Reading Numbers in Text Format with PHPExcel

I have an array that can store numbers in such as 01, 01A, 01B, 02, 2, and When I get this value using PHPExcel, it's being removed the '0's in case of 01, 02, for example. To solve this problem, I tried to format the row where these values will be stored in excel and set it as text type, just like in the following code:

    $objPHPExcel->getActiveSheet()->fromArray($blockNames, null, 'A2');
    $latestBLColumn = $objPHPExcel->getActiveSheet()->getHighestDataColumn();
    $column = 'A';
    $row = 1;
    for ($column = 'A'; $column != $latestBLColumn; $column++) {
        $objPHPExcel->getActiveSheet()->getStyle($column.$row)->getNumberFormat()->setFormatCode( PHPExcel_Style_NumberFormat::FORMAT_TEXT );
    $objPHPExcel->getActiveSheet()->fromArray($blockNames, null, 'A1');

So, by doing this, I get the array with numbers like 01, 01A, 02, 02B... and I store it in the Row A2. I get the highest Column to use this value in the condition For. In this condition, I set for the Row 1 in the range A until the highest column, to be formated as text.

My template is generated, and all the numbers are in text format, but the problem is that I think when I use the "fromArray()" method, it transforms the numbers of the array before I can get it right in excel. Do you have any idea of how can I solve this problem??

Formatting using a number format affects the way a number is displayed, not the way it is stored.

You'll have to store the numbers explicitly as strings, so you can't use fromArray(). Use setCellValueExplicit() or setCellValueExplicitByColumnAndRow() instead, passing a $pDataType argument of PHPExcel_Cell_DataType::TYPE_STRING.


Note that you can also set styles for a range of cells, so there's no need to add the overhead of the for loop:

$range = 'A'.$row.':'.$latestBLColumn.$row;
    ->setFormatCode( PHPExcel_Style_NumberFormat::FORMAT_TEXT );

EDIT #2 Using a cell binder

Create a customised cell value binder:

class PHPExcel_Cell_MyValueBinder extends PHPExcel_Cell_DefaultValueBinder
    implements PHPExcel_Cell_IValueBinder
    public function bindValue(PHPExcel_Cell $cell, $value = null)
        // sanitize UTF-8 strings
        if (is_string($value)) {
            $value = PHPExcel_Shared_String::SanitizeUTF8($value);

        // Implement your own override logic
        if (is_string($value) && $value[0] == '0') {
            $cell->setValueExplicit($value, PHPExcel_Cell_DataType::TYPE_STRING);
            return true;

        // Not bound yet? Use default value parent...
        return parent::bindValue($cell, $value);

To avoid any problems with the autoloader, create this in the /Classes/PHPExcel/Cell directory. Otherwise, give the class your own non-PHPExcel name, and ensure that it's loaded independently.

Then, before using your fromArray() call, tell PHPExcel to use your value binder instead of the default binder:

PHPExcel_Cell::setValueBinder( new PHPExcel_Cell_MyValueBinder() );