[R] exportData(foo,"foo.xls","EXCEL") for R ?

ripley@stats.ox.ac.uk ripley at stats.ox.ac.uk
Thu Aug 1 08:52:58 CEST 2002

On Thu, 1 Aug 2002, Andrew C. Ward wrote:

> Drs Lumley and Dalgaard have already outlined R ways of interchanging data
> with Excel. Other alternatives are to
> see if the other program can accept a text or CSV file instead
> write an R routine for exporting XLS files. Perhaps the format is
> documented by Microsoft?

You must be joking!  That has been one of the major hurdles in people's
attempts to do this.  One also has to be careful which version(s) of .xls
programs can read or write, as the current format (which uses OLE
containers) is very different to earlier ones.

> If S-PLUS has the required features it makes sense to continue using it.
> It's not really possible for open-source software and developers to match
> the resources of commercial companies. There are often license fees
> associated with reading and writing proprietary data formats, and the
> source code for doing so is generally not available. In my experience, R is
> very flexible in enabling data to be shared between a wide variety of
> programs on a number of platforms.

Not really so in this case.

1) As far as I am aware S-PLUS can only handle current .xls on Windows
(and not say Linux).  As I understand it, the ability to read/write that
format is in the OS's dlls.

2) There are Open Source solutions that R could build on (and a commercial
package could not).  Perl modules have been mentioned (now and before),
and Gnumeric and Open Office and others must be suitables resources.  I
did suggest when this last came up that someone used the Gnumeric sources.

The real issue though is priorities.  We are very short of people willing
to work on Windows, down now to the level of maintaining the port that we

Brian D. Ripley,                  ripley at stats.ox.ac.uk
Professor of Applied Statistics,  http://www.stats.ox.ac.uk/~ripley/
University of Oxford,             Tel:  +44 1865 272861 (self)
1 South Parks Road,                     +44 1865 272860 (secr)
Oxford OX1 3TG, UK                Fax:  +44 1865 272595

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