OpenCSV: How to create CSV file from POJO with custom column headers and custom column positions?

I’ve had similar problem. AFAIK there is no build-in functionality in OpenCSV that will allow to write bean to CSV with custom column names and ordering.

There are two main MappingStrategyies that are available in OpenCSV out of the box:

  • HeaderColumnNameMappingStrategy: that allows to map CVS file columns to bean fields based on custom name; when writing bean to CSV this allows to change column header name but we have no control on column order
  • ColumnPositionMappingStrategy: that allows to map CSV file columns to bean fields based on column ordering; when writing bean to CSV we can control column order but we get an empty header (implementation returns new String[0] as a header)

The only way I found to achieve both custom column names and ordering is to write your custom MappingStrategy.

First solution: fast and easy but hardcoded

Create custom MappingStrategy:

class CustomMappingStrategy<T> extends ColumnPositionMappingStrategy<T> {
    private static final String[] HEADER = new String[]{"TradeID", "GWML GUID", "MXML GUID", "GWML File", "MxML File", "MxML Counterparty", "GWML Counterparty"};

    public String[] generateHeader() {
        return HEADER;

And use it in StatefulBeanToCsvBuilder:

final CustomMappingStrategy<MappingsBean> mappingStrategy = new CustomMappingStrategy<>();

final StatefulBeanToCsv<MappingsBean> beanToCsv = new StatefulBeanToCsvBuilder<MappingsBean>(writer)

In MappingsBean class we left CsvBindByPosition annotations – to control ordering (in this solution CsvBindByName annotations are not needed). Thanks to custom mapping strategy the header column names are included in resulting CSV file.

The downside of this solution is that when we change column ordering through CsvBindByPosition annotation we have to manually change also HEADER constant in our custom mapping strategy.

Second solution: more flexible

The first solution works, but it was not good for me. Based on build-in implementations of MappingStrategy I came up with yet another implementation:

class CustomMappingStrategy<T> extends ColumnPositionMappingStrategy<T> {
    public String[] generateHeader() {
        final int numColumns = findMaxFieldIndex();
        if (!isAnnotationDriven() || numColumns == -1) {
            return super.generateHeader();

        header = new String[numColumns + 1];

        BeanField beanField;
        for (int i = 0; i <= numColumns; i++) {
            beanField = findField(i);
            String columnHeaderName = extractHeaderName(beanField);
            header[i] = columnHeaderName;
        return header;

    private String extractHeaderName(final BeanField beanField) {
        if (beanField == null || beanField.getField() == null || beanField.getField().getDeclaredAnnotationsByType(CsvBindByName.class).length == 0) {
            return StringUtils.EMPTY;

        final CsvBindByName bindByNameAnnotation = beanField.getField().getDeclaredAnnotationsByType(CsvBindByName.class)[0];
        return bindByNameAnnotation.column();

You can use this custom strategy in StatefulBeanToCsvBuilder exactly this same as in the first solution (remember to invoke mappingStrategy.setType(MappingsBean.class);, otherwise this solution will not work).

Currently our MappingsBean has to contain both CsvBindByName and CsvBindByPosition annotations. The first to give header column name and the second to create ordering of columns in the output CSV header. Now if we change (using annotations) either column name or ordering in MappingsBean class – that change will be reflected in output CSV file.

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