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Introduction -- how to generate Excel files

What is Spreadsheet_Excel_Writer?

Spreadsheet_Excel_Writer is a tool for creating Excel files without the need for COM components. The files generated by the current version of Spreadsheet_Excel_Writer correspond to the Excel 5 (BIFF5) format, so all functionality until that version of Excel (but not beyond) should be available.

Using it

The most common use for Spreadsheet_Excel_Writer will be spitting out large (or not so large) amounts of information in the form of a spreadsheet, which is easy to manipulate with a fairly ubiquitous spreadsheet program such as Excel (or OpenOffice).

So let's cut to the chase and see how this is done:

The first thing you should notice, is that we created a workbook before any worksheets. All worksheets are contained within a workbook, and a workbook may contain several worksheets.

Another important thing, which you should have in mind when programming with Spreadsheet_Excel_Writer, is that ampersand sign (&) that appears when we created our worksheet. That ampersand means we are referencing a Worksheet object instead of copying it. If you don't know what that means, don't worry, all you have to remember is to always use ampersands when calling addWorksheet() for creating a worksheet, or addFormat() for creating a format.

Saving to a regular file

You may have noticed also the following line:
// sending HTTP headers
What that means is that we are sending our spreadsheet to a browser. But what if we just want to save the spreadsheet in our machine? Well, you just have to omit that line and give a valid file path to the workbook constructor.

For example, if we wanted to save the same spreadsheet we created in our first example to a file named 'test.xls', we would do it like so:

More tutorials

If you would like to learn about formatting (fonts, cell color, text alignment, etc...) with Spreadsheet_Excel_Writer, you can check the formatting tutorial here.

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