[Rd] xlsReadWrite Pro and embedding objects and files in Excel worksheets

Mark W Kimpel mwkimpel at gmail.com
Thu Feb 8 08:14:26 CET 2007

Hans-Peter and other R developers,

How are you? Have you made any progess with embedding Url's in Excel?

Well, I have been busy thinking of more things for you to do;)

My colleagues in the lab are not R literate, and some are barely 
computer literate, so I give them everything in Excel workbooks. I have 
gradually evolved a system such that these workbooks have become 
compendia of my data, output, and methods. That, in fact, is why I 
bought the Pro version of xlsReadWritePro. I have been saving graphics 
as PDF files, then inserting them as object in Excel sheets.

What I would like to be able to do is to embed objects (files) in sheets 
of a workbook directly from within R. I would also like to be able to 
save my current R workspace as an object embedded in a sheet so that in 
the future, if packages change, I could go back and recreate the 
analysis. I do not need to be able to manuipulate files that R has not 
created, like a PDF file from another user. I would, however, like to be 
able to save my graphics as PDF files inside a worksheet, even if it 
meant creating a  temp file or something.

Before people begin talking about how MySQL or some other database could 
handle all that archiving, let me say that that is not what my 
colleagues want. They want a nice Excel file that they can take home on 
there laptops. One thing I like about worksheets is that they themselves 
can contain many embedded files, so it keeps our virtual desks neater 
and less confusing.

Hans, if you could do this, it would be of tremendous benefit to me and 
hopefully a lot of people. R developers tend to think that all 
scientists are running Linux on 64-bit computers, but most biomedical 
researches still store date in Excel files. This won't solve everybody's 
needs, but it could be a start.

Well, let me know what you think. I am cc'ing R-devel to see if any of 
those guys have ideas as well.


Mark W. Kimpel MD
Department of Psychiatry
Indiana University School of Medicine

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