Fsharp & Excel: Creating Excel charts from F# FSI

Following up with the recent announcement on F# EasyChart, I like to point out a few .net charting libraries that can potentially be applied to the interactive development environment like the F# FSI window.

  • VSLAB – lots feature in 3D plot, can be run as VS2010 add-in
  • XtraCharts – Industry strength, good for drag and drop designer type of development, but not great for FSI
  • Microsoft Chat Controls – it is the base for EasyChart, it is good for apps
  • DotnetCharting – has a several unique charts, it is good for domain specific applications.

In this blog, I also like to demonstrate how to call Excel chart libraries from the FSI window. There are several benefits for using the excel charts from FSI

  • Popularities: most people has experience with excel charting. It is easy to prettify, add a title, copy and paste the chart into your presentation.
  • Community: there are plenty C# to Excel code example. To find out how to do a 3D plot, you can simply Bing it.

Step0: Software Setup

  • VS2010 + Office 2010

Step1: Past in following code in FSI 

#r "Microsoft.Office.Interop.Excel"

#r "office"

open Microsoft.Office.Interop


let dataX = [|0.0 .. 0.1 .. 10.|]

let dataY = [|  [|for f in dataX -> cos f|];

                [|for f in dataX -> sin f|] |]


// Update the excel charting object

let xlApp = new Excel.ApplicationClass()

let xlWorkBook = xlApp.Workbooks.Add()

let xlWorkSheet = xlWorkBook.Worksheets.[1] :?> Excel.Worksheet

let xlCharts = xlWorkSheet.ChartObjects() :?> Excel.ChartObjects

let xlChart = xlCharts.Add(1., 1., 460., 380.)

let myChart = xlChart.Chart


// Fill in a excel worksheet with data from dataY[][]

for i in 1 .. dataY.Length do

    for j in 1 .. dataY.[i-1].Length do

        xlWorkSheet.Cells.[j, i] <- dataY.[i-1].[j-1]

let xlRange = xlWorkSheet.Cells.CurrentRegion



// Set Plot type and show chart

myChart.ChartType <- Excel.XlChartType.xlXYScatterLines

xlApp.Visible <- true

It result in:


FSharp language services Intellisense fairly useful to select a right chart.


Happy coding

Comments (0)