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How to use Microsoft Excel as a Grid control in C# winforms?

Posted by: admin May 14, 2020 Leave a comment


Are there any good samples of using Microsoft Excel as a grid control in a typical winform C# application.

I have come across a lot of threads talking about excel ‘like’ control or grid controls with functionality similar to Excel etc.

Why not use excel as a GRID control , it has all the goodies in build ( formula engine , sorting, filtering etc )

How to&Answers:

You certainly can host Excel as a control within a WinForm application, so part of what you want is possible (with major caveats). However, to wire up the rest of the functionality seen in many of the 3rd party grid libraries takes a lot of work, and has many pitfalls.

The prime reason for this is that Excel is a native Windows application, and is not running under the .Net framework. Therefore, all of the manipulation has to be done at arms length – you have to instantiate the application, instantiate a sheet, try and subscribe to certain events (many of which may not be available as Excel was not designed for this purpose), and, of course, try and propertly manage all of the COM references to avoid memory leaks.

The grid controls you mention have all been built from the ground up as controls to be hosted within .Net applications, and therefore expose properties and events around the type of grid style interactions that people want – remember, Excel is more than a grid.

However, as if to acknowledge that Excel can be a powerful tool when leveraged programmatically, Microsoft provided VSTO – a runtime that allows you to develop Excel (and other office applications) using .Net


As far as I know, there are no .NET controls for embedding Office applications.

Earlier you could use the DSOFramer to achieve what you want but then it was discontinued. I believe it still works though (I am not sure). The Web Browser (COM) control is an alternative to DSOFramer, but has its own drawbacks. For example, you cannot use the inbuilt “Goodies”.

The below is just my personal opinion

I doubt that MS will never support embedded Office applications and the reason is very simple. MS-Office Applications are “End-User-Targeted” products. You need separate licenses for it and from a business perspective they wouldn’t want to loose on that 🙂 Like I mentioned earlier these are just my personal thoughts and do not echo MS’s views.