Axlsx: Office Open XML Spreadsheet Generation

Build Status Click here to lend your support to: axlsx and make a donation at ! / #axlsx



Google Group:!forum/axlsx

Author: Randy Morgan

Copyright: 2011 - 2012

License: MIT License

Latest Version: 1.2.2

Ruby Version: 1.8.7, 1.9.2, 1.9.3

JRuby Version: 1.6.7 1.8 and 1.9 modes

Rubinius Version: rubinius 2.0.0dev * lower versions may run, this gem always tests against head.

Release Date: August 27th 2012

If you are working in rails, or with active record see:

** and **

  • Axlsx_Rails provides an Axlsx renderer so you can move all your spreadsheet code from your controller into view files. Partials are supported so you can organize any code into reusable chunks (e.g. cover sheets, common styling, etc.) You can use it with acts_as_xlsx, placing the to_xlsx call in a view and add ':package => xlsx_package' to the parameter list. Now you can keep your controllers thin!

There are guides for using axlsx and acts_as_xlsx here:

The examples directory contains a number of more specific examples as well.


Axlsx is an Office Open XML Spreadsheet generator for the Ruby programming language. With Axlsx you can create excel worksheets with charts, images (with links), automated and fixed column widths, customized styles, functions, tables, conditional formatting, print options, comments, merged cells, auto filters, file and stream serialization as well as full schema validation. Axlsx excels at helping you generate beautiful Office Open XML Spreadsheet documents without having to understand the entire ECMA specification.

Screen 1

Feature List

**1. Author xlsx documents: Axlsx is made to let you easily and quickly generate professional xlsx based reports that can be validated before serialization.

**2. Generate 3D Pie, Line, Scatter and Bar Charts: With Axlsx chart generation and management is as easy as a few lines of code. You can build charts based off data in your worksheet or generate charts without any data in your sheet at all. Customize gridlines, label rotation and series colors as well.

**3. Custom Styles: With guaranteed document validity, you can style borders, alignment, fills, fonts, and number formats in a single line of code. Those styles can be applied to an entire row, or a single cell anywhere in your workbook.

**4. Automatic type support: Axlsx will automatically determine the type of data you are generating. In this release Float, Integer, String, Date, Time and Boolean types are automatically identified and serialized to your spreadsheet.

**5. Automatic and fixed column widths: Axlsx will automatically determine the appropriate width for your columns based on the content in the worksheet, or use any value you specify for the really funky stuff.

**6. Support for automatically formatted 1904 and 1900 epochs configurable in the workbook.

**7. Add jpg, gif and png images to worksheets with hyperlinks

**8. Reference cells in your worksheet with "A1" and "A1:D4" style references or from the workbook using "Sheet1!A3:B4" style references

**9. Cell level style overrides for default and customized style objects

**10. Support for formulas, merging, row and column outlining as well as cell level input data validation.

**12. Auto filtering tables with worksheet.auto_filter as well as support for Tables

**13. Export using shared strings or inline strings so we can inter-op with iWork Numbers (sans charts for now).

**14. Output to file or StringIO

**15. Support for page margins and print options

**16. Support for password and non password based sheet protection.

**17. First stage interoperability support for GoogleDocs, LibreOffice, and Numbers

**18. Support for defined names, which gives you repeated header rows for printing.

**19. Data labels for charts as well as series color customization.


To install Axlsx, use the following command:

$ gem install axlsx


The example listing is getting overly large to maintain here. If you are using Yard, you will be able to see the examples in line below.

Here's a teaser that kicks about 2% of what the gem can do. do |p|
  p.workbook.add_worksheet(:name => "Pie Chart") do |sheet|
    sheet.add_row ["Simple Pie Chart"]
    %w(first second third).each { |label| sheet.add_row [label, rand(24)+1] }
    sheet.add_chart(Axlsx::Pie3DChart, :start_at => [0,5], :end_at => [10, 20], :title => "example 3: Pie Chart") do |chart|
      chart.add_series :data => sheet["B2:B4"], :labels => sheet["A2:A4"],  :colors => ['FF0000', '00FF00', '0000FF']

Please see the examples for more.

There is much, much more you can do with this gem. If you get stuck, grab me on IRC or submit an issue to GitHub. Chances are that it has already been implemented. If it hasn't - let's take a look at adding it in.


This gem is 100% documented with YARD, an exceptional documentation library. To see documentation for this, and all the gems installed on your system use:

 gem install yard

 yard server -g


This gem has 100% test coverage using test/unit. To execute tests for this gem, simply run rake in the gem directory.

Change log

  • August.27.12: 1.2.2
    • minor patch for auto-filters
    • minor documentation improvements.
  • August.12.12: 1.2.1
    • Add support for hyperlinks in worksheets
    • Fix example that was using old style cell merging with concact.
    • Fix bug that occurs when calculating the font_size for cells that use a user specified style which does not define sz
  • August.5.12: 1.2.0
    • rebuilt worksheet serialization to clean up the code base a bit.
    • added data labels for charts
    • added table header printing for each sheet via defined_name. This means that when you print your worksheet, the header rows show for every page
  • July.??.12: 1.1.9 release
    • lots of code clean up for worksheet
    • added in data labels for pie charts, line charts and bar charts.
    • bugfix chard with data in a sheet that has a space in the name are now auto updating formula based values
  • July.14.12: 1.1.8 release
    • added html entity encoding for sheet names. This allows you to use characters like '<' and '&' in your sheet names.
    • new - first round google docs interoperability
    • added filter to strip out control characters from cell data.
    • added in interop requirements so that charts are properly exported to PDF from Libra Office
    • various readability improvements and work standardizing attribute names to snake_case. Aliases are provided for backward compatiblity
  • June.11.12: 1.1.7 release
    • fix chart rendering issue when label offset is specified as a percentage in serialization and ensure that formula are not stored in value caches
    • fix bug that causes repair warnings when using a text only title reference.
    • Add title property to axis so you can lable the x/y/series axis for charts.
    • Add sheet views with panes

Please see the CHANGELOG document for past release information.

Known interoperability issues.

As axslx implements the Office Open XML (ECMA-376 spec) much of the functionality is interoperable with other spreadsheet software. Below is a listing of some known issues.

  1. Libra Office

    • You must specify colors for your series. see examples/chart_colors.rb for an example.
    • You must use data in your sheet for charts. You cannot use hard coded values.
    • Chart axis and gridlines do not render. I have a feeling this is related to themes, which axlsx does not implement at this time.
  2. Google Docs

    • Images are known to not work with google docs
    • border colors do not work
  3. Numbers

    • you must set 'use_shared_strings' to true
    • charts do not render


Open source software is a community effort. None of this could have been done without the help of the people below.

ochko - for performance fixes, kicking the crap out of axlsx and helping to maintain my general sanity.

kleine2 - for generously donating in return for the image hyperlink feature.

ffmike - for knocking down an over restrictive i18n dependency, massive patience and great communication skills.

JonathanTron - for giving the gem some style, and making sure it applies.

JosephHalter - for making sure we arrive at the right time on the right date.

noniq - for keeping true to the gem's style, and making sure what we put on paper does not get marginalized.

jurriaan - for showing there is more than one way to skin a cat, and work with rows while you are at it.

joekain - for keeping our references working even in the double digits!

moskrin - for keeping border creation on the edge.

scpike - for keeping numbers fixed even when they are rational and a super clean implementation of conditional formatting.

janhuehne - for working out the decoder ring and adding in cell level validation, and providing a support for window panes.

rfc2616 - for FINALLY working out the interop issues with google docs.

straydogstudio - For making an AWESOME axlsx templating gem for rails.

MitchellAJ - For catching a bug in font_size calculations, finding some old code in an example and above all for reporting all of that brilliantly

Copyright and License

Axlsx © 2011-2012 by Randy Morgan. Axlsx is licensed under the MIT license. Please see the LICENSE document for more information.