Exporting to excel

Posted under » PHP » MySQL on 22 Nov 2016

Triggering a download

What many programmers don't realise is that you don't have to create a file, even a temporary one, in order for one to be downloaded. It's sufficient to 'mimic' a download by passing the equivalent HTTP headers followed by the data.

If we create a PHP file with the following code then when it's called a file will be downloaded which can be opened directly using Excel.

  function cleanData(&$str)
    $str = preg_replace("/\t/", "\\t", $str);
    $str = preg_replace("/\r?\n/", "\\n", $str);
    if(strstr($str, '"')) $str = '"' . str_replace('"', '""', $str) . '"';

$result = mysql_query("select * from table_g ORDER BY registered");

  // filename for download
  $filename = "website_data_" . date('Ymd') . ".xls";

  header("Content-Disposition: attachment; filename=\"$filename\"");
  header("Content-Type: application/vnd.ms-excel");

  $flag = false;
  while ($row = mysql_fetch_assoc($result)) {
  foreach($data as $row) {
    if(!$flag) {
      // display field/column names as first row
      echo implode("\t", array_keys($row)) . "\r\n";
      $flag = true;
    // since flag is now true... we begin putting records
    // The array_walk() function runs each array element in a user-defined function
    array_walk($row, __NAMESPACE__ . '\cleanData');
    echo implode("\t", array_values($row)) . "\r\n";

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