[R] Re: Importing Excel .xls into R

Prof Brian D Ripley ripley at stats.ox.ac.uk
Sun Dec 10 21:51:48 CET 2000

On 6 Dec 2000, Douglas Bates wrote:

> Alexandre Fayolle <Alexandre.Fayolle at logilab.fr> writes:
> > On Wed, 6 Dec 2000, Richard A. Bilonick wrote:
> > 
> > > I don't believe there is any direct way of doing this. 
> > 
> > Isn't is possible to access an Excell document via ODBC ?
> I know you can go the other way and import a table from an ODBC
> connection into an Excel spreadsheet.  I did that recently.  
> For this kind of exchange Excel is the client on the ODBC connection.
> I would be surprised if one were able to transfer data the other way
> by making Excel function as an ODBC server. Excel doesn't seem to have
> a way of enforcing consistency in the contents of cells in a column
> and consistency in columns is important for many other systems that
> can use ODBC connections.  In some ways consistent storage and
> interpretation for all the elements of a column is the defining
> feature of a relational database table.

Doug's caveats are right, but Excel *is* an ODBC server, and I have
actually imported from Excel into R using RODBC.  The naming
conventions were a nightmare, though.

ODBC is not just about relational databases, in that ODBC bridges can make
other systems look like relational databases, even text files (which cna be
useful if they are compressed).

Brian D. Ripley,                  ripley at stats.ox.ac.uk
Professor of Applied Statistics,  http://www.stats.ox.ac.uk/~ripley/
University of Oxford,             Tel:  +44 1865 272861 (self)
1 South Parks Road,                     +44 1865 272860 (secr)
Oxford OX1 3TG, UK                Fax:  +44 1865 272595

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