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Considerations for server-side Automation of Office
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Developers can use Automation to Microsoft Office to build custom solutions that utilize the capabilities and features that are built into the Office product. While such programmatic development can be implemented on a client system with relative ease, there are a number of complications that can occur if Automation is to take place from server-side code such as Microsoft Active Server Pages (ASP), DCOM, or a Windows NT Service.

This article discusses the complications that developers may face, offers alternatives to Automation that can speed performance, and suggests ways to configure Office if server-side Automation is unavoidable. Developers should be aware, however, that the suggestions provided below are for informational purposes only. Microsoft does not recommend or support server-side Automation of Office.


Office Automation and recently VSTO are quite nice technologies to use them on desktop applications.

NEVER USE THEM ON A WEB APPLICATION. Office automation is a heavy approach and is not intended for web applications that are accessed by many concurrent users, using them on an ASP .net application will lead you to:

  • Issues finding a proper hosting (no body wants to host a web app that needs to access the Office DLL's
  • Security issues: it's complex to tweak it and make it work for an ASP .net app, quite easy to make a mistake an let any hacker an open door.
  • Performance issues: Imaging twenty concurrent users accessing heavy office DLLs

if you still have some doubt, take a look at what Ms guys say: Microsoft does not currently recommend, and does not support, Automation of Microsoft Office applications from any unattended, non-interactive client application or component (including ASP, DCOM, and NT Services), because Office may exhibit unstable behavior and/or deadlock when run in this environment.

MS Offers you a bunch of great alternatives for Web Applications: XMLSS, Open XML, CSV, even you can feed Excel with HTML (making some tricks).

There are as well a lot of third parties libraries that will let you generate Excel files, e.g.: Office Writer from Soft Artisans.