[R] R: Including R plots in a Microsoft Word document

Marc Schwartz MSchwartz at medanalytics.com
Fri Feb 20 18:08:00 CET 2004

On Fri, 2004-02-20 at 09:54, Mahmoud K. Okasha wrote:
> Greetings List,
> I am conducting some large simulations using R. As a result, I get
> many plots but I'm having some trouble with including some of them in
> a Microsoft Word document. Can any one tell me the easiest method of
> having copies of the R-graphs in the Word documents?
> Best regards
> Mahmoud

A couple of different ways:

1. If you actually need to see the graphics within the document and/or
send the .doc file to someone who needs to be able to see the plots as
they appear, then you should use Windows Metafile format images. Since
these are vector format files, you can resize them as required on your
pages. Bitmapped images (ie .BMP/.PNG) will distort as you resize them.
You can generate these by plotting directly into an R plot window and
then copy (ie. right mouse click) and paste into the Word document using
the Windows clipboard, or generate the plot files directly using the
win.metafile() function.

2. If you will be generating hard copies of the documents using a PS
printer, you can generate the graphics as EPS files using the
postscript() function. Word can import EPS files, but you will see them
only as place holders in your document (ie. a frame box) since Word
cannot actually interpret the images for display. Keep in mind that the
function has very specific argument requirements to enable the
generation of EPS files. These include:

horizontal = FALSE, onefile = FALSE, paper = "special"

With these in place, you can then generate your plots to the EPS files
and import them into your Word documents.

See ?postscript for more information.

If this is something that you will be doing with a level of repetition,
you might want to look into using Sweave, which combines LaTeX and R to
automate formatted report generation. More information is here:


There were also a couple of articles in RNews:

Friedrich Leisch. Sweave, part I: Mixing R and LaTeX. R News,
2(3):28-31, December 2002.

Friedrich Leisch. Sweave, part II: Package vignettes. R News,
2(2):21-24, October 2003.

Frank Harrell also has a document at:



Marc Schwartz

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