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How to: Merge Two Adjacent Cells in a Spreadsheet Document

This topic shows how to use the classes in the Open XML SDK 2.0 for Microsoft Office to merge two adjacent cells in a spreadsheet document programmatically.

The following assembly directives are required to compile the code in this topic.

using System;
using System.Collections.Generic;
using System.Linq;
using DocumentFormat.OpenXml;
using DocumentFormat.OpenXml.Packaging;
using DocumentFormat.OpenXml.Spreadsheet;
using System.Text.RegularExpressions;

In the Open XML SDK, the SpreadsheetDocument class represents an Excel document package. To open and work with an Excel document, you create an instance of the SpreadsheetDocument class from the document. After you create the instance from the document, you can then obtain access to the main workbook part that contains the worksheets. The text in the document is represented in the package as XML using SpreadsheetML markup.

To create the class instance from the document that you call one of the Open() overload methods. Several are provided, each with a different signature. The sample code in this topic uses the Open(String, Boolean) method with a signature that requires two parameters. The first parameter takes a full path string that represents the document that you want to open. The second parameter is either true or false and represents whether you want the file to be opened for editing. Any changes that you make to the document will not be saved if this parameter is false.

The code that calls the Open method is shown in the following using statement.

// Open the document for editing.
using (SpreadsheetDocument document = SpreadsheetDocument.Open(docName, true)) 
{
    // Insert other code here.
}

The using statement provides a recommended alternative to the typical .Open, .Save, .Close sequence. It ensures that the Dispose method (internal method used by the Open XML SDK to clean up resources) is automatically called when the closing brace is reached. The block that follows the using statement establishes a scope for the object that is created or named in the using statement, in this case document.

The basic document structure of a SpreadsheetML document consists of the Sheets and Sheet elements, which reference the worksheets in the Workbook. A separate XML file is created for each Worksheet. For example, the SpreadsheetML for a workbook that has two worksheets name MySheet1 and MySheet2 is located in the Workbook.xml file and is shown in the following code example.

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8" standalone="yes" ?> 
<workbook xmlns=http://schemas.openxmlformats.org/spreadsheetml/2006/main xmlns:r="http://schemas.openxmlformats.org/officeDocument/2006/relationships">
    <sheets>
        <sheet name="MySheet1" sheetId="1" r:id="rId1" /> 
        <sheet name="MySheet2" sheetId="2" r:id="rId2" /> 
    </sheets>
</workbook>

The worksheet XML files contain one or more block level elements such as SheetData. sheetData represents the cell table and contains one or more Row elements. A row contains one or more Cell elements. Each cell contains a CellValue element that represents the value of the cell. For example, the SpreadsheetML for the first worksheet in a workbook, that only has the value 100 in cell A1, is located in the Sheet1.xml file and is shown in the following code example.

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8" ?> 
<worksheet xmlns="http://schemas.openxmlformats.org/spreadsheetml/2006/main">
    <sheetData>
        <row r="1">
            <c r="A1">
                <v>100</v> 
            </c>
        </row>
    </sheetData>
</worksheet>

Using the Open XML SDK 2.0, you can create document structure and content that uses strongly-typed classes that correspond to SpreadsheetML elements. You can find these classes in the DocumentFormat.OpenXML.Spreadsheet namespace. The following table lists the class names of the classes that correspond to the workbook, sheets, sheet, worksheet, and sheetData elements.

SpreadsheetML Element

Open XML SDK 2.0 Class

Description

workbook

DocumentFormat.OpenXML.Spreadsheet.Workbook

The root element for the main document part.

sheets

DocumentFormat. OpenXML.Spreadsheet.Sheets

The container for the block level structures such as sheet, fileVersion, and others specified in the ISO/IEC 29500 specification.

sheet

DocumentFormat.OpenXML.Spreadsheet.Sheet

A sheet that points to a sheet definition file.

worksheet

DocumentFormat.OpenXML.Spreadsheet.Worksheet

A sheet definition file that contains the sheet data.

sheetData

DocumentFormat.OpenXML.Spreadsheet.SheetData

The cell table, grouped together by rows.

row

DocumentFormat.OpenXml.Spreadsheet.Row

A row in the cell table.

c

DocumentFormat.OpenXml.Spreadsheet.Cell

A cell in a row.

v

DocumentFormat.OpenXml.Spreadsheet.CellValue

The value of a cell.

After you have opened the spreadsheet file for editing, the code verifies that the specified cells exist, and if they do not exist, it creates them by calling the CreateSpreadsheetCellIfNotExist method and append it to the appropriate Row object.

// Given a Worksheet and a cell name, verifies that the specified cell exists.
// If it does not exist, creates a new cell. 
private static void CreateSpreadsheetCellIfNotExist(Worksheet worksheet, string cellName)
{
    string columnName = GetColumnName(cellName);
    uint rowIndex = GetRowIndex(cellName);

    IEnumerable<Row> rows = worksheet.Descendants<Row>().Where(r => r.RowIndex.Value == rowIndex);

    // If the Worksheet does not contain the specified row, create the specified row.
    // Create the specified cell in that row, and insert the row into the Worksheet.
    if (rows.Count() == 0)
    {
        Row row = new Row() { RowIndex = new UInt32Value(rowIndex) };
        Cell cell = new Cell() { CellReference = new StringValue(cellName) };
        row.Append(cell);
        worksheet.Descendants<SheetData>().First().Append(row);
        worksheet.Save();
    }
    else
    {
        Row row = rows.First();

        IEnumerable<Cell> cells = row.Elements<Cell>().Where(c => c.CellReference.Value == cellName);

        // If the row does not contain the specified cell, create the specified cell.
        if (cells.Count() == 0)
        {
            Cell cell = new Cell() { CellReference = new StringValue(cellName) };
            row.Append(cell);
            worksheet.Save();
        }
    }
}

In order to get a column name, the code creates a new regular expression to match the column name portion of the cell name. This regular expression matches any combination of uppercase or lowercase letters. For more information about regular expressions, see Regular Expression Language Elements. The code gets the column name by calling the Regex.Match.

// Given a cell name, parses the specified cell to get the column name.
private static string GetColumnName(string cellName)
{
    // Create a regular expression to match the column name portion of the cell name.
    Regex regex = new Regex("[A-Za-z]+");
    Match match = regex.Match(cellName);

    return match.Value;
}

To get the row index, the code creates a new regular expression to match the row index portion of the cell name. This regular expression matches any combination of decimal digits. The following code creates a regular expression to match the row index portion of the cell name, comprised of decimal digits.

// Given a cell name, parses the specified cell to get the row index.
private static uint GetRowIndex(string cellName)
{
    // Create a regular expression to match the row index portion the cell name.
    Regex regex = new Regex(@"\d+");
    Match match = regex.Match(cellName);

    return uint.Parse(match.Value);
}

The following code merges two adjacent cells in a SpreadsheetDocument document package. When merging two cells, only the content from one of the cells is preserved. In left-to-right languages, the content in the upper-left cell is preserved. In right-to-left languages, the content in the upper-right cell is preserved. You can call the MergeTwoCells method in your program by using the following code example, which merges the two cells B2 and C2 in a sheet named “Jane,” in a file named “Sheet9.xlsx.”

string docName = @"C:\Users\Public\Documents\Sheet9.xlsx";
string sheetName = "Jane";
string cell1Name = "B2";
string cell2Name = "C2";
MergeTwoCells(docName, sheetName, cell1Name, cell2Name);

The following is the complete sample code in both C# and Visual Basic.

// Given a document name, a worksheet name, and the names of two adjacent cells, merges the two cells.
// When two cells are merged, only the content from one cell is preserved:
// the upper-left cell for left-to-right languages or the upper-right cell for right-to-left languages.
private static void MergeTwoCells(string docName, string sheetName, string cell1Name, string cell2Name)
{
    // Open the document for editing.
    using (SpreadsheetDocument document = SpreadsheetDocument.Open(docName, true))
    {
        Worksheet worksheet = GetWorksheet(document, sheetName);
        if (worksheet == null || string.IsNullOrEmpty(cell1Name) || string.IsNullOrEmpty(cell2Name))
        {
            return;
        }

        // Verify if the specified cells exist, and if they do not exist, create them.
        CreateSpreadsheetCellIfNotExist(worksheet, cell1Name);
        CreateSpreadsheetCellIfNotExist(worksheet, cell2Name);

        MergeCells mergeCells;
        if (worksheet.Elements<MergeCells>().Count() > 0)
        {
            mergeCells = worksheet.Elements<MergeCells>().First();
        }
        else
        {
            mergeCells = new MergeCells();

            // Insert a MergeCells object into the specified position.
            if (worksheet.Elements<CustomSheetView>().Count() > 0)
            {
                worksheet.InsertAfter(mergeCells, worksheet.Elements<CustomSheetView>().First());
            }
            else if (worksheet.Elements<DataConsolidate>().Count() > 0)
            {
                worksheet.InsertAfter(mergeCells, worksheet.Elements<DataConsolidate>().First());
            }
            else if (worksheet.Elements<SortState>().Count() > 0)
            {
                worksheet.InsertAfter(mergeCells, worksheet.Elements<SortState>().First());
            }
            else if (worksheet.Elements<AutoFilter>().Count() > 0)
            {
                worksheet.InsertAfter(mergeCells, worksheet.Elements<AutoFilter>().First());
            }
            else if (worksheet.Elements<Scenarios>().Count() > 0)
            {
                worksheet.InsertAfter(mergeCells, worksheet.Elements<Scenarios>().First());
            }
            else if (worksheet.Elements<ProtectedRanges>().Count() > 0)
            {
                worksheet.InsertAfter(mergeCells, worksheet.Elements<ProtectedRanges>().First());
            }
            else if (worksheet.Elements<SheetProtection>().Count() > 0)
            {
                worksheet.InsertAfter(mergeCells, worksheet.Elements<SheetProtection>().First());
            }
            else if (worksheet.Elements<SheetCalculationProperties>().Count() > 0)
            {
                worksheet.InsertAfter(mergeCells, worksheet.Elements<SheetCalculationProperties>().First());
            }
            else
            {
                worksheet.InsertAfter(mergeCells, worksheet.Elements<SheetData>().First());
            }
        }

        // Create the merged cell and append it to the MergeCells collection.
        MergeCell mergeCell = new MergeCell() { Reference = new StringValue(cell1Name + ":" + cell2Name) };
        mergeCells.Append(mergeCell);

        worksheet.Save();
    }
}
// Given a Worksheet and a cell name, verifies that the specified cell exists.
// If it does not exist, creates a new cell. 
private static void CreateSpreadsheetCellIfNotExist(Worksheet worksheet, string cellName)
{
    string columnName = GetColumnName(cellName);
    uint rowIndex = GetRowIndex(cellName);

    IEnumerable<Row> rows = worksheet.Descendants<Row>().Where(r => r.RowIndex.Value == rowIndex);

    // If the Worksheet does not contain the specified row, create the specified row.
    // Create the specified cell in that row, and insert the row into the Worksheet.
    if (rows.Count() == 0)
    {
        Row row = new Row() { RowIndex = new UInt32Value(rowIndex) };
        Cell cell = new Cell() { CellReference = new StringValue(cellName) };
        row.Append(cell);
        worksheet.Descendants<SheetData>().First().Append(row);
        worksheet.Save();
    }
    else
    {
        Row row = rows.First();

        IEnumerable<Cell> cells = row.Elements<Cell>().Where(c => c.CellReference.Value == cellName);

        // If the row does not contain the specified cell, create the specified cell.
        if (cells.Count() == 0)
        {
            Cell cell = new Cell() { CellReference = new StringValue(cellName) };
            row.Append(cell);
            worksheet.Save();
        }
    }
}

// Given a SpreadsheetDocument and a worksheet name, get the specified worksheet.
private static Worksheet GetWorksheet(SpreadsheetDocument document, string worksheetName)
{
    IEnumerable<Sheet> sheets = document.WorkbookPart.Workbook.Descendants<Sheet>().Where(s => s.Name == worksheetName);
    WorksheetPart worksheetPart = (WorksheetPart)document.WorkbookPart.GetPartById(sheets.First().Id)
    if (sheets.Count() == 0)
        return null;
    else
        return worksheetPart.Worksheet;
}

// Given a cell name, parses the specified cell to get the column name.
private static string GetColumnName(string cellName)
{
    // Create a regular expression to match the column name portion of the cell name.
    Regex regex = new Regex("[A-Za-z]+");
    Match match = regex.Match(cellName);

    return match.Value;
}
// Given a cell name, parses the specified cell to get the row index.
private static uint GetRowIndex(string cellName)
{
    // Create a regular expression to match the row index portion the cell name.
    Regex regex = new Regex(@"\d+");
    Match match = regex.Match(cellName);

    return uint.Parse(match.Value);
}

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