Re: [R] Transferring R results to word prosessors

From: Frank E Harrell Jr <>
Date: Fri 10 Feb 2006 - 10:10:51 EST

Tom Backer Johnsen wrote:
> There has been an incredible number of responses in a short time, with a
> number of different suggestions. With hindsight, I must admit I have not
> been quite clear, so additional (somewhat lengthy) explanation is needed.
> I want to use R in an introductory course on multiple regression (among
> other things) starting in two weeks time for students of psychology at my
> University. These students are very much used to MS Word, it is in
> principle possible to get them to adopt OpenOffice (which I would like to),
> but I regard Latex to be out of the question.
> One of the things they are drilled on is that they have to produce term
> papers etc. based on a template in APA (American Psychological Association)

There's nothing wrong with the APA template; it will work well with LaTeX.

> format. Among other things, this means that the document must be all text
> apart from the graphics. Therefore any kind of solution involving pictures
> of tables rather than the tables / results as text is out. Same holds for
> all kinds of "mixed" output, so combinations of text with PDF
> elements. Besides, the tables in R are not that nice in respect to the
> formatting. Since the content is the main thing anyhow, that does not

You have not seen the various R/latex interfaces for tables then.

> matter. In most cases, the tables have to be tweaked as least to some
> extent. Given my inexperience, it seems that the R2HTML path is so far the
> most promising (but for me untried so far)
> One of the nice things about SPSS and Statistica is that it is VERY easy to
> copy and paste output from the program right into the paper / paper. A
> commmon trick when using SPSS is to first paste the output into a
> spreadsheet (e.g. Excel), and from there into the document. In any case,
> the outcome is that the output is a table (not a table in the R sense) in
> the document, which may be edited, tweaked, adding borders etc.. So, what
> I am looking for is a process starting with output from R (like what is
> obtained from the summary(lm (...)) command, the output of a correlation
> matrix, or ...) that could end up as a table in MS Word (and probably in
> OpenOffice as well) in the smallest number of steps.

It sounds as if you are not interested in teaching students the principles of reproducible research, which is too bad. [See references towards the bottom of].

> For instance, if there was an option in R which had the effect that the
> spaces separating things (e.g. the columns in the output of a correlation
> matrix or the elements in an ANOVA table) were replaced by tabs, everything
> would be very simple. Then, you could (a) paste the output into the
> document, and (b) do a simple text-to-table conversion in Word after the
> paste. A simple affair with a few simple steps. Ideally, what I want for
> me and my students is this or a similar solution to this problem. That
> might be a good selling argument for R as well.
> Tom

Frank E Harrell Jr   Professor and Chair           School of Medicine
                      Department of Biostatistics   Vanderbilt University

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Received on Fri Feb 10 10:48:15 2006

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