I am looking for a library in building such an application. From my research I have seen the use of the COM reference - MS Excel Object Library but this requires that the user have MS excel (Office) installed. I have also seen the use of external libraries to export to excel. We have all used applications that are installed then you can export and export to excel and it didn't require anything but .NET.

My question is how do I approach this development keeping in mind:
- it can be installed on all windows computers that has .NET
- used on a system that doesn't have MS Excel installed
- open source solution

  • 1
    Is this not better pitched on Stack Overflow?
    – CJM
    Jun 13, 2017 at 12:51
  • I wasn't sure where it should be since i was looking for Software design industry concepts for importing/exporting/modifying excel files.
    – Raidenlee
    Jun 13, 2017 at 15:05
  • Then, maybe softwareengineering.stackexchange.com ? If you leave it here, I would advise you to reword it so that you are actually asking us to recommend some software Jun 19, 2017 at 7:38
  • 1
    @CJM: no, this question is off-topic on SO. Oct 12, 2017 at 13:07

2 Answers 2


Syncfusion provides file parsing libraries for Excel - Essential XlsIO and other formats. You can use these libraries to export and import Excel.

Can be used with just .NET on a computer No need to have Excel installed.

Essential XlsIO

If you need to view or edit Excel documents interactively in the application, you can use the Spreadsheet control.

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The whole suite of controls and libraries is available for free through the community license program if you qualify (less than 1 million USD in revenue). Note: I work for Syncfusion.


I have used EPPlus several times and I was happy with it.

  • it does not need Excel to be installed
  • does not use COM references and the API is much cleaner
  • can simply be deployed as an additional DLL
  • is open source

Be aware that it may not be feature complete. Doing standard things works well, but do not expect it to support the most curious feature. At the time I used it last, it did e.g. not support XSLM files (Excel files with macros).

  • 1
    thank you for the response and edits. This is actually what I had in mind. I will revert when i am finished testing.
    – Raidenlee
    Oct 12, 2017 at 14:07

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