Archive for the ‘docx4j’ Category

docx to PDF in C#/.NET

September 5th, 2014 by Jason

How to convert docx to PDF without using Microsoft Word?

If you docx is mainly text, tables and images, docx4j.NET may work well for you.  docx4j.NET is open source (Apache software license v2), identical to the Java version, but made into a DLL using IKVM.  Currently we’re at v3.2.0, released last week.

It is easy to test; you can upload your docx to the docx4j demo webapp

Or with very little effort, you can run it from a sample project in Visual Studio.  Its very easy, because docx4j.NET is in the repository:

To create your sample project:

  1. make sure you have NuGet Package Manager installed
    • for VS 2012 and later, its installed by default
    • for VS 2010, NuGet is available through the Visual Studio Extension Manager; see the above link.
  2. create a new project in Visual Studio (File > New > Project).  A Console Application is fine.  I chose that from the .NET 3.5 list.
  3. from the Tools menu, choose NuGet Package Manager > Package Manager Console
  4. type Install-Package docx4j.NET

You should see something like:

And then, your project/solution will be populated to look like:

We’re nearly there!  Notice the file src/samples/c_sharp/Docx4NET/DocxToPDF.cs

Click on your project in Solution Explorer, then right click (or hit Alt+Enter) to get the properties pane:

Then set the “startup object” as shown in the above image.

Now you can hit Ctrl+F5 (“Start without Debugging”) – you don’t want to debug, since that’s really slow.

You should see some logging in the console window, culminating in “done! Press any key to continue..”

What just happened?  All being well, the sample docx “src\samples\resources\sample-docx.docx” was saved as a PDF “OUT_sample-docx.pdf” in your project directory.

You can modify src/samples/c_sharp/Docx4NET/DocxToPDF.cs to read your own test docx.

A few comments.

XSL FO; Apache FOP. docx4j creates PDF via XSL FO.  It generates XSL FO, then uses Apache FOP (v1.1) to convert the XSL FO to PDF.  FOP also supports other output formats (the subject of another blog post).

Logging, Commons Logging. Logging is via Commons Logging.  In the demo, it is configured programmatically (ie in  DocxToPDF.cs).  Alternatively, you could do it in app.config.

OpenXML SDK interop: src/main/c_sharp/Plutext/Docx4NET contains code for converting between a docx4j representation of a docx package, and the Open XML SDK’s representation.

Improving PDF support. To improve the quality of the PDF output, typically you’d make the improvement to docx4j first (ie the Java version), then create a new DLL using the ant build target dist.NET.   docx4j is on GitHub, and is most easily setup using Maven (see earlier blog post).

Help/support/discussion. You can post in the docx4j PDF output forum, or on StackOverflow (be sure to use tag docx4j, plus some/all of c#, docx, pdf, fop, xslfo as you think appropriate).  Please don’t cross post at both!

docx4j in a single page

May 15th, 2013 by Jason

Here’s a single A4 page reference/overview of docx4j aka a cheat sheet, in PDF or PNG format.

This one is focused on docx files (WordprocessingML).

I’ll create something similar for pptx and xlsx over coming days.

docx4j/pptx/xlsx online code generation

May 15th, 2013 by Jason

Just launched is

You should be able to see it in the menu at the top right of this website (if not, reload the web page…).

There are three things you can do with it right now:

• Explore your docx/pptx/xlsx and its representation in docx4j

• Convert  docx to PDF or XSL FO

• Merge docx files (eg cover letter plus contract) into a single docx, using Plutext’s MergeDocx. Or the same thing for pptx files, using MergePptx.

Here I want to focus on the first of these.

After you’ve uploaded your docx/pptx/xlsx, the first thing you see is like docx4j’s PartsList sample:

Here, I’ll click in the left hand column to look at the main document part, document.xml

When I do that, I see the XML:

No surprises there.

But notice the hyperlinks.  Here I’ll just click on the first w:p.

What you get back, is Java source code to create that complete structure:-

As you can see from the image above, both styles of code (as described in docx4j’s Getting Started document) are produced for you.  With a bit of luck, you can cut/paste either into your IDE (Eclipse or whatever), and just run with it!

To actually see the created object in an Office document, you’ll still need to add the created object to a part.  See Getting Started, or the cheat sheet for how to do that.

I hope this helps you to create/modify your Office documents more efficiently,with docx4j!

Do let us know what you think in the comments, or in docx4j’s forums.

docx4j 2.8.0 released

May 24th, 2012 by Jason

I’m pleased to say that docx4j 2.8.0 is now released.

What is docx4j?

docx4j is an open source (Apache v2) library for working with docx, pptx, and xslx files, based around  JAXB.

What’s new?

The headline feature is XHTML import.  docx4j can convert XHTML to Word document content, formatting it based on the CSS.  Images and tables are supported. See the ConvertInXHTMLDocument and ConvertInXHTMLFragment samples.

Where do you get it?

See our downloads page or:

Binaries: You can download a jar alone or a zip with all deps or pick and choose.  If you’re upgrading from 2.7.1, you need the  docx4j jar and:

Source: the source code is on GitHub at; here’s how to setup docx4j source code

Maven: docx4j 2.8.0 is in Maven Central.  Here is a guide to getting started (where it says 2.7.1, just use 2.8.0).

Getting Started

See the “Getting Started” guide, in html docx or pdf flavours.

There is lots of sample code here (freshly reviewed for 2.8.0).


If you are looking for help (and have read the Getting Started Guide :-) ), you can post in our forums, or on Stack Overflow (where there is a docx4j tag).

Thanks to our contributors

A number of contributions have made this release what it is; thanks very much to those who contributed.

Contributors to this release and a more complete list of changes may be found in README.txt

Thanks also to those who have +1′d pages on this website, or tweeted or blogged about docx4j, which is critical to expanding the docx4j community!

docx – internal hyperlinks

April 11th, 2012 by Jason

There have been a couple of posts on the forum lately regarding adding hyperlinks to other parts of a docx.

This blog post walks you through the generic process for investigating an issue like this.

First, create a sample docx in Word which exhibits the issue of interest.

Here I’m interested in hyperlinks to a heading, and to a bookmark. So see this docx. Second, look inside it (its a zip file). For the link to the heading, document.xml contains a w:p containing:

      <w:hyperlink w:anchor="_My_heading" w:history="1">
            <w:rStyle w:val="Hyperlink"/>
          <w:t>My heading</w:t>

The heading itself is automatically given a bookmark:

        <w:pStyle w:val="Heading1"/>
      <w:bookmarkStart w:id="0" w:name="_My_heading"/>
      <w:bookmarkEnd w:id="0"/>
        <w:t>My heading</w:t>

For the link to my bookmark, Word 2010 used the legacy field formulation:

        <w:fldChar w:fldCharType="begin"/>
        <w:instrText xml:space="preserve"> HYPERLINK  \l "bm1" </w:instrText>
        <w:fldChar w:fldCharType="separate"/>
      <w:r w:rsidRPr="00D16ABA">
          <w:rStyle w:val="Hyperlink"/>
        <w:fldChar w:fldCharType="end"/>

Third, what rels are involved? To answer this, I run the docx through docx4j’s PartsList sample. It shows me that these hyperlinks don’t create any rels. Alternatively, to see this, you could have looked at the rels part when you unzipped the docx.

So we can see that adding an internal hyperlink to a heading requires that it be bookmarked first. Once you have a bookmark, you use a w:hyperlink to refer to the bookmark by name (not id). Doesn’t look like there is any reason to use fields for this.

Here’s a suitable method:

	 * Create a Hyperlink object, which is suitable for adding to a w:p
	 * @param bookmarkName
	 * @param linkText
	 * @return
	public static Hyperlink hyperlinkToBookmark(String bookmarkName, String linkText) {

		try {

			String hpl = "<w:hyperlink w:anchor=\"" + bookmarkName + "\" xmlns:w=\"\" " +
            "w:history=\"1\" >" +
            "<w:r>" +
            "<w:rPr>" +
            "<w:rStyle w:val=\"Hyperlink\" />" +  // TODO: enable this style in the document!
            "</w:rPr>" +
            "<w:t>" + linkText + "</w:t>" +
            "</w:r>" +

			return (Hyperlink)XmlUtils.unmarshalString(hpl);

		} catch (Exception e) {
			// Shouldn't happen
			return null;


We can test it by altering the BookmarkAdd sample to add a link:

Hyperlink h = MainDocumentPart.hyperlinkToBookmark(bookmarkName, "link to bookmark");
wordMLPackage.getMainDocumentPart().addParagraphOfText("some text").getContent().add(h);

then checking the result opens in Word ok.

That’s all. Added to docx4j in revision 1777.

Hello Maven Central

October 29th, 2011 by Jason

With version 2.7.1, docx4j – a library for manipulating Word docx, Powerpoint pptx, and Excel xlsx xml files in Java – and all its dependencies, are available from Maven Central.

This makes it really easy to get going with docx4j.  With Eclipse and m2eclipse installed, you just add docx4j, and you’re done.  No need to mess around with manually installing jars, setting class paths etc.

This post demonstrates that, starting with a fresh OS (Win 7 is used, but these steps would work equally well on OSX or Linux).

Step 1 – Install the JDK

For the purposes of this article, I used JDK 7, but docx4j works with Java 6 and 1.5.

Step 2 – Install Eclipse Indigo (3.7.1)

I normally download the version for J2EE developers. Unzip it and run eclipse

Step 3 – Install m2eclipse.

In Eclipse, click Help > Install New Software.

Type “” in the “Work with” field as shown:

then follow the prompts.

Step 4 – Create your Maven project

In Eclipse, File > New > Project.., then choose Maven project

You should see:

Check “Create a simple project (skip archetype selection)” then press next.

Allocate group and artifact id (what you choose as your artifact id will become the name of your new project in Eclipse):

Press finish

This will create a project with directories using Maven conventions:

(Note: If your starting point is a new or existing Java project in Eclipse, you can right click on the project, then choose Configure > Convert to Maven project)

Step 5 – Add docx4j to your POM

Double Click on pom.xml

Next click on the dependencies tab, then click the “add dependency” button, and enter the docx4j coordinates as shown in the image below:

The result is this pom:

<project xmlns="" xmlns:xsi="" xsi:schemaLocation="">

Ctrl-S to save it.

m2eclipse may take some time to download the dependencies.

When it has finished, you should be able to see them:

Step 6 – Create

If you made a Maven project as per step 4 above, you should already have src/main/java on your build path.

If not, create the folder and add it.

Now add a new class:

import org.docx4j.openpackaging.packages.WordprocessingMLPackage;

public class HelloMavenCentral {

	public static void main(String[] args) throws Exception {

		WordprocessingMLPackage wordMLPackage = WordprocessingMLPackage.createPackage();

			.addStyledParagraphOfText("Title", "Hello Maven Central");

		wordMLPackage.getMainDocumentPart().addParagraphOfText("from docx4j!");

		// Now save it"user.dir") + "/helloMavenCentral.docx") );


Step 7 – Click Run

When you click run, all being well, a new docx called helloMavenCentral.docx will be saved.

You can open it in Word (or anything else which can read docx), or unzip it to inspect its contents.

Step 8 – Adding

One final thing. If you plan on creating documents from scratch using docx4j, it is useful to set paper size etc, via Put something like the following on your path:

# Page size: use a value from org.docx4j.model.structure.PageSizePaper enum
# eg A4, LETTER
# Page size: use a value from org.docx4j.model.structure.MarginsWellKnown enum

# Page size: use a value from org.pptx4j.model.SlideSizesWellKnown enum
# eg A4, LETTER

# These will be injected into docProps/app.xml
# if App.Write=true
# of the form XX.YYYY where X and Y represent numerical values

# These will be injected into docProps/core.xml


# If you haven't configured log4j yourself
# docx4j will autoconfigure it.  Set this to true to disable that

And that’s it. For more information on docx4j, see our Getting Started document.

Please click the +1 button if you found this article helpful.

docx4j 2.7.0 released

July 8th, 2011 by Jason

I’m pleased to announce the release today of docx4j 2.7.0.

What is docx4j?

docx4j is an open source (Apache v2) library for creating, editing, and saving OpenXML “packages”, including docx, pptx, and xslx.  it is similar to Microsoft’s OpenXML SDK, but for Java rather than .NET.   It uses JAXB to create the Java objects out of the OpenXML parts.

Notable features for docx include export as HTML or PDF, and CustomXML databinding for document generation (including our OpenDoPE convention support for processing repeats and conditions).

The docx4j project started in October 2007.

What’s new?

This is mainly a maintenance release; things of note include:

  • Improvements to Maven build
  • ContentAccessor interface
  • AlteredParts: identify parts in this pkg which are new or altered; Patcher
    which adds new or altered parts.
  • Support for .glox SmartArt package (/src/glox/)
  • JAXB RI 2.2.3 compatibilty
  • OpenDoPE support improvements

Where do you get it?

Binaries: You can download a jar alone or a tar.gz with all deps or pick and choose.

Source: Checkout the source from SVN (use the pom.xml file to satisfy the dependencies eg with m2eclipse, or download them from one of the links above)

Maven: Please see forum for details (since XML doesn’t paste nicely here right now).

Dependency changes

Antlr is now required for OpenDoPE processing; this gives us better XPath processing.  The required jars are:

Getting Started

See the “Getting Started” guide.

Thanks to our contributors

A number of contributions have made this release what it is; thanks very much to those who contributed.

Contributors to this release and a more complete list of changes may be found in README.txt

A request to docx4j users

If you are happily using docx4j, it would be great if you could reply to this post with some words of recommendation for others who might be wondering whether docx4j is a good choice. I know there are thousands of you out there :-)

Some users have been kind enough to make such statements already; these may be found on the trac homepage.

Of course, there are a number of other ways you can contribute back.  Please consider doing so, especially if you think you might find yourself looking for support from volunteers in the docx4j forums.

Feedback on docx4j 2.7.0 release candidate?

June 28th, 2011 by Jason

docx4j 2.7.0 release candidate is now available at

This will form the basis of the 2.7.0 release. In fact, unless there are significant issues over the next week or so, this will become the 2.7.0 release! So please try it out and report back, positive or negative…

It is mainly a maintenance release, but things of note include:

* Improvements to Maven build

* ContentAccessor interface

* AlteredParts: identify parts in this pkg which are new or altered; Patcher
which adds new or altered parts.

* Support for .glox SmartArt package (/src/glox/)

* JAXB RI 2.2.3 compatibilty

For contributors to this release and a more complete list of changes, please see … README.txt

There are 2 new dependencies (required for OpenDoPE processing): antlr-runtime-3.3.jar and stringtemplate-3.2.1.jar For convenience, copies of these can be found in the same dir as the rc jar.

Thanks very much to everyone who contributed to this release (candidate!).

And please consider clicking one of the buttons below to circulate news of the release.

docx4j v2.6.0 released

November 19th, 2010 by Jason

I published docx4j 2.6.0 yesterday.

For details, see the forum. This post introduces TraversalUtil, which makes it easier for you to find and change the bits of a docx you want to manipulate.

If you are working with an existing docx, you often need to get a particular bit of the document, and change it somehow.

If you know you want to change the 6th paragraph, say, that’s easy.

But if you want to find all occurrences of some item, which could occur at various different levels of the hierarchy (for example, paragraphs can appear not just in the document body, but also within table cells, and in content controls)?

docx4j offers a couple of different tools to make this easy.


XPath is a succinct way to select the things you need to change.

Happily, from docx4j 2.5.0, you can do use XPath to select JAXB nodes:

MainDocumentPart documentPart = wordMLPackage.getMainDocumentPart();

String xpath = "//w:p";

List<Object> list = documentPart.getJAXBNodesViaXPath(xpath, <strong>false</strong>); 

These JAXB nodes are live, in the sense that if you change them, your document changes.

There is a limitation however: the xpath expressions are evaluated against the XML document as it was when first opened in docx4j.  You can update the associated XML document once only, by passing true into getJAXBNodesViaXPath. Updating it again(with current JAXB 2.1.x or 2.2.x) will cause an error.

To workaround this bug in JAXB, you can marshall it, and then unmarshall the result using either:

    public org.docx4j.wml.Document unmarshal( is ) 

    public org.docx4j.wml.Document unmarshal(org.w3c.dom.Element el)

Both of those will re-create the binder.

Not the most efficient, so consider voting for JAXB bug 459

But now we have an alternative…


New to docx4j 2.6.0 is a class TraversalUtil, which is a general approach for traversing the JAXB object tree in the main document part (though it can also be applied to headers, footers etc).

For example, to get a list of hyperlinks, you can do something like:

PHyperlinkFinder finder= new PHyperlinkFinder();
new TraversalUtil(paragraphs, finder);

static class PHyperlinkFinder extends CallbackImpl {

        List<P.Hyperlink> links = new ArrayList<P.Hyperlink>();  

		public List<Object> apply(Object o) {

			if (o instanceof P.Hyperlink)

			return null;

This approach is used extensively in the MergeDocx extension I discussed in my previous post. It is now also the basis of the OpenMainDocumentAndTraverse sample, so see that for another example of how to use it.

The example above simply finds relevant bits of the docx; you could also modify the objects encountered if you want.

Merging Word documents

November 14th, 2010 by Jason

I’ve written a utility to merge docx documents in Java.  “Merge” as in concatenate/join/append, as opposed to diff/merge (although docx4j does include code to do a diff, if you are looking for that instead).

With the utility, you can take 2 or more Word documents, and join them into one.

Edit Feb 2014. MergeDocx is now part of Plutext’s Docx4j Enterprise Edition.

As Eric White’s blog explained:

This programming task is complicated by the need to keep other parts of the document in sync with the data stored in paragraphs. For example, a paragraph can contain a reference to a comment in the comments part, and if there is a problem with this reference, the document is invalid. You must take care when moving / inserting / deleting paragraphs to maintain ‘referential integrity’ within the document.

With this utility, merging/concatenating documents is as easy as invoking the method:

public  WordprocessingMLPackage merge(List&lt;WordprocessingMLPackage&gt; wmlPkgs)

In other words, you pass a list of docx, and get a single new docx back.

Edit March 2014. You can try the MergeDocx and/or MergePptx functionality via the demo webapp.

This utility takes care of the niggly edge cases for you:

You can also use my MergeDocx utility to process a docx which is embedded as an altChunk.

Without this utility, you had to rely on Word to convert the altChunk to normal content.

That meant you had to round trip your docx through Word, before docx4j could create a PDF or HTML out of it.

Now you don’t.

To process the w:altChunk elements in a docx, you invoke:

public WordprocessingMLPackage process(WordprocessingMLPackage srcPackage)

You pass in a docx containg altChunks, and get a  new docx back which doesn’t.

But wait a minute .. if you can merge Word documents using this tool, why would you ever put an altChunk (containing a docx, as opposed to HTML) into the docx in the first place?

Ordinarily you wouldn’t, you’d just merge with this tool instead.  But there are at least 2 possibilities:

  • some upstream process put the altChunk there, and now you want to process it in docx4j
  • OpenDoPE.  The Open Document Processing Ecosystem convention is being extended in a v2.3 to allow other documents to be injected, and a natural thing is to convert an injection instruction to an altChunk.  Edit Feb 2014: docx4j 3.0.1 can also bind an XML element containing a base64 encoded docx, inserting it into the docx as an AltChunk.  MergeDocx can then convert that content into “real” docx content, suitable for including in a table of contents, or generating HTML or PDF.  The binding is two-way, so user edits in Word can be injected back into the XML (eg for persisting to a database).

There is one place my code differs significantly from how Word processes an altChunk, and that is in section handling.  When Word processes an altChunk, it seems to largely remove sectPr.  So for example, columns will disappear.  But it also might merge headers, so the resulting header contains stuff from the headers of both documents!  My code doesn’t do that: by default, it includes each section, and headers go with sections.