In my article "Use XSLT to prepare XML for import into OpenOffice Calc" I discussed how to use XSLT to format XML for import into OpenOffice Calc.
The popular open source office suite OpenOffice.org is XML-savvy at its core. It uses XML in its file formats and offers several XML-processing plug-ins, so you might expect it to have nice tools built in for importing XML data. Unfortunately, things are not so simple, and a bit of work is required to manipulate general XML into delimited text format in order to import the data into its spreadsheet component, Calc. This article offers a quick XSLT tool for this purpose and demonstrates the Calc import of records-oriented XML. In addition to learning a practical trick for working with Calc, you might also learn a few handy XSLT techniques for using dynamic criteria to transform XML.
I do wonder about formulae, though. Via Parand Tony Darugar I found "Excel Reports with Apache Cocoon and POI", which (in the section starting with the header "Rendering Machinery") shows that you can just as easily use such a technique for MS Excel. Good to know. I've recently had reason to figure out a system for aggregating reports to and from spreadsheets and XML, and I'd possibly have to deal with simple formulae. I guess I'll cross that bridge if I ever for sure get to it, and the full OpenDocument saved-file format is always an option, but if anyone does happen to have any quick pointers, I'd be grateful.