You can use a library called ExcelLibrary. It's a free, open source library posted on Google Code:
This looks to be a port of the PHP ExcelWriter that you mentioned above. It will not write to the new .xlsx format yet, but they are working on adding that functionality in.
It's very simple, small and easy to use. Plus it has a DataSetHelper that lets you use DataSets and DataTables to easily work with Excel data.
ExcelLibrary seems to still only work for the older Excel format (.xls files), but may be adding support in the future for newer 2007/2010 formats.
You can also use EPPlus, which works only for Excel 2007/2010 format files (.xlsx files). There's also NPOI which works with both.
There are a few known bugs with each library as noted in the comments. In all, EPPlus seems to be the best choice as time goes on. It seems to be more actively updated and documented as well.
Also, as noted by @АртёмЦарионов below, EPPlus has support for Pivot Tables and ExcelLibrary may have some support (Pivot table issue in ExcelLibrary)
Here are a couple links for quick reference:
ExcelLibrary - GNU Lesser GPL
EPPlus - GNU (LGPL) - No longer maintained
EPPlus 5 - Polyform Noncommercial - Starting May 2020
NPOI - Apache License
Here some example code for ExcelLibrary:
Here is an example taking data from a database and creating a workbook from it. Note that the ExcelLibrary code is the single line at the bottom:
//Create the data set and table
DataSet ds = new DataSet("New_DataSet");
DataTable dt = new DataTable("New_DataTable");
//Set the locale for each
ds.Locale = System.Threading.Thread.CurrentThread.CurrentCulture;
dt.Locale = System.Threading.Thread.CurrentThread.CurrentCulture;
//Open a DB connection (in this example with OleDB)
OleDbConnection con = new OleDbConnection(dbConnectionString);
//Create a query and fill the data table with the data from the DB
string sql = "SELECT Whatever FROM MyDBTable;";
OleDbCommand cmd = new OleDbCommand(sql, con);
OleDbDataAdapter adptr = new OleDbDataAdapter();
adptr.SelectCommand = cmd;
//Add the table to the data set
//Here's the easy part. Create the Excel worksheet from the data set
Creating the Excel file is as easy as that. You can also manually create Excel files, but the above functionality is what really impressed me.
Contrary to the answers here, you DON'T need to worry about encoding if the bytes don't need to be interpreted!
Like you mentioned, your goal is, simply, to "get what bytes the string has been stored in".
(And, of course, to be able to re-construct the string from the bytes.)
For those goals, I honestly do not understand why people keep telling you that you need the encodings. You certainly do NOT need to worry about encodings for this.
Just do this instead:
static byte GetBytes(string str)
byte bytes = new byte[str.Length * sizeof(char)];
System.Buffer.BlockCopy(str.ToCharArray(), 0, bytes, 0, bytes.Length);
// Do NOT use on arbitrary bytes; only use on GetBytes's output on the SAME system
static string GetString(byte bytes)
char chars = new char[bytes.Length / sizeof(char)];
System.Buffer.BlockCopy(bytes, 0, chars, 0, bytes.Length);
return new string(chars);
As long as your program (or other programs) don't try to interpret the bytes somehow, which you obviously didn't mention you intend to do, then there is nothing wrong with this approach! Worrying about encodings just makes your life more complicated for no real reason.
Additional benefit to this approach: It doesn't matter if the string contains invalid characters, because you can still get the data and reconstruct the original string anyway!
It will be encoded and decoded just the same, because you are just looking at the bytes.
If you used a specific encoding, though, it would've given you trouble with encoding/decoding invalid characters.
I doubt there is. Personally I would create a separate DTO, as it sounds like you're trying to make one object serve two jobs. Another option would be to use the
XmlSerializerctor that allows you to specify attribs at runtime, but this is much more work than
So if you just want it to work:
[XmlIgnore]. If you want it to be "pure", create a second DTO model and translate between them.