Re: [R] Transfer Crosstable to Word-Document

From: David Scott <>
Date: Sun, 17 Feb 2008 11:28:35 +1300 (NZDT)

On Sat, 16 Feb 2008, Alan Zaslavsky wrote:

> If you want to get nicely formatted tables in Word and are familiar with
> Office tools (I know it's the Evil Empire but some of us work there), I
> suggest that you use Excel for formatting and then insert the table into
> your Word document. IMHO, Excel is much superior to Word for table
> formatting, e.g. modifying number of significant digits, playing around
> with fonts and number formats, etc. And when you have gotten the formats
> right you can paste in modified values of the numbers in the table without
> having to do the formatting again. Including the table in your Word
> document is easy by cut-paste or creating a live link.
> As a user of R under Unix I haven't looked into the facilities for writing
> tables to Excel under Windows but there is something there. Alternatively
> you can write a fixed-column or tab-delimited file and easily import to
> Excel.

Production of tables and formatting them in Word is something I have dealt with a couple of times recently and it really is important to do something smart because of the time taken to individually format tables.

An approach I used recently was to produce a text table in R and export it to Excel as a .csv file which could then be copied as is to Word. Borders and the like would still have to be formatted individually but not entries in the table (with a minor caveat below). The tables comprised results of test with p-values and confidence intervals etc for various variables.

To produce the entries in the table I wrote a small function which pasted bits of output together and formatted numbers exactly using formatC. Often the function produced a number of cells at one time.

One difficulty I had was Excel deciding as usual that it knew better than I did what I wanted. So when I had a cell with a p-value in brackets, that was of course a negative number for example. My solution was to prepend a ' character which make Excel treat the following characters literally. Once the table has been put in Word a simple search and replace can remove the ' characters.

Overall, I was reasonably happy with the approach I took. If I have a future need I will have some ready-made functions to work from which will make life easier. I will be interested to try some of the other suggestions in this thread.

David Scott

David Scott	Department of Statistics, Tamaki Campus
 		The University of Auckland, PB 92019
 		Auckland 1142,    NEW ZEALAND
Phone: +64 9 373 7599 ext 86830		Fax: +64 9 373 7000

Graduate Officer, Department of Statistics Director of Consulting, Department of Statistics mailing list PLEASE do read the posting guide and provide commented, minimal, self-contained, reproducible code. Received on Sat 16 Feb 2008 - 22:31:42 GMT

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