StAX XML formatting in Java

Is it possible using StAX (specifically woodstox) to format the output xml with newlines and tabs, i.e. in the form:


instead of:


If this is not possible in woodstox, is there any other lightweight libs that can do this?

Asked by: Kate184 | Posted: 28-01-2022

Answer 1

There is com.sun.xml.txw2.output.IndentingXMLStreamWriter

XMLOutputFactory xmlof = XMLOutputFactory.newInstance();
XMLStreamWriter writer = new IndentingXMLStreamWriter(xmlof.createXMLStreamWriter(out));

Answered by: Julia633 | Posted: 01-03-2022

Answer 2

Using the JDK Transformer:

public String transform(String xml) throws XMLStreamException, TransformerException
    Transformer t = TransformerFactory.newInstance().newTransformer();
    t.setOutputProperty(OutputKeys.INDENT, "yes");
    t.setOutputProperty("{}indent-amount", "2");
    Writer out = new StringWriter();
    t.transform(new StreamSource(new StringReader(xml)), new StreamResult(out));
    return out.toString();

Answered by: Melissa727 | Posted: 01-03-2022

Answer 3

Via the JDK: transformer.setOutputProperty(OutputKeys.INDENT, "yes");.

Answered by: Cherry828 | Posted: 01-03-2022

Answer 4

If you're using the StAX cursor API, you can indent the output by wrapping the XMLStreamWriter in an indenting proxy. I tried this in my own project and it worked nicely.

Answered by: Steven730 | Posted: 01-03-2022

Answer 5

Rather than relying on a com.sun...class that might go away (or get renamed, I recommend downloading the StAX utility classes from This package contains a IndentingXMLStreamWriter class that works nicely. (Source and javadoc are included in the download.)

Answered by: Maya871 | Posted: 01-03-2022

Answer 6

How about StaxMate:

Works well with Woodstox, fast, low-memory usage (no in-memory tree built), and indents like so:

SMOutputFactory sf = new SMOutputFactory(XMLOutputFactory.newInstance());
SMOutputDocument doc = sf.createOutputDocument(new FileOutputStream("output.xml"));
doc.setIndentation("\n ", 1, 2); // for unix linefeed, 2 spaces per level    
// write doc like:    
SMOutputElement root = doc.addElement("element1");    
doc.closeRoot(); // important, flushes, closes output

Answered by: Kirsten869 | Posted: 01-03-2022

Answer 7

If you're using the iterating method (XMLEventReader), can't you just attach a new line '\n' character to the relevant XMLEvents when writing to your XML file?

Answered by: Michelle512 | Posted: 01-03-2022

Answer 8

Not sure about stax, but there was a recent discussion about pretty printing xml here

pretty print xml from java

this was my attempt at a solution

How to pretty print XML from Java?

using the method

Answered by: Walter393 | Posted: 01-03-2022

Answer 9

if you are using XMLEventWriter, then an easier way to do that is:

XMLOutputFactory outputFactory = XMLOutputFactory.newInstance();
        XMLEventWriter writer = outputFactory.createXMLEventWriter(w);
        XMLEventFactory eventFactory = XMLEventFactory.newInstance();
        Characters newLine = eventFactory.createCharacters("\n"); 

Answered by: Wilson706 | Posted: 01-03-2022

Answer 10

With Spring Batch this requires a subclass since this JIRA BATCH-1867

public class IndentingStaxEventItemWriter<T> extends StaxEventItemWriter<T> {

  private boolean indenting = true;

  protected XMLEventWriter createXmlEventWriter( XMLOutputFactory outputFactory, Writer writer) throws XMLStreamException {
    if ( isIndenting() ) {
      return new IndentingXMLEventWriter( super.createXmlEventWriter( outputFactory, writer ) );
    else {
      return super.createXmlEventWriter( outputFactory, writer );


But this requires an additionnal dependency because Spring Batch does not include the code to indent the StAX output:


Answered by: Anna126 | Posted: 01-03-2022

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