Tutorial :Creating Microsoft Word (.docx) documents in Ruby


Is there an easy way to create Word documents (.docx) in a Ruby application? Actually, in my case it's a Rails application served from a Linux server.

A gem similar to Prawn but for DOCX instead of PDF would be great!


As has been noted, there don't appear to be any libraries to manipulate Open XML documents in Ruby, but OpenXML Developer has complete documentation on the format of Open XML documents.

If what you want is to send a copy of a standard document (like a form letter) customized for each user, it should be fairly simple given that a DOCX is a ZIP file that contains various parts in a directory hierarchy. Have a DOCX "template" that contains all the parts and tree structure that you want to send to all users (with no real content), then simply create new (or modify existing) pieces that contain the user-specific content you want and inject it into the ZIP (DOCX file) before sending it to the user.

For example: You could have document-template.xml that contains Dear [USER-PLACEHOLDER]:. When a user requests the document, you replace [USER-PLACEHOLDER] with the user's name, then add the resulting document.xml to the your-template.docx ZIP file (which would contain all the images and other parts you want in the Word document) and send that resulting document to the user.

Note that if you rename a .docx file to .zip it is trivial to explore the structure and format of the parts inside. You can remove or replace images or other parts very easily with any ZIP manipulation tools or programmatically with code.

Generating a brand new Word document with completely custom content from raw XML would be very difficult without access to an API to make the job easier. If you really need to do that, you might consider installing Mono, then use VB.NET, C# or IronRuby to create your Open XML documents using the Open XML Format SDK 1.0. Since you would just be using the Microsoft.Office.DocumentFormat.OpenXml.Packaging Namespace to manipulate Open XML documents, it should work okay in Mono, which seems to support everything the SDK requires.


I know if you serve a HTML document as a word document with the .doc extension, it will open in Word just fine. Just don't do anything fancy.

Edit: Here is an example using classic ASP. http://www.aspdev.org/asp/asp-export-word/


You can use Apache POI. It is written in Java, but integrates with Ruby as an extension


This is an old question but there's a new answer. If you'd like to turn an HTML doc into a Word (docx) doc, just use the 'htmltoword' gem:


I'm not sure why there was answer creep and everyone started posting templating solutions, but this answers the OP's question. Just like Prawn, except Word instead of PDF.


There's also pandoc and an API wrapper for pandoc called docverter. Both have slightly complicated installs since pandoc is a haskell library.


Maybe this gem is interesting for you.


It like prawn but with docx.


This is a way Doccy (doccyapp.com) has a api that does just that which you can use. Supports docx, odt and pages and converts to PDF as well if you like


Using a technique very similar to that suggested by Grant Wagner I have created a Ruby html to word gem that should allow you to easily output Word docx files from your ruby app. You can check it out at http://github.com/nickfrandsen/htmltoword - Simply pass it a html string and it will create a corresponding word docx file.

def show    respond_to do |format|      format.docx do        file = Htmltoword::Document.create params[:docx_html_source], "file_name.docx"        send_file file.path, :disposition => "attachment"      end    end  end  

Hope you find it useful. If you have any problems with it feel free to open a github issue.


Disclosure: I'm the leader of the docxtemplater project.

I know you're looking for a ruby solution, but because all other solutions only tell you how to do it globally, without giving you a library that does exactly what you want, here's a solution based on JS or NodeJS (works in both)

DocxTemplater Library

Demo of the library

You can also use it in the commandline:

npm install docxtemplater -g    docxtemplater <configFile>    ----config.docxFile: The input file in docx format  ----config.outputFile: The outputfile of the document  


Further to Grant's answer, you can also send Word a "Flat OPC" file, which is essentially the docx unzipped and concatenated to create a single xml file. This way, you can replace [USER-PLACEHOLDER] in one file and be done with it (ie no zipping or unzipping).


If anyone is still looking at this, this post explains how to use an XML data source. This works nicely for me.



If you're running on Windows, of course, it's a matter of WIN32OLE and some pain with the Word COM objects.

Chances are that your serving from a *nix environment, though. Word 2007 uses the "Microsoft Office Open XML" format (*.docx) which can be opened using the appropriate compatibility pack from Microsoft.

Some of the more recent Office apps (2002/XP and 2003 at least) had their own XML formats which may also be useable.

I'm not aware of any Ruby tools to make the process easier, sadly.

If it can be made acceptable, I think I'd be inclined to go down the renamed-html file route. I just saved a document as HTML from WordXP, renamed it to a .doc and opened it without problem.


Check out this github repo: https://github.com/jawspeak/ruby-docx-templater

It allows you to create a document from a word template.


I encountered the same problem. Unfortunately I could not manipulate the xml because my clients should themselves to fill in templates. And to do this is not always possible (for example, office for mac does not allow this).

As a solution to this problem, I made ​​a simple gem, which can be used as an rtf document template with embedded ruby: https://github.com/eicca/rtf-templater

I tested it and it works ok for filling reports and documents. However, formatting badly displays for complex loops and conditions.

Note:If u also have question or solution just comment us below or mail us on toontricks1994@gmail.com
Next Post »