# [R] What is the best way to have "R" output tables in an MS

John Kane jrkrideau at yahoo.ca
Fri May 7 14:45:15 CEST 2010

Let me see. I open a Word document and type,

Dear Dr.Harrell,

I open a new LaTeX document and type something like:

\documentclass[10pt,a4paper]{letter}
\usepackage[latin1]{inputenc}
\usepackage{amsmath}
\usepackage{amsfonts}
\usepackage{amssymb}
\address{your name and address}
\signature{your signature}
\begin{document}
\begin{letter}{name and address of the recipient}
\opening{saying hello}

Dear Dr Harrell,

For a manager or secretary who is panicky at the thought of using a computer and who thinks of it as a glorified typewriter, which one wins?

I think it was the initial investment in learning how to use the software.  A simple WYSIWYG interface is learnable (is this a word?) in a few moments even if it may lead to some horrible results later.

LaTex looks incredibly complicated to someone used to a fountain pen and an IBM Selectric typewriter (which was "the" high tec way of producing most documents in late 1960s and 1970s.

Heck,when I learned to type we didn't even have electric typewriters!

--- On Thu, 5/6/10, Frank E Harrell Jr <f.harrell at vanderbilt.edu> wrote:

> From: Frank E Harrell Jr <f.harrell at vanderbilt.edu>
> Subject: Re: [R] What is the best way to have "R" output tables in an MS
> To: r-help at r-project.org
> Received: Thursday, May 6, 2010, 7:44 PM
> Ted I can't resist offering my \$.02,
> which is that I'm puzzled why
> LaTeX, being free, flexible, and powerful, is used only by
> millions of
> people and not tens of millions.
du>
> Frank
>
>
> On 05/06/2010 03:07 PM, (Ted Harding) wrote:
> > Replying to Chris's latest message for the sake of
> preserving the
> > thread, but deleting all of it to save space. Except:
> >
> > I had sympathy with Chris's original query, on the
> grounds that
> > it was a good enquiry in principle, essentially
> pokinting towards
> > the problem of incorporating R's formatted output (be
> it tables,
> > graphics, ... ) into document-preparation software,
> whether it
> > be noddy WYSIWYG like Word, or more sophisticated
> "typesetting"
> > software such as TeX, the Adobe stable and other DTP
> software,
> > or even the ancient UNIX troff dinosaur (re-evolved as
> GNU groff,but
> > stil roaming the plains and consuming tough
> typesetting for breakfast
> > just as its ancestor did).
> >
> > Given what he said in his latest message, I now have
> even more
> > sympathy. It's not about begging in the streets for
> someone to
> > charitably do the job for him! It's a job that could
> be a service
> > to many, and if it attracts enough enthusiasm from
> enough of those
> > who know how to do it then they will willingly plunge
> in. That's
> > how Free Software works.
> >
> > The issue is about the "enough enthusiasm" and the
> "enough of
> > those who know".
> >
> > Many (possibly almost all) of the people who have
> developed R
> > are mainly working with TeX/LaTex. R clearly has a
> well-developed
> > interface to that language. But there are many people
> (of whom
> > Chris has raised his head) who have needs or
> preferences for other
> > software of whom some (as Chris spelled out) may
> totally lack
> > support for R and LaTex, etc., from their
> organisations.
> >
> > I've pondered such issues many times myself, being one
> of the
> > old nomadic troff-herders and still herding the
> groffs.
> > My routine approach is as Chris described: grab the
> output from
> > R (be it mouse-copied off-screen, from a saved file,
> or for
> > graphics from a file of the coordinates of the
> graphical objects,
> > or an EPS file), plant this into a groff document, and
> wrap it
> > in formatting tags so that it comes out nicely. A bit
> time
> > consuming, but since it's fairly straightforward in a
> markup
> > language like g/troff, not so very time-consuming; and
> I dare
> > say the same would be true for TeX/LaTex if
> Sweave&  Co did
> > not exist. However, I would hate to have to do it for
> Word and
> > the like! I bet that *is* time consuming.
> >
> > All of which is leading on to a suggestion that has
> been lurking
> > in my mind for a while.
> >
> > How about an R "device" called xml? This would
> implement the XML
> > "extensible markup language" which is basically
> capable of
> > encapsulating any formatted material.
> >
> > The existing R devices seem to be confined to
> graphical output.
> > XML can in principle cope with anything. Naturally,
> its function
> > would be to save to file, not display on screen.
> >
> > I believe that Word (and maybe other MS Office
> software) can import
> > XML. I know that XML can be converted to g/troff input
> (I've done it).
> > It can no doubt be converted to TeX/LateX input. I'm
> not familiar
> > enough with other document software to comment
> >
> > Then we would have a "universal" language for
> formatted R output,
> > suitable for importing formatted R output into
> document preparation
> > software. One would not need the full functionality of
> XML.
> >
> > Up to a point (I'm far from being an XML guru) I'd be
> prepared to
> > assist with this, and in particular to test it out
> with groff.
> >
> > Any comments? Might there be a better suggestion than
> XML?
> >
> > Ted.
> >
>
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