Home » excel » c++ – How can I marshall between XLOPER and VARIANT?

c++ – How can I marshall between XLOPER and VARIANT?

Posted by: admin April 23, 2020 Leave a comment


I’m working on an Excel plugin (XLL), which communicates with COM objects. So, I have to marshall between XLOPER and VARIANT. I’ve got most of this working, but arrays are definitely a pain. I need to support 1- and 2D arrays.

I imagine someone has already had to deal with this before. What’s the best way to simplify dealing with VARIANT, SAFEARRAY, and XLOPER (and XLOPER12)?

How to&Answers:

I had to hand-roll my own marshalling code for this. There were no freely available libs to handle this. XLW is meant for wrapping your entire plugin – this was not an option for me.

In the end, it just took a lot of time, looking through the documentation for xloper and variant, and figuring out how to map them to each other.

For the curious:

arrays in xloper(12):

  • .xltype is xltypeMulti
  • .val.array is a pointer to an array of xlopers.

arrays in variant:

  • .vt is VT_ARRAY | VT_VARIANT
  • .parray is a SafeArray of variants

other tips with this marshalling:

  • xltypeRef and xltypeSRef: use xlCoerce to look up actual cell values.
  • integer values run the risk of overflow. boost::numeric_cast helps with that.
  • string marshalling is annoying. xloper uses char, xloper12 uses wchar, variant uses bstr.
  • Remember to free the buffers you allocate for your new xloper strings. Use xlbitDLLFree and xlAutoFree(12) accordingly.
  • Template programming is useful for the xloper/xloper12 issue. Boost helps. _bstr_t also helps.


I use XLL Plus (costs)

There is also XLW (opensource)

and probably others I am not aware of