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Simply modify and diff Excel sheets in Java

Simple-Excel wraps the Apache POI project with simple Java builders to modify sheets quickly and easily without all the boilerplate.

Use Hamcrest Matchers to compare workbooks and get fast feedback in tests. Comparing two sheets will compare the entire contents. You get a full report of the diff rather than just the first encountered difference.

Modifying an Excel sheet

Add styles, formula and content to cells programmatically via a simple DSL.

public void shouldReplaceCellsInComplicatedAlternateSyntaxExample() throws IOException {
    HSSFWorkbook workbook = getWorkbook("shouldReplaceCellsInComplicatedExampleTemplate.xls");
    new PoiWorkbookMutator(workbook)
            .replaceCell(coordinate(C, 5), "Adding")
            .replaceCell(coordinate(D, 11), "a")
            .replaceCell(coordinate(G, 3), "cell")
            .replaceCell(coordinate(J, 10), "total")
            .replaceCell(coordinate(M, 15), 99.99d);

    assertThat(workbook, sameWorkbook(getWorkbook("shouldReplaceCellsInComplicatedExampleTemplateExpected.xls")));

A break in the matcher would show something like

Expected: equality of cell "G1"
     but: cell at "G1" contained <"Text"> expected <99.99D>
	at org.hamcrest.MatcherAssert.assertThat(

Adding Styling

Define some styles to reuse

private final Border border = border(top(NONE), right(THIN_SOLID), bottom(THIN_SOLID), left(THIN_SOLID));
private final DataFormat numberFormat = dataFormat("#,##0.00");

Next create your Cell with style information.

Cell cell = new DoubleCell(99.99d, aStyle().with(border).with(numberFormat));

and add it to a Row.

HashMap<ColumnIndex, Cell> columns = new HashMap<ColumnIndex, Cell>() {{
    put(column(A), cell);
Row row = new Row(columns);

add your row to the workbook.

new PoiWorkbookMutator(workbook).mutator.appendRowToFirstSheet(row);

Using Matchers

To get more detailed output from mismatches, be sure to use MatcherAssert.assertThat from Hamcrest rather than the vanilla JUnit version (org.junit.Assert.assertThat). If you use the JUnit version, you'll get output similar to the following.

Expected: entire workbook to be equal
     got: <org.apache.poi.hssf.usermodel.HSSFWorkbook@6405ce40>

When, using MatcherAssert, you'd see something like this.

Expected: entire workbook to be equal
     but: cell at "C14" contained <"bananas"> expected <nothing>,
          cell at "C15" contained <"1,850,000 EUR"> expected <"1,850,000.00 EUR">,
          cell at "D16" contained <nothing> expected <"Tue Sep 04 06:30:00">
	at org.hamcrest.MatcherAssert.assertThat(


  • Currently, matching doesn't take into account styling. A cell is equal to another regardless of style. If one has a border for example, and the other doesn't but they have the same values, they are considered equal.


Available for manual download via my Maven repository or add the repository to your 'pom.xml'.

        <name>bad.robot repository on robotooling</name>

Then add a dependency.


For more tools, see and visit my blog.


Take a look at the release readme.

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