Review: OfficeWriter by SoftArtisans

Disclaimer: I was approached by SoftArtisans to evaluate their software product OfficeWriter, and I was given a free license for the product.

OfficeWriter is a product that handles two common functions for software applications, reading and writing to Excel and Word documents.

When I was approached to evaluate OfficeWriter, I had one particular purpose that I wanted to try it for.  The application I was working on required the output of massive excel spreadsheets.  I’m talking about 60 worksheets, each with 75,000-100,000 rows and ~20 columns. 

In the past, I had used the OpenXML SDK to do all of my Excel manipulation, but I often saw myself writing wrappers around the methods in order to make the process easier.  OfficeWriter not only made the process of creating Excel spreadsheets easier, but it did it in a fraction of the time it would’ve taken me (my code was very optimized).

I did run into a bug with the large files I was working with.  There is a feature in the library to automatically size the columns of any populated cells in a workbook.  I ran this feature across all my workbooks, and ended up throwing out of memory exceptions. 

The folks at SoftArtisans were very helpful in providing me the support I needed to work around the issue, even providing me up to the minute builds of the product.  Anyone purchasing the product should expect the same level of support I received.

The interfaces for the library were easy to work with, and the documentation on the website was a good starting point.  There are several example projects available that cover a variety of use-cases. 

I did not test any of the Word functionality, as I did not have a need for it at the time.

I would recommend anyone that’s working with Excel or Word documents at least check out a trial of the software.  There is no link available to a direct demo download, but there are links to contact the test drive team for your use cases.

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