R data concepts, for Excel users

March 7, 2018

(This article was first published on Revolutions, and kindly contributed to R-bloggers)

Excel users starting to use R likely have some established concepts about data: where it's stored, how functions apply to data, etc. In general, R does things differently to Excel (or any spreadsheet, in fact). In a useful guide, Steph de Silva from Rex Analytics explains the concepts of data management in R and how they differ from Excel, which provides a useful mental model for those making the transition or working in both. 

Click the image above for the complete guide, but in summary the differences are:

  • Excel stores data in the grid structure of the worksheet, whereas R stores data in individual objects, accessed and manipulated by the R language.
  • In Excel, code is formulas associated with cells of the worksheet. In R, code is functions provided by the R language or that you write yourself.
  • In Excel, you store the results of calculations in the worksheet, but in R results (like data) are stored in objects.

With these differences in mind, Excel users will have a much easier time adapting to R. Find the complete details at the link below.

Rex Analytics: Where do things live in R? R for Excel Users (via Mara Averick)

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