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This little gem provides an alternative interface to the Apache POI java library, for JRuby. For now the API is targeted at wrapping spreadsheets. We may expand this in the future.


$ gem install jruby-poi


It's pretty simple really, create an instance of POI::Workbook and access its sheets, rows, and cells. You can read from the spreadsheet, save it (as the filename with which you created or as a new spreadsheet via Workbook#save_as).

require 'poi'

# given an Excel spreadsheet whose first sheet (Sheet 1) has this data:
#    A  B  C  D  E        
# 1  4     A     2010-01-04
# 2  3     B     =DATE(YEAR($E$1), MONTH($E$1), A2)
# 3  2     C     =DATE(YEAR($E$1), MONTH($E$1), A3)
# 4  1     D     =DATE(YEAR($E$1), MONTH($E$1), A4)

workbook = POI::Workbook.open('spreadsheet.xlsx')
sheet = workbook.worksheets["Sheet 1"]
rows  = sheet.rows

# get a cell's value -- returns the value as its proper type, evaluating formulas if need be
rows[0][0].value # => 4.0
rows[0][1].value # => nil
rows[0][2].value # => 'A'
rows[0][3].value # => nil
rows[0][4].value # => 2010-01-04 as a Date instance
rows[1][4].value # => 2010-01-03 as a Date instance
rows[2][4].value # => 2010-01-02 as a Date instance
rows[3][4].value # => 2010-01-01 as a Date instance

# you can access a cell in array style as well... these snippets are all equivalent
workbook.sheets[0][2][2]          # => 'C'
workbook[0][2][2]                 # => 'C'
workbook.sheets['Sheet 1'][2][2]  # => 'C'
workbook['Sheet 1'][2][2]         # => 'C'

# you can access a cell in 3D cell format too
workbook['Sheet 1!A1']            # => 4.0

# you can even refer to ranges of cells
workbook['Sheet 1!A1:A3']         # => [4.0, 3.0, 2.0]

# if cells E1 - E4 were a named range, you could refer to those cells by its name
# eg. if the cells were named "dates"...
workbook['dates']                 # => dates from E1 - E4

# to get the Cell instance, instead of its value, just use the Workbook#cell method
workbook.cell('dates')            # => cells that contain dates from E1 to E4
workbook['Sheet 1!A1:A3']         # => cells that contain 4.0, 3.0, and 2.0


  • fix reading ODS files -- we have a broken spec for this in io_spec.rb
  • add APIs for updating cells in a spreadsheet
  • create API for non-spreadsheet files
  • rdocs
  • tutorials, and/or better samples


Note on Patches/Pull Requests

  • Fork the project.
  • Make your feature addition or bug fix.
  • Add tests for it. This is important so I don't break it in a future version unintentionally.
  • Commit, do not mess with rakefile, version, or history. (if you want to have your own version, that is fine but bump version in a commit by itself I can ignore when I pull)
  • Send me a pull request.


Copyright (c) 2010 Scott Deming and others. See NOTICE and LICENSE for details.