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Opening and Navigating Excel with C#

, 17 Apr 2012
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Introduction to manipulating Excel with C#.

Introduction 

Note: This article has been updated to interact with Office 2007. I left the old .NET 1.0 solution for Office XP available for download for reference (in case you are using an old version of Office).

This is a short introduction to opening an existing Microsoft Excel spreadsheet using Visual C# .NET. The computer must have Excel installed on the system for this code to run properly. The Excel assembly is used to open and manipulate Excel spreadsheets.

Code Explanation

First, the Excel assembly must be added to the project. To do this you must add a reference to the Microsoft.Office.Interop.Excel library by going to the Project -> Add Reference  menu item. Go to the .NET tab of the dialog box that pops up and scroll down the Microsoft.Office.Interop.Excel list item. Double click on it and press OK. This adds the reference to your project. In the "using" section of your code, type

using Excel = Microsoft.Office.Interop.Excel; 

Once the assembly is added to the project, a new application needs to be created:

Excel.Application excelApp = new Excel.Application();

If you want to make Excel visible to the user you have to set the Visible property to true, the default is false.  

excelApp.Visible = true;

The code above opens the Excel application, in order to use the application, you have to open a workbook by creating a Workbook object. You can open a new blank workbook by using the following code:

Excel.Workbook newWorkbook = excelApp.Workbooks.Add();

The preceding code opens a blank workbook with one sheet. The .Add method optionally takes a template object.  If the parameter is left blank, the default template will be used (like when you open Excel manually).

If you want to open an existing document for editing instead of creating a new one, you can use the following code to open the Workbook object: 

string workbookPath = "c:/SomeWorkBook.xls";
Excel.Workbook excelWorkbook = excelApp.Workbooks.Open(workbookPath,
        0, false, 5, "", "", false, Excel.XlPlatform.xlWindows, "",
        true, false, 0, true, false, false);

The preceding code may need a little explanation. The workbookPath is of course the path to the existing spreadsheet that you want to open, and if using .NET 4.0 and the Office 2007 library (Microsoft.Office.Interop.Excel library), it is the only parameter required. The rest of the excelApp.Workbooks.open parameters are a little less obvious. The following is the list of parameters that are passed to the function:

  • WorkBooks.open(string Filename, object UpdateLinks, object ReadOnly, object Format, object Password, object WriteResPassword, object ReadOnlyRecommend, object Origin, object Delimiter, object Editable, object Notify, object Converter, object AddToMru, object Local, object CorruptLoad )

To view the documentation on this function, follow the link to Microsoft’s website for further explanation of the function at: http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/bb179167%28v=office.12%29.aspx

Once the workbook is either created or opened, you must create a Sheets object that holds the Worksheets within the workbook. The following code will get all of the sheets in the workbook you previously opened.

Excel.Sheets excelSheets = excelWorkbook.Worksheets;

Now that you have the collection of Worksheets, you must get an individual sheet edit data within.

string currentSheet = "Sheet1";
Excel.Worksheet excelWorksheet = (Excel.Worksheet)excelSheets.get_Item(currentSheet);

In the preceding code, you have to type cast the excelSheets.get_Item(string) method because it returns an object. Now that you have the sheet you are ready to access individual cells with the following code:

Excel.Range excelCell = 
        (Excel.Range)excelWorksheet.get_Range("A1", "A1");

The get_Range function must take two parameters. If the two parameters are equal, a single cell is selected; otherwise a range of cells will be selected. Again you have to type cast the return value of the method. Once you have a cell object, your can set its value using the .Value2 property, or use any of the other properties to manipulate ranges of cells.

License

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

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About the Author

Narsters
Software Developer (Senior)
United States United States
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Comments and Discussions

 
GeneralMy vote of 4 PinmemberArjunPr21-Sep-11 18:04 
GeneralMy vote of 3 PinmemberMember 810932425-Jul-11 1:37 
GeneralMy vote of 4 Pinmemberfyarbasi4-Oct-10 1:07 
QuestionHow to Make Bold in Part of an Excel Cell - Need Eargent help!!!!!!! Pinmembersupuna2u12-Sep-10 17:16 
QuestionOpening an excel workbook from Document Library PinmembersuruKarthik30-Mar-10 23:16 
How to open an excel workbook which is of type SPListItem from "Shared Documents" of a sharepoint site through C# code?
 
the code below is used to open a workbook located in our local machine:
Microsoft.Office.Interop.Excel.Workbook workBook = app.Workbooks.Open("c:\..\somefile.xls", 0, false, 5, "", "", false, XlPlatform.xlWindows, "", true, false, 0, true, false, false);
 
In case of shared documents, which pathname do we have to specify?
QuestionHow to make it work with Excel 2007 Pinmemberth3_m0t410-Feb-10 13:48 
AnswerRe: How to make it work with Excel 2007 PinmemberNarsters10-Feb-10 18:08 
GeneralReading Excel Embeded objects PinmemberShrihari Devji7-Jan-10 20:15 
GeneralThank you very much PinmemberBidesh Mukherjee25-Nov-09 0:44 
QuestionWhat exactly are the downloaded source files supposed to do? Pinmemberstapes2-Mar-09 5:35 
AnswerRe: What exactly are the downloaded source files supposed to do? PinmemberNarsters2-Mar-09 6:40 
GeneralThe server threw an exception.(Exception from HRESULT: 0x80010105(RPC_E_SERVERFAULT)) PinmemberMember 13942176-Nov-08 6:14 
GeneralThanks a bunch!!!! PinmemberArcherthegreat28-Oct-08 17:12 
GeneralPopulating an Excel "template" in ASP.NET Pinmemberslapmatt10-Sep-08 23:03 
GeneralRe: Populating an Excel "template" in ASP.NET PinmemberJeff Ruys12-Sep-08 9:59 
GeneralRe: Populating an Excel "template" in ASP.NET PinmemberCikaPero12-Apr-11 22:37 
QuestionCom Exception 0x80028018 TYPE_E_INVDATAREAD Pinmembertho_wa9-Sep-08 1:25 
AnswerRe: Com Exception 0x80028018 TYPE_E_INVDATAREAD PinmemberJeff Ruys12-Sep-08 10:21 
AnswerRe: Com Exception 0x80028018 TYPE_E_INVDATAREAD Pinmemberofercinn17-Sep-08 2:21 
GeneralRe: Com Exception 0x80028018 TYPE_E_INVDATAREAD PinmemberMember 119956312-Jul-10 13:04 
GeneralRe: Com Exception 0x80028018 TYPE_E_INVDATAREAD Pinmembernafzali15-Sep-11 6:05 
QuestionHow to move to last row of Active WorkSheet programmatically using C#? PinmemberDinesh Patel18-Aug-08 19:56 
AnswerRe: How to move to last row of Active WorkSheet programmatically using C#? PinmemberJeff Ruys21-Aug-08 8:26 
QuestionHow to insert a row from one excel to another using c#.net 2005? PinmemberVDivyaReddy13-Aug-08 23:15 
AnswerRe: How to insert a row from one excel to another using c#.net 2005? Pinmemberrajkumarsingh3-Oct-08 0:18 

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