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

Hin-Tak Leung hin-tak.leung at cimr.cam.ac.uk
Thu Feb 8 12:16:55 CET 2007

I don't know of any native xls read/write facility in R, either
in core or as add-ons (I could be wrong), but if you want some source 
code to scavenge on to build some R package out of it, there are two
perl modules, Spreadsheet::ParseExcel and Spreadsheet::WriteExcel
which are small enough to "read from front cover to back cover",
so to speak, might be useful for reference and steal code from.

The other open-source packages which can read/write excel files
are gnumeric and openoffice and probably too big to find one's way 
around the source code to steal there :-).

Good luck.


Mark W Kimpel wrote:
> 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.
> Thanks,
> Mark

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