Working with Diagrams and Shapes with Apache POI

Apache POI is a powerful Java library that allows you to work with Microsoft Office documents, including diagrams and shapes. In this tutorial, we will focus on working with diagrams and shapes using Apache POI.

Example Code

Before we delve into the details, let's take a look at a simple example of how to create a diagram with shapes using Apache POI:

import org.apache.poi.xslf.usermodel.*;

public class DiagramsShapesExample {
  public static void main(String[] args) throws Exception {
    XMLSlideShow ppt = new XMLSlideShow();
    XSLFSlide slide = ppt.createSlide();
    XSLFAutoShape shape1 = slide.createAutoShape();
    shape1.setAnchor(new Rectangle2D.Double(50, 50, 100, 50));
    XSLFAutoShape shape2 = slide.createAutoShape();
    shape2.setAnchor(new Rectangle2D.Double(200, 50, 100, 50));
    ppt.write(new FileOutputStream("output.pptx"));

Step-by-Step Tutorial

  1. Create an instance of the XMLSlideShow class, which represents a PowerPoint presentation.
  2. Create a slide using the createSlide() method.
  3. Create an AutoShape using the createAutoShape() method and set its shape type.
  4. Set the text content of the shape using the setText() method.
  5. Set the position and size of the shape using the setAnchor() method and the Rectangle2D class.
  6. Write the presentation to a file using the write() method.

Common Mistakes

  • Not setting the required properties for the shape, such as shape type, text content, or position.
  • Using incorrect shape types or unsupported features in the diagram.
  • Missing the necessary dependencies in the project's build configuration.
  • Not properly handling exceptions when working with diagrams and shapes.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

  1. Can I modify the properties of an existing shape in a diagram using Apache POI?

    Yes, you can retrieve the existing shape from the slide and modify its properties, such as text content, position, or formatting, using the Apache POI API.

  2. Can I add connectors between shapes in a diagram using Apache POI?

    No, Apache POI does not provide direct support for adding connectors between shapes in a diagram. This functionality is typically handled by specialized diagramming tools.

  3. Is it possible to apply formatting, such as colors or styles, to shapes in a diagram using Apache POI?

    Yes, you can apply formatting to shapes by using the appropriate methods in the Apache POI API, such as setFillColor() or setLineColor().

  4. Can Apache POI work with other diagram formats, such as .vsdx or .dia?

    No, Apache POI primarily focuses on Microsoft Office file formats and does not directly support other diagram formats. For working with .vsdx files, you can explore other libraries specifically designed for that purpose.

  5. Is it possible to extract information from shapes in a diagram using Apache POI?

    Yes, you can access the properties and content of shapes in a diagram using the Apache POI API, allowing you to extract information or perform analysis on the diagram's contents.


In this tutorial, we have explored how to work with diagrams and shapes using Apache POI. We provided example code, explained the steps involved, highlighted common mistakes, and answered frequently asked questions. With this knowledge, you can now programmatically create and manipulate diagrams and shapes using Apache POI, empowering you to automate diagram-related tasks in your Java applications.