28 
QuestionChanges to work with nullable types PinmemberJohhLewis21-Dec-11 4:37 
GeneralMy vote of 5 PinmemberT. Abdul Rahman9-Oct-11 22:03 
Suggestionnested properties Pinmemberrafa123413-Sep-11 6:24 
GeneralRe: nested properties Pinmemberawgtek11-Sep-12 11:03 
GeneralNumber cells PinmemberLARS MORTEN NYGAARD8-May-11 22:59 
QuestionColumn Headers Pinmemberchildg7-Feb-11 12:59 
AnswerRe: Column Headers Pinmemberraelango7-Feb-11 16:38 
GeneralMy vote of 5 Pinmembertechnette27-Jan-11 16:24 
GeneralMy vote of 5 PinmemberMember 47608858-Dec-10 21:51 
GeneralGreat sample but fails Pinmemberdwf200824-Nov-10 6:53 
GeneralRe: Great sample but fails Pinmemberraelango24-Nov-10 22:38 
GeneralMy vote of 5 Pinmembermcaayyappan23-Sep-10 1:18 
GeneralPlease advise... [modified] PinmemberAlexWang201021-Sep-10 12:00 
GeneralHi PinmemberNaga Sridhar Madiraju29-Aug-10 22:41 
Questiondatagrid with datapager PinmemberPatrick Ladd10-Aug-10 8:52 
AnswerRe: datagrid with datapager Pinmemberlivinho3818-Aug-10 0:30 
GeneralRe: datagrid with datapager Pinmemberraelango18-Aug-10 0:56 
GeneralRe: datagrid with datapager Pinmemberuscgc7248-Sep-10 5:43 
AnswerRe: datagrid with datapager Pinmemberlakson25-Dec-10 3:05 
GeneralOutstanding! One comment to handle NULL values in data... PinmemberNoah Wollowick21-Jul-10 14:41 
Questionwhich version of SL is this example? Pinmemberzondymothoa13-Jun-10 22:49 
AnswerRe: which version of SL is this example? Pinmemberraelango13-Jun-10 23:24 
GeneralReplacing escape characters Pinmemberseonsoo25-May-10 23:54 
GeneralOutstanding! PinmemberDavid_Murdoch30-Apr-10 13:24 
GeneralRe: Outstanding! Pinmemberraelango30-Apr-10 22:03 
Generalnice work dude Pinmembersachinblore27-Apr-10 8:52 
Generalno me graba la informacion en los controles Pinmemberccmmasi22-Apr-10 13:16 
GeneralRe: no me graba la informacion en los controles Pinmemberraelango22-Apr-10 21:28 
GeneralException if datacell is null Pinmemberfrancesconuma2-Mar-10 1:46 
GeneralRe: Exception if datacell is null Pinmemberraelango2-Mar-10 2:38 
QuestionCan the file be give a name in code? Pinmember2 Rocks17-Feb-10 9:08 
AnswerRe: Can the file be give a name in code? Pinmemberraelango17-Feb-10 19:28 

General General    News News    Suggestion Suggestion    Question Question    Bug Bug    Answer Answer    Joke Joke    Rant Rant    Admin Admin   

Use Ctrl+Left/Right to switch messages, Ctrl+Up/Down to switch threads, Ctrl+Shift+Left/Right to switch pages.

| Advertise | Privacy | Terms of Use | Mobile
Web01 | 2.8.150305.1 | Last Updated 1 Dec 2009
Article Copyright 2009 by raelango
Everything else Copyright © CodeProject, 1999-2015
Layout: fixed | fluid