Saving a PHPExcel spreadsheet to Google Documents

As you may know, PHPExcel is built using an extensible model, supporting different input and output formats. The PHPExcel core class library features a spreadsheet engine, which is supported by IReader and IWriter instances used for reading and writing a spreadsheet to/from a file.

PHPExcel architecture

Currently, PHPExcel supports writers for Excel2007, Excel5 (Excel 97+), CSV, HTML and PDF. Wouldnt it be nice if we could use PHPExcel to store a spreadsheet on Google Documents? Let’s combine some technologies:

Creating a custom GoogleDocs writer

First, we need an implementation of PHPExcel_Writer_IWriter which will support writing stuff to Google Documents. Since Google accepts XLS files and Zend_Gdata provides an upload method, I think an overloaded version of PHPExcel’s integrated PHPExcel_Writer_Excel5 will be a good starting point.


class PHPExcel_Writer_GoogleDocs extends PHPExcel_Writer_Excel5 implements PHPExcel_Writer_IWriter {
        // ...


Since Google requires to log in prior to being able to interact with the documents stored on Google Documents, let’s also add a username and password field.


class PHPExcel_Writer_GoogleDocs extends PHPExcel_Writer_Excel5 implements PHPExcel_Writer_IWriter {
    private $_username;
    private $_password;

    public function setCredentials($username, $password) {
        $this->_username = $username;
        $this->_password = $password;


Next, let’s override the save() method. This method will save the document as an XLS spreadsheet somewhere, upload it to Google Docs and afterwards remove it from the file system. Here we go:


public function save($pFilename = null) {
        $googleDocsClient = Zend_Gdata_ClientLogin::getHttpClient($this->_username,
                $this->_password, Zend_Gdata_Docs::AUTH_SERVICE_NAME);
        $googleDocsService = new Zend_Gdata_Docs($googleDocsClient);
        $googleDocsService->uploadFile($pFilename, basename($pFilename), null,



Nothing more! This should be our new writer class.

Using the GoogleDocs writer

Now let’s try saving a spreadsheet to Google Docs. First of all, we load a document we have stored somewhere on the file system:


$objReader = PHPExcel_IOFactory::createReader('Excel2007');
$objPHPExcel = $objReader->load("05featuredemo.xlsx");


Next, let’s use PHPExcel’s IOFactory class to load our PHPExcel_Writer_GoogleDocs class. We will also set credentials on it. Afterwards, we save.


$objWriter = PHPExcel_IOFactory::createWriter($objPHPExcel, 'GoogleDocs');
$objWriter->setCredentials('[email protected]', 'xxxxxxxx');


This should be all there is to it. Google Docs will now contain our spreadsheet created using PHPExcel.

Google Docs Image

Note that images are not displayed due to the fact that Google Docs seems to remove them when uploading a document. But hey, it’s a start!

You can download the full example code here (26.29 kb). Make sure you have PHPExcel, Zend Framework and Zend Gdata classes installed on your system.

This is an imported post. It was imported from my old blog using an automated tool and may contain formatting errors and/or broken images.

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One response

  1. Avatar for Cyrille Andres
    Cyrille Andres September 8th, 2014

    sorry a bit old... that works perfectly though :) Any idea how to edit an existing google spreadsheet? Tried to dig in Zend documentation but I am not very familiar with this framework...