[R] Excel

Philippe Grosjean phgrosjean at sciviews.org
Thu Aug 30 03:01:24 CEST 2007

I think that one big problem of Excel regarding readability of the 
calculation done is its non linear nature: mixing data and calculation 
on a 2D grid could look nice at first sight, but indeed, it turns into a 
nightmare to understand all the calculations actually done.

On the counterpart, reading a R script is like reading a book: providing 
you understand the language, the R script tells you a story from the 
beginning (reading of the raw data) to the end (final graphs and tables) 
in a linear way.

Thus, it is the concept of Excel itself (the 2D/3D interactive 
spreadsheet) that makes it confusing. All the "nice" things you can do 
with Excel will never save it for the time lost to understand what a 
spreadsheet does (and thus, to debug it, or slightly change its 


Philippe Grosjean

Frank E Harrell Jr wrote:
> Rolf Turner wrote:
>> On 30/08/2007, at 8:49 AM, Greg Snow wrote:
>>> Erich Neuwirth said:
>>>> -----Original Message-----
>>>> From: r-help-bounces at stat.math.ethz.ch
>>>> [mailto:r-help-bounces at stat.math.ethz.ch] On Behalf Of Erich Neuwirth
>>>> Sent: Wednesday, August 29, 2007 12:43 PM
>>>> To: r-help
>>>> Subject: Re: [R] Excel
>>>> Excel bashing can be fun but also can be dangerous because
>>>> you are makeing your life harder than necessary.
>>> My experience differs, so far using excel (other than as a table  
>>> layout
>>> program) has made my life harder more times than it has made it  
>>> easier.
>> 	<Remainder of message deleted.>
>> 	Bravo!!!  Very well and very cogently expressed!
>> 			cheers,
>> 				Rolf Turner
> Yes!  In addition I'd like to stress that the Excel model represents 
> non-reproducible research.
> Frank Harrell

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