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Tutorial 2: Adding formatting to the XLSX File

In the previous section we created a simple spreadsheet using Lua and the xlsxwriter module.

This converted the required data into an Excel file but it looked a little bare. In order to make the information clearer we would like to add some simple formatting, like this:

The differences here are that we have added Item and Cost column headers in a bold font, we have formatted the currency in the second column and we have made the Total string bold.

To do this we can extend our program as follows:

html

(The significant changes are shown with a red line.)

local Workbook = require "xlsxwriter.workbook"


-- Create a workbook and add a worksheet.
local workbook  = Workbook:new("Expensese02.xlsx")
local worksheet = workbook:add_worksheet()

-- Add a bold format to use to highlight cells.
local bold = workbook:add_format({bold = true})

-- Add a number format for cells with money.
local money = workbook:add_format({num_format = "$#,##0"})

-- Write some data header.
worksheet:write("A1", "Item", bold)
worksheet:write("B1", "Cost", bold)

-- Some data we want to write to the worksheet.
local expenses = {
  {"Rent", 1000},
  {"Gas",   100},
  {"Food",  300},
  {"Gym",    50},
}

-- Start from the first cell below the headers.
local row = 1
local col = 0

-- Iterate over the data and write it out element by element.
for _, expense in ipairs(expenses) do
  local item, cost = unpack(expense)
  worksheet:write(row, col,     item)
  worksheet:write(row, col + 1, cost, money)
  row = row + 1
end

-- Write a total using a formula.
worksheet:write(row, 0, "Total",       bold)
worksheet:write(row, 1, "=SUM(B2:B5)", money)

workbook:close()

The main difference between this and the previous program is that we have added two Format <Format> objects that we can use to format cells in the spreadsheet.

Format objects represent all of the formatting properties that can be applied to a cell in Excel such as fonts, number formatting, colors and borders. This is explained in more detail in format and working_with_formats.

For now we will avoid getting into the details and just use a limited amount of the format functionality to add some simple formatting:

 -- Add a bold format to use to highlight cells.
 local bold = workbook:add_format({bold = true})

 -- Add a number format for cells with money.
 local money = workbook:add_format({num_format = "$#,##0"})

We can then pass these formats as an optional third parameter to the worksheet. <Worksheet>write() method to format the data in the cell:

 write(row, column, token, [format])

Like this:

 worksheet:write(row, 0, "Total", bold)

Which leads us to another new feature in this program. To add the headers in the first row of the worksheet we used write() like this:

 worksheet:write("A1", "Item", bold)
 worksheet:write("B1", "Cost", bold)

So, instead of (row, col) we used the Excel "A1" style notation. See cell_notation for more details but don't be too concerned about it for now. It is just a little syntactic sugar to help with laying out worksheets.

In the next section we will look at handling more data types.


Last updated: 12 months ago | Edit on GitHub

Package:xlsxwriter
Pkg type:Lua
Version: v0.0.6-28-g34a34b8
Last commit:
Author: John McNamara
License: MIT

Requires: none

Required by: none


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