[R] opinions please: text editors and reporting/Sweave?

Greg Snow Greg.Snow at intermountainmail.org
Wed May 30 23:07:41 CEST 2007


First, I personnally am a big fan of LaTeX, Emacs, and ESS and I think
that in the long run you would benefit from learning all of them
(probably start with Emacs, then ESS, then LaTeX once you already have a
knowledge of Emacs and how it can help).

Since you asked about the simplest way to go, you may want to look at
the odfWeave package.  This gives you the power of Sweave, but without
having to learn LaTeX.  It works with documents in openoffice (a free
office suite similar to and mostly compatible with microsoft office
(word)).  Using this you can create your template using openoffice
writer (or MS word, then convert using openoffice), run it through
R/odfWeave, and have the result as another openoffice document that can
then be converted to MS word or pdf.

Personally, if I am doing something for myself, or in which the output
format does not matter, then I use Sweave with LaTeX (using Emacs and
ESS).  But, often my results need to be sent to a client that will cut
and past my results into an MS word document or power point
presentation.  Then I find it easier to use openoffice and odfWeave and
have the end result be an MS word document that can be e-mailed to the
client for them to mangle in ways they feel the need to.

(there is also an HTML driver for Sweave I nthe the R2HTML package where
you can have the template file resemble html and the final output is in

Hope this helps, 

Gregory (Greg) L. Snow Ph.D.
Statistical Data Center
Intermountain Healthcare
greg.snow at intermountainmail.org
(801) 408-8111

> -----Original Message-----
> From: r-help-bounces at stat.math.ethz.ch 
> [mailto:r-help-bounces at stat.math.ethz.ch] On Behalf Of Tim Howard
> Sent: Wednesday, May 30, 2007 2:43 PM
> To: r-help at stat.math.ethz.ch
> Subject: [R] opinions please: text editors and reporting/Sweave?
> dear all - 
> I currently use Tinn-R as my text editor to work with code 
> that I submit to R, with some output dumped to text files, 
> some images dumped to pdf. (system: Windows 2K and XP, R 
> 2.4.1 and R 2.5). We are using R for overnight runs to create 
> large output data files for GIS, but then I need simple 
> output reports for analysis results for each separate data 
> set. Thus, I create many reports of the same style, but just 
> based on different input data.
> I am recognizing that I need a better reporting system, so 
> that I can create clean reports for each separate R run. This 
> obviously means using Sweave and some implementation of 
> LaTex, both of which are new to me. I've installed MikTex and 
> successfully completed a demo or two for creating pdfs from raw LaTeX.
> It appears that if I want to ease my entry into the world of 
> LaTeX, I might need to switch editors to something like Emacs 
> (I read somewhere that Emacs helps with the TeX markup?). 
> After quite a while wallowing at the Emacs site, I am finding 
> that ESS is well integrated with R and might be the way to 
> go. Aaaagh... I'm in way over my head!
> My questions:
> What, in your opinion, is the simplest way to integrate text 
> and graphics reports into a single report such as a pdf file. 
> If the answer to this is LaTeX and Sweave, is it difficult to 
> use a text editor such as Tinn-R or would you strongly 
> recommend I leave behind Tinn and move over to an editor that 
> has more LaTeX help?  
> In reading over Friedrich Leisch's "Sweave User Manual" (v 
> 1.6.0) I am beginning to think I can do everything I need 
> with my simple editor. Before spending many hours going down 
> that path, I thought it prudent to ask the R community.
> It is likely I am misunderstanding some of the process here 
> and any clarifications are welcome. 
> Thank you in advance for any thoughts. 
> Tim Howard
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