[R] how to export ".xls" file with colorful cells?

Marc Schwartz marc_schwartz at comcast.net
Thu Jul 24 15:28:46 CEST 2008

on 07/23/2008 08:29 PM XinMeng wrote:
> Hi all: I wanna know how to expoort ".xls" file. And in the exported
> ".xls" file, how to set different cells with different color?
> Thanks a lot! My best.

You don't indicate what operating system you are using and that is 
important as most of the relevant R packages/functions are Windows specific.

If you are on Windows, then you might want to look at the xlsReadWrite 
CRAN package to address the basic process of creating Excel files.  More 
information is available via the R Wiki here:


The being said, a quick review suggests that the packages do not offer 
any cell level formatting functions.

If you are looking to create formatted reports, I would urge you to 
consider looking at using R's Sweave package, which uses LaTeX to enable 
reproducible research. An alternative would be the odfWeave package, 
which enables you to create OpenOffice.org documents that can also then 
be saved as MS Office documents or printed to PDF files. For some ideas 
of how Sweave can be used, go here:


If you must stay with Excel (eg. job requires it) and want to automate 
such operations, and further, might be comfortable coding in Perl, you 
can look at the Spreadsheet::WriteExcel module on CPAN:


This module would provide for platform independent creation and cell 
level formatting of Excel files.


Marc Schwartz

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