Sunday, March 12, 2006

XLS(MS Excel) Emitter for BIRT

For those who wanted an xls emitter for a long time, finally here may be a chance to taste. Thanks the Apache POI project and the new layout engine of BIRT 2.0, now we can easily create an xls emitter though it looks obviously not that fancy yet.

To install and use:

1. Install and run Birt correctly first. Since various api changed between 2.0RC and release version in birt engine, This plugin will only work with BIRT 2.0.0/2.0.1 final release(You need to download corresponding packages).

2. Extract the downloaded plugin file into the eclipse plugins directory.

3. Download Apahce POI library from apache site, put it in the /lib directory under the extracted xls plugin folder. You must donwload the latest 3.0 dev version, since the 2.5 release version doesn’t support the image output. A tested and recommended version is poi-3.0-alpha1-20050704.jar.

4. Download and apply the chart&designer&viewer patch file so to make the xls plugin work correctly both in the designer and viewer. If you are building BIRT from a CVS source tree, override the soure file; if you are just using the binary BIRT sdk, replace the class files in related plugin jar. Here is the list:

org.eclipse.birt.chart.reportitem org\eclipse\birt\chart\reportitem\ChartReportItemPresentationImpl in plugins/org.eclipse.birt.chart.reportitem_2.0.x/reportitem.jar org\eclipse\birt\report\designer\ui\actions\PreviewToolbarMenuAction in plugins/ org\eclipse\birt\report\viewer\aggregation\layout\EngineFragment in plugins/

Though only three files are involved, this is just to make the designer/viewer simply work with the xls emitter. So the xls option will only appear in the preview toolbar action, sure you can apply your own patch to make it visible in the File menu as well.

5. Ok, now create a report as usual and choose preview as XLS, enjoy:)

Both binary and source are available now:).

For BIRT2.0.0
Download binary:
Download source:

For BIRT2.0.1
Download binary:
Download source:

(If you have problem downloading the above files, try right click the link and select "save target as..." or use some web proxies.)


At March 17, 2006 5:32 PM, Blogger seno said...

i can't download files,http 403 error!

At March 18, 2006 3:08 PM, Blogger Scott Rosenbaum said...

Will you be EclipseCon next week? I had a look at your presentation and would like to use it, basically demo it in the BIRT In Depth demonstration.


At March 20, 2006 6:43 PM, Blogger Shawn said...

Scott, sorry I don't get a chance to go ElipseCon. But feel free to use this in the demonstration.


At March 21, 2006 11:05 PM, Blogger erickj said...

Hi, i can't download any one of files

At March 26, 2006 6:57 AM, Blogger plamen_al said...

I was wondering when would you decide to read these posts and help me out with the http 403 error. Or perharps this is an invitation for a hack on the server. However, I don't mean to be rude or but i'd really like to download this XLS emmiter.

At March 26, 2006 8:52 PM, Blogger Shawn said...

Hi, try right click the link and select "save target as..." or use some web proxies. The hosting sever seems not work well sometime, but I can do nothing.

At April 18, 2006 1:56 PM, Blogger imre said...

Hi, this is a really good plugin. I currenty use birt 2.0.1 final release.
I created a very simple report with ClassicModels sample db.

And export it to excel. In this report there are two colums. In excel the first column is in column 'C' and the second columns is in 'F' and after these columns there are a lot of columns where the column width is 0,17 and there is not row and column identifiers. I am using MS Excel 2003. Is it a bug or the problem is with my excel?

thx in advance
-imre farkas

At April 20, 2006 8:11 PM, Blogger Shawn said...

imre, actually this is neither a bug of the emitter nor problem of your excel. The result depends on the output of BIRT layout engine. Briefly, for one cell, the layout engine doesn't just ouput one area, instead it splits the cell into several overlapped areas with varied sizes. However there is no way to know which area is really what you want.

But just be patient:), the next version will support a "use fixed column width" setting, then you could specify a column width manually and won't see so many dazzling columns.


At May 08, 2006 1:26 PM, Blogger Radek said...

I just noticed that to download those files you have to add a www. prefix in urls, so for example: instead of

At May 18, 2006 11:26 AM, Blogger Rob said...

Great plugin! I did have a question on the Excel formatting though. This may just be due to this emitter being in development still.

I have a simple table in BIRT. 2 columns and a header title row. When run against my db it retrieves 2 data rows. When I export this to XLS using this emitter though, I would want (hope) to see 2 excel columns used and 3 rows. However, Excel actually uses 7 columns (blank columns are seen between the actual columns that contain text) and 4 rows. Based on the above comments, is this due to the emitter (or BIRT layout engine) actually trying to visually place things? as opposed to putting one data element in one cell? I have an example .xls file I can email if i'm not explaining well.

Will the 'constant column width' enhancment mentioned above solve this issue & put one data item in one cell and not run over into multiple columns?

Essentially, will it behave more like importing a .csv file in that case? If I export my BIRT table to .csv and then open in excel it opens as I would expect (uses 2 columns instead of 7).

Also, I would love to use the 'next version' as soon as possible. Is there any timeframe on when that will be released? Thanks


At August 01, 2006 5:04 AM, Blogger Arvind said...

I have downloaded the plugin for BIRT 2.0.1, but I found the abouve said problem of dazzling columns and rows.

But, Will the rptdesign file created in BIRT 2.0.1 designer work in BIRT 2.1 report engine?
if so, Must i upgrade my eclipse plugins and eclipse version to 3.2?

Please help me.........Im stuck here due to this problem.

At August 24, 2006 1:16 AM, Blogger Arvind said...

Im using BIRT 2.1 report engine with Tribix XLS plugin.
I have exported to Excel document but there is a problem in exporting images to excel sheet, the image height and width adjusts itself to the cell's height and width. How can i sort it out?

Then, pls tell me what are all the options(fixed_column_width) used to tweek our excel export?. Their variable names and values.

Thanks in advance.

At September 11, 2006 2:09 PM, Blogger David Oliver said...

Hi there. Would love to know if there is a way to integrate this emitter into a stand-alone java app.

At March 01, 2007 2:56 AM, Blogger sj said...

hi,I use the xls emitter plugin in web system.when run in tomcat,the web app is ok,but when run in websphere6.0,the web app report the error,the message is can't instantiate class with property class.
What's problem?

At April 08, 2008 3:03 PM, Blogger MayMast said...

There is a major bug on this plugin.

When exporting to excel a chart with multiple series. The emitter is supposed to export the source of each on of the series in a different column of the same sheet. How ever the data of the last series is reapated in the rest of the columns.

Will be this fixed any time soon??

At April 08, 2008 3:06 PM, Blogger MayMast said...

There is a major bug on this plugin.

When exporting to excel a chart with multiple series. The emitter is supposed to export the source of each on of the series in a different column of the same sheet. How ever the data of the last series is reapated in the rest of the columns.

Will be this fixed any time soon??

Wilfred Maynham
Vichara Technologies

At April 10, 2008 1:32 AM, Blogger Shawn said...

Wilfred, I'm not sure I've fully understood the question. Can you file a bug at Tribix projet site and attach a screenshot to elaborate a little more? thanks.

At May 21, 2008 2:22 PM, Blogger samy said...

Hi, I installed the emitter and poi into my birt2.2.1 web application, birt engine and eclipse /plugin/, but when I tried to open the exported xls file, I got an Excel error: Problems came up in the following areas during load: Style.

Did I installed the emitter correctly? Please HELP!!! Thanks.

At January 27, 2009 7:18 AM, Blogger RahulK said...

Yhe new version seems to solve the multiple column issue for xls emitter using "fixed_column_width". But i am still getting multiple rows for single cell of birt row, causing distracted output. Please suggest, is there a way to specify the fixed row height also?


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