[R] Importing an Excel file that has merged cells

From: Lhachimi, Stefan <Lhachimi_at_demogr.mpg.de>
Date: Sat, 30 Jun 2007 15:18:04 +0200

Dear all,

I have a problem with importing an excel file into R. I can open the file easily (either saving it as a CSV or using RODBC). But the original file is using merged cell in its first column, which gives the name of the observation. (I am dealing with repeated measurements for the same observation)
So when I open the dataframe in R it looks like this

Col1 Col2 Col3
name1 val1 val2

      val3 val4
name2 val5 val6

       val7 val8

Everything is fine, except that the name of the observation is on the first line and the following rows are empty. Until a new observation starts, where a new name appears in the respective row and the following rows are empty and so on.

The number of rows is fixed for each observation. How can I fill the column with the proper name (eg take the first string in this column until you hit a row with a new string, then take this string and go on until the next string).

Or read the excel file in such a way, that when cells are merged that when importing it to R all cells created from this merged cell should have the same content.

Unfortunately, I cannot change the lay-out of the original excel file as it comes from an commercial data-base and I will have to use it quite often.

I have the gut feeling that there might be an easy solution out there as it does not seem to be an uncommon problem.

So if you have hint or a solution I greatly appreciated it. Thanks and a nice weekend,


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