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Posted 7 Dec 2008

Export DataSet to Multiple Excel Sheets

, 12 Dec 2008
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Exporting multiple tables in a DataSet to multiple sheets in an Excel file


I was in need of exporting multiple tables in a DataSet to an Excel file with multiple sheets, and I couldn't find anything that actually works. So, I wrote one to help people who might be in the same situation. The complete code in ExcelHelper.cs is shown below.

This only works for Excel 2003 and later versions. If a table in the dataset has more than 65,000 rows, it will break it into multiple sheets for the table with sheet name (tableNameX). replaceXmlChar() function is added to escape XML reserved characters.

Limitations of the Code

It does not handle data tables with more than 256 columns (Excel 2003 column limit), and when data tables have very large rows count, it might throw OutOfMemory exception.

Using the Code

To export a DataSet, just call the ExcelHelper.ToExcel() function as follows:

var ds = new DataSet();
           var dt = new DataTable("TableName For Sheet1");
           dt.Rows.Add("Value1", "Value2");

           var dt2 = new DataTable("TableName For Sheet2");
           dt2.Rows.Add("Value1", "Value2");
           ExcelHelper.ToExcel(ds, "test.xls", Page.Response);

Here is the code that does the exporting:


public class ExcelHelper
    //Row limits older Excel version per sheet
        const int rowLimit = 65000;

        private static string getWorkbookTemplate()
            var sb = new StringBuilder();
            sb.Append("<xml version>\r\n<Workbook
            sb.Append(" xmlns:o=\"urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office\"\r\n
		xmlns:x=\"urn:schemas- microsoft-com:office:excel\"\r\n
            sb.Append(" <Styles>\r\n
		<Style ss:ID=\"Default\" ss:Name=\"Normal\">\r\n
		<Alignment ss:Vertical=\"Bottom\"/>\r\n <Borders/>");
            sb.Append("\r\n <Font/>\r\n <Interior/>\r\n <NumberFormat/>\r\n
		<Protection/>\r\n </Style>\r\n
		<Style ss:ID=\"BoldColumn\">\r\n <Font ");
            sb.Append("x:Family=\"Swiss\" ss:Bold=\"1\"/>\r\n </Style>\r\n
		<Style ss:ID=\"s62\">\r\n <NumberFormat");
            sb.Append(" ss:Format=\"@\"/>\r\n </Style>\r\n
		<Style ss:ID=\"Decimal\">\r\n
		<NumberFormat ss:Format=\"0.0000\"/>\r\n </Style>\r\n ");
            sb.Append("<Style ss:ID=\"Integer\">\r\n
		<NumberFormat ss:Format=\"0\"/>\r\n </Style>\r\n
		<Style ss:ID=\"DateLiteral\">\r\n <NumberFormat ");
            sb.Append("ss:Format=\"mm/dd/yyyy;@\"/>\r\n </Style>\r\n
		<Style ss:ID=\"s28\">\r\n");
            sb.Append("<Alignment ss:Horizontal=\"Left\" ss:Vertical=\"Top\"
		ss:ReadingOrder=\"LeftToRight\" ss:WrapText=\"1\"/>\r\n");
            sb.Append("<Font x:CharSet=\"1\" ss:Size=\"9\"
		ss:Color=\"#808080\" ss:Underline=\"Single\"/>\r\n");
            sb.Append("<Interior ss:Color=\"#FFFFFF\" ss:Pattern=\"Solid\"/>

		</Style>\r\n</Styles>\r\n {0}</Workbook>");
            return sb.ToString();

        private static string replaceXmlChar(string input)
            input = input.Replace("&", "&");
            input = input.Replace("<", "<");
            input = input.Replace(">", ">");
            input = input.Replace("\"", """);
            input = input.Replace("'", "&apos;");
            return input;

        private static string getWorksheets(DataSet source)
            var sw = new StringWriter();
            if (source == null || source.Tables.Count == 0)
                sw.Write("<Worksheet ss:Name=\"Sheet1\"><Table><Row>

		<Cell  ss:StyleID=\"s62\"><Data ss:Type=\"String\"></Data>
                return sw.ToString();
            foreach (DataTable dt in source.Tables)
                if (dt.Rows.Count == 0)
                    sw.Write("<Worksheet ss:Name=\"" + replaceXmlChar(dt.TableName) +
			"\"><Table><Row><Cell  ss:StyleID=\"s62\">

			<Data ss:Type=\"String\"></Data></Cell></Row>
                    //write each row data
                    var sheetCount = 0;
                    for (int i = 0; i < dt.Rows.Count; i++)
                        if ((i % rowLimit) == 0)
                            //add close tags for previous sheet of the same data table
                            if ((i / rowLimit) > sheetCount)
                                sheetCount = (i / rowLimit);
                            sw.Write("<Worksheet ss:Name=\"" +
				replaceXmlChar(dt.TableName) +
                                     (((i / rowLimit) == 0) ? "" :
				Convert.ToString(i / rowLimit)) + "\"><Table>");
                            //write column name row
                            foreach (DataColumn dc in dt.Columns)
                                        "<Cell ss:StyleID=\"BoldColumn\">

				<Data ss:Type=\"String\">{0}</Data></Cell>",
                        foreach (DataColumn dc in dt.Columns)
                                    "<Cell ss:StyleID=\"s62\"><Data ss:Type=\"String\">


            return sw.ToString();
        public static string GetExcelXml(DataTable dtInput, string filename)
            var excelTemplate = getWorkbookTemplate();
            var ds = new DataSet();
            var worksheets = getWorksheets(ds);
            var excelXml = string.Format(excelTemplate, worksheets);
            return excelXml;

        public static string GetExcelXml(DataSet dsInput, string filename)
            var excelTemplate = getWorkbookTemplate();
            var worksheets = getWorksheets(dsInput);
            var excelXml = string.Format(excelTemplate, worksheets);
            return excelXml;

        public static void ToExcel
		(DataSet dsInput, string filename, HttpResponse response)
            var excelXml = GetExcelXml(dsInput, filename);
            response.AppendHeader("Content-Type", "application/");
		("Content-disposition", "attachment; filename=" + filename);

        public static void ToExcel
		(DataTable dtInput, string filename, HttpResponse response)
            var ds = new DataSet();
            ToExcel(ds, filename, response);


  • 7th December, 2008: Initial post
  • 8th December, 2008: Source code and article updated
  • 11th December, 2008: Source code and article updated


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


About the Author

Software Developer Oliver Wyman Groups
United States United States
Education: Masters in Applied mathematics

MCP in
MCP in SQL Server 2008 Implementation.

Working Experience In .Net since 2005

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Comments and Discussions

GeneralMy vote of 5 Pin
ARK Kambhampati27-Feb-12 21:03
memberARK Kambhampati27-Feb-12 21:03 
QuestionAlternate row color Pin
kinjalin29-Nov-11 22:02
memberkinjalin29-Nov-11 22:02 
GeneralMy vote of 5 Pin
Fredde197728-Sep-11 4:50
memberFredde197728-Sep-11 4:50 
Questionneed help with style sheet error [modified] Pin
talmans26-Aug-11 13:47
membertalmans26-Aug-11 13:47 
BugNot woking with Marquee taq? Pin
muthura120-Jun-11 2:39
membermuthura120-Jun-11 2:39 
GeneralMy vote of 5! Pin
Filip D'haene14-May-11 12:11
memberFilip D'haene14-May-11 12:11 
QuestionCell Formatting.. Issues...? Pin
codingrocks13-Mar-11 3:24
membercodingrocks13-Mar-11 3:24 
AnswerRe: Cell Formatting.. Issues...? Pin
Ming_Lu13-Mar-11 15:41
memberMing_Lu13-Mar-11 15:41 
you can try to use Excel to create the template you need, then the xml output of the template to see how things defined, then produce the xml in the code.
GeneralMy vote of 4 Pin
praveen_adb9-Jan-11 21:26
memberpraveen_adb9-Jan-11 21:26 
GeneralMy vote of 5 Pin
bacoares23-Nov-10 5:48
memberbacoares23-Nov-10 5:48 
GeneralMy vote of 5 Pin
L.H.C1-Oct-10 19:56
memberL.H.C1-Oct-10 19:56 
GeneralEasy alternative Pin
CikaPero13-Apr-10 23:52
memberCikaPero13-Apr-10 23:52 
GeneralAuto Fit Excel Columns Pin
Member 465177014-Jan-10 2:10
memberMember 465177014-Jan-10 2:10 
GeneralSys.WebForms.PageRequestManagerParserErrorException Pin
Steve Crochet28-Dec-09 10:14
memberSteve Crochet28-Dec-09 10:14 
GeneralRe: Sys.WebForms.PageRequestManagerParserErrorException Pin
Ming_Lu2-Jan-10 4:55
memberMing_Lu2-Jan-10 4:55 
GeneralRe: Sys.WebForms.PageRequestManagerParserErrorException Pin
Steve Crochet4-Jan-10 6:44
memberSteve Crochet4-Jan-10 6:44 
QuestionWhat shd i use instead of var?? Pin
Bushra2813-Oct-09 0:12
memberBushra2813-Oct-09 0:12 
GeneralBig File Size Pin
txshxx4-Oct-09 18:12
membertxshxx4-Oct-09 18:12 
QuestionExport to Excel 2003 using ASP [modified] Pin
karansaxena15-Jun-09 11:46
memberkaransaxena15-Jun-09 11:46 
GeneralHandle linefeed in cells Pin
DACS13-Mar-09 14:43
memberDACS13-Mar-09 14:43 
AnswerRe: Handle linefeed in cells Pin
Ming_Lu3-Apr-09 8:18
memberMing_Lu3-Apr-09 8:18 
GeneralRe: Handle linefeed in cells Pin
DACS3-Apr-09 22:35
memberDACS3-Apr-09 22:35 
QuestionCan I use this class in Windows Application? Pin
Su Win8-Mar-09 5:17
memberSu Win8-Mar-09 5:17 
AnswerRe: Can I use this class in Windows Application? Pin
Ming_Lu3-Apr-09 8:29
memberMing_Lu3-Apr-09 8:29 
GeneralRe: Can I use this class in Windows Application? Pin
Su Win5-Apr-09 18:26
memberSu Win5-Apr-09 18:26 

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