XLConnect 0.1-4

May 30, 2011
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(This article was first published on Mirai Solutions » R, and kindly contributed to R-bloggers)

Mirai Solutions GmbH (http://www.mirai-solutions.com) is pleased to release XLConnect 0.1-4. In the time since our first release (XLConnect 0.1-3, released on Feb 28, 2011) we received very positive and constructive feedback from the R community which heavily influenced the development of XLConnect 0.1-4. At this point special thanks to Peter DeWitt, Doug Morrison, Bob Colner, Bill Behrman and Carl Finkbeiner.

XLConnect 0.1-4 fixes several issues and introduces many new features. The most important items are listed below:

  • An issue was fixed where cell styles would not be applied correctly.
  • There is a new DATA_FORMAT_ONLY style action: This style action instructs XLConnect to only set the data format for a cell but not to apply any other styling but rather keep the existing one. The data format to be applied is determined by the corresponding R data type and can be defined by the user. This style action may be useful in scenarios where Excel templates with pre-defined styling are to be filled with XLConnect.
  • Worksheets can be renamed with the new renameSheet method.
  • The positions (indices) of worksheets can be queried & redefined using the new methods getSheetPos & setSheetPos.
  • Worksheets can be cloned using the new method cloneSheet.
  • There is a set of new utility functions:
    • col2idx, idx2col: Converts Excel column names such as BD to indices and vice versa.
    • cref2idx, idx2cref: Converts cell references to row & column indices and vice versa.
  • Setting a missing value string when writing missing values from R to Excel. By default missing values result in blank/empty cells. This is to have a nice type mapping between R and Excel. In some cases, however, you might want to define a specific missing value string to be used by XLConnect when writing cells representing missing values instead of blank/empty cells. This can be done using the new method setMissingValue.
  • The handling of error cells (cells that result in an error when trying to evaluate them) has been greatly improved. With XLConnect 0.1-3 error cells directly resulted in an exception. With XLConnect 0.1-4 this behavior can be controlled using the onErrorCell method. By default error cells now result in a missing value and the corresponding error cells will be reported via warnings. The behavior may be changed to get an exception with the first occurrence of an error cell.
  • There is two new methods for merging & un-merging cells: mergeCells & unmergeCells.

XLConnect is a comprehensive and cross-platform R package for manipulating Microsoft Excel files from within R. XLConnect differs from other related R packages in that it is completely cross-platform and as such runs under Windows, Unix/Linux and Mac (32- and 64-bit). Moreover, it does not require any installation of Microsoft Excel or any other special drivers to be able to read & write Excel files. The only requirement is a recent version of a Java Runtime Environment (JRE).

The package can easily be installed from CRAN via install.packages(“XLConnect”). In order to get started have a look at the numerous demos available via demo(package = “XLConnect”). E.g. in order to run the “writeNamedRegion” demo simply run demo(topic = “writeNamedRegion”, package = “XLConnect”).

For general feedback write us an email to [email protected]. If you find any bugs or hope to see some currently missing features in the future, just send us an email to [email protected]. You may also want to check out our new XLConnect FAQ.


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