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

Andrew C. Ward andreww at cheque.uq.edu.au
Fri Aug 2 00:05:56 CEST 2002

Professor Ripley was right. I was in fact joking about using specifications 
documented by Microsoft to write a native R function to save files in XLS 
format. Any Windows-based programs that can "directly" read or write XLS 
files does so using hooks into the operating system (the Excel Objects 
library) rather than doing anything itself.

I think that the perfect volunteers to conduct or manage extensions to the 
data exchange capabilities of R are those who request them :-)


Andrew C. Ward

CAPE Centre
Department of Chemical Engineering
The University of Queensland
Brisbane Qld 4072 Australia
andreww at cheque.uq.edu.au

On Thursday, August 01, 2002 4:53 PM, ripley at stats.ox.ac.uk 
[SMTP:ripley at stats.ox.ac.uk] wrote:
> On Thu, 1 Aug 2002, Andrew C. Ward wrote:
> > Drs Lumley and Dalgaard have already outlined R ways of interchanging 
> > 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's not really possible for open-source software and developers to 
> > 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 
> 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 
> 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
> have.
> --
> 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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