Simple OpenOffice templating with the ODF toolkit

To open an OpenOffice text document and access the text you first have to download (Homepage of ODF TOOLKIT) and add odfdom.jar to your classpath together with a recent Xerces implementation like xercesImpl-2.9.0.jar. Then you can start with Java:

File file = new File( "C:/Users/Christian/Desktop/TEMPLATE.odt" );
OdfTextDocument odf = (OdfTextDocument) OdfTextDocument.loadDocument( file );
OdfOfficeText contentRoot = odf.getContentRoot();

The OdfOfficeText gives access to the XML-structure of the document. If you print it out

System.out.println( contentRoot );

it looks like this:

    <office:forms form:apply-design-mode="false"


With regular XML-DOM operations you can now modify the document.

To use a template you have to a) find a certain element you want to fill b) modify it and c) save the document.

a) For templates you can use user variables. If you set a variable it looks like this in XML:

<text:variable-set office:value-type="string" text:name="COURSETITLE">COURSETITLE</text:variable-set>

(Date and other formats look different!)

b) After your found the XML element either by hand or XPath, you can modify an entry with setNodeValue() or different method if the value is stored in attributes.

c) Save the modified document with file );

A simple but complete example to read a document, set variables and write the modified ODT:

import java.util.*;
import org.odftoolkit.odfdom.doc.OdfTextDocument;
import org.w3c.dom.*;

public class OdtTemplate
  private OdfTextDocument odf;
  private Map<String, String> map = new HashMap<String, String>();

  public static void main( String[] args ) throws Exception
    File file1 = new File( "C:/Users/Christian/Desktop/TEMPLATE.odt" );
    File file2 = new File( "C:/Users/Christian/Desktop/result.odt" );

    OdtTemplate template = new OdtTemplate();
    template.readOdt( file1 );
    template.setVariable( "COURSETITLE", "Donuts backen für Kernkraftfahrer" );
    template.setVariable( "COURSECODE", "DONUT" );
    template.setVariable( "CREATOR", "ull" );
    template.saveOdt( file2 );

  public void readOdt( File file ) throws Exception
    odf = (OdfTextDocument) OdfTextDocument.loadDocument( file );

  public void setVariable( String key, String value )
    map.put( key, value );

  public void saveOdt( File file ) throws Exception
    OdfOfficeText contentRoot = odf.getContentRoot();
    iteratorOverEveryVariableSet( contentRoot.getChildNodes() ); file );

  private void iteratorOverEveryVariableSet( NodeList childNodes )
    for ( int i = 0; i < childNodes.getLength(); i++ )
      Node item = childNodes.item( i );

      if ( item instanceof NodeList )
        iteratorOverEveryVariableSet( item.getChildNodes() );

      if ( item.getNodeName().equals( "text:variable-set" ) )
        String nodeValue = item.getAttributes().getNamedItem( "text:name" ).getNodeValue();
        item.getChildNodes().item( 0 ).setNodeValue( map.get( nodeValue ) );

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  1. Beware: This doesnt work on the Google App Engine because the lib wants to create temp. files!

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