CFFILE and leading zeros from SQL variables

Posted on 2012-03-28
Last Modified: 2012-07-06
When I write my SQL variable (recID) to a cffile excel, I lose the leading zeros. The field is a varchar 6 characters in length.

Any suggestions?
Question by:traport
Welcome to Experts Exchange

Add your voice to the tech community where 5M+ people just like you are talking about what matters.

  • Help others & share knowledge
  • Earn cash & points
  • Learn & ask questions

Expert Comment

ID: 37776901
It's happening because Excel is parsing the data as a number - not text. I'm guessing you're outputting CSV or XML, correct? I don't think there's any way to address that using this method because there's no way to tell Excel how to properly format the data.

You could try generating your Excel document using Apache POI (, which generates a "real" Excel document and lets you specify the cell types. Just drop the JARs into your CF class path (c:\coldfusion x\wwwroot\web-inf\lib).

Here's an example...

<cfset filename="report.xls">
<cfset out = createObject("java", "").init(#filename#)>

<cfset wb = createObject("java", "org.apache.poi.hssf.usermodel.HSSFWorkbook")>
<cfset s = wb.createSheet("Test Report")>

<!--- create right-aligned column style --->
<cfset alignRightStyle = wb.createCellStyle()>
<cfset alignRightStyle.setAlignment(alignRightStyle.ALIGN_RIGHT)>

<!--- create header style--->
<cfset headerStyle = wb.createCellStyle()>
<cfset headerStyleFont = wb.createFont()>
<cfset headerStyleFont.setBoldWeight(headerStyleFont.BOLDWEIGHT_BOLD)>
<cfset headerStyle.setFont(headerStyleFont)>

<!--- create header-right style--->
<cfset headerRightStyle = wb.createCellStyle()>
<cfset headerRightStyleFont = wb.createFont()>
<cfset headerRightStyleFont.setBoldWeight(headerStyleFont.BOLDWEIGHT_BOLD)>
<cfset headerRightStyle.setFont(headerStyleFont)>
<cfset headerRightStyle.setAlignment(alignRightStyle.ALIGN_RIGHT)>

<cfset i = 0>

<cfset r = s.createRow(i)>
<cfset c = r.createCell(0)>
<cfset c.setCellValue('Header 1')>
<cfset c.setCellStyle(headerStyle)>
<cfset c.setCellType(c.CELL_TYPE_STRING)>

<cfset c = r.createCell(1)>
<cfset c.setCellValue('Header 2')>
<cfset c.setCellStyle(headerStyle)>
<cfset c.setCellType(c.CELL_TYPE_STRING)>

<cfset c = r.createCell(2)>
<cfset c.setCellValue('Header 3')>
<cfset c.setCellStyle(headerRightStyle)>
<cfset c.setCellType(c.CELL_TYPE_STRING)>

<!--- create ten rows --->
<cfloop from="1" to="10" index="i">
	<cfset r = s.createRow(i)>
	<cfset c = r.createCell(0)>
	<cfset c.setCellValue('value 1')>
	<cfset c.setCellType(c.CELL_TYPE_STRING)>
	<!--- blank cells --->
	<cfset c = r.createCell(1)>
	<cfset c.setCellValue('')>	
	<cfset c.setCellType(c.CELL_TYPE_STRING)>
	<cfset c = r.createCell(2)>
	<cfset c.setCellValue('value 3')>
	<cfset c.setCellStyle(alignRightStyle)>
	<cfset c.setCellType(c.CELL_TYPE_STRING)>
<cfset s.createFreezePane(1, 1)>
<cfset s.setColumnWidth(0, 5000)>
<cfset s.setColumnWidth(1, 5000)>
<cfset s.setColumnWidth(2, 5000)>

<!--- print settings --->
<cfset wb.removePrintArea(0)>	
<cfset wb.setPrintArea(0,"$A$1:$C$#i#")>

<cfset h = s.getHeader()>
<cfset h.setLeft("Report")>
<cfset s.setAutobreaks(true)>
<cfset s.setPrintGridlines(true)>

<cfset ps = s.getPrintSetup()>
<cfset ps.setLandscape(true)>
<cfset ps.setFitWidth(1)>
<cfset ps.setFitHeight(0)>

<!--- output the sheet --->
<cfset wb.write(out)>
<cfset getPageContext().getResponse().setContentType('application/')>
<cfset getPageContext().getResponse().setHeader('Content-Disposition', 'filename=#filename#')>
<cfcontent reset="true" file="#filename#" deletefile="false">

Open in new window

If you're on ColdFusion 9 there is also a <CFSPREADHEET> tag available, but I haven't used it...
LVL 39

Expert Comment

ID: 37776949
If you're writing the excel file using table tag, you can include this style...

<td style='mso-number-format:000000'>#yourVal#</td>

Author Comment

ID: 37777116
Thanks for the responses. I'd love to do it simply through the td style. That said, it's not just numeric. It can be alphanumeric... but when there are leading zeros it loses them. But that style didn't appear to work even on the numeric. Thoughts?

No, I'm not on CF9. I wish I were.

I'm under some time constraints or I would look into Apache POI. As it is, they may have to do w/o their leading zeros.
Get 15 Days FREE Full-Featured Trial

Benefit from a mission critical IT monitoring with Monitis Premium or get it FREE for your entry level monitoring needs.
-Over 200,000 users
-More than 300,000 websites monitored
-Used in 197 countries
-Recommended by 98% of users

LVL 52

Expert Comment

ID: 37777278
Try a slight variation of gd's suggestion. The "@" symbol should force the value to be treated as text

      <td style='mso-number-format:"\@";'>012345</td>
LVL 52

Expert Comment

ID: 37777641
You could try generating your Excel document using Apache POI ... Just drop the JARs into your CF class path (c:\coldfusion x\wwwroot\web-inf\lib).

Fyi, CF7+ already include older versions of POI. You don't need to anything extra to do basic xls files. Only if you need newer features.  Bear in mind multiple versions do not always co-exist well. You may have to use the javaLoader.cfc instead or possibly replace the old version.

Author Comment

ID: 37777861
Coldfusion cffile doesn't like this at all: <td style='mso-number-format:"\@";'>012345</td>

I have tried double-quoting it and it's still breaking.
LVL 52

Expert Comment

ID: 37777915
I wouldn't try writing complex html directly, because you'll almost always run into problems with nested quotes. Try using cfsavecontent instead.   Be sure to wrap it in <cfoutput> tags if the content contains #variables#

ie   <cfsavecontent variable="dataToWrite">
              <td style='mso-number-format:"\@";'>012345</td>
      <cffile action="write" output="#dataToWrite#" ...>

That's assuming you actually need to write it to disk ie it's not for an on-the-fly download.

Expert Comment

ID: 37796309
send single quote before your output... this will not change your output, but excel take it as string/text instead of number..


I guess this should be your last solution if above all will not work.. :)
LVL 52

Accepted Solution

_agx_ earned 500 total points
ID: 37796755
I guess this should be your last solution if above all will not work.. :)

Yep, I'd use the "\@" trick if possible, because it doesn't change the cell value. But if for some reason it doesn't, the single quote almost certainly will.
LVL 52

Expert Comment

ID: 37886353
Any luck?

Featured Post

Comprehensive Backup Solutions for Microsoft

Acronis protects the complete Microsoft technology stack: Windows Server, Windows PC, laptop and Surface data; Microsoft business applications; Microsoft Hyper-V; Azure VMs; Microsoft Windows Server 2016; Microsoft Exchange 2016 and SQL Server 2016.

Question has a verified solution.

If you are experiencing a similar issue, please ask a related question

Slowly Changing Dimension Transformation component in data task flow is very useful for us to manage and control how data changes in SSIS.
Ever wondered why sometimes your SQL Server is slow or unresponsive with connections spiking up but by the time you go in, all is well? The following article will show you how to install and configure a SQL job that will send you email alerts includ…
Via a live example, show how to setup several different housekeeping processes for a SQL Server.
Using examples as well as descriptions, and references to Books Online, show the documentation available for datatypes, explain the available data types and show how data can be passed into and out of variables.

635 members asked questions and received personalized solutions in the past 7 days.

Join the community of 500,000 technology professionals and ask your questions.

Join & Ask a Question