[R] read.csv fails to read a CSV file from google docs

David Winsemius dwinsemius at comcast.net
Fri Apr 29 19:36:04 CEST 2011

On Apr 29, 2011, at 11:19 AM, Tal Galili wrote:

> Hello all,
> I wish to use read.csv to read a google doc spreadsheet.
> I try using the following code:
> data_url <- "
> http://spreadsheets0.google.com/spreadsheet/pub?hl=en&hl=en&key=0AgMhDTVek_sDdGI2YzY2R1ZESDlmZS1VYUxvblQ0REE&single=true&gid=0&output=csv
> "
> read.csv(data_url)
> Which results in the following error:
> Error in file(file, "rt") : cannot open the connection
> I'm on windows 7.  And the code was tried on R 2.12 and 2.13
> I remember trying this a few months ago and it worked fine.

I am always amused at such claims. Occasionally they are correct, but  
more often a crucial step has been omitted. In this case you have at a  
minimum embedded line-feeds in your URL string and have not  
established a connection, so it could not possibly have succeeded as  

But now it's time to admit I do not know why it is not succeeding when  
I correct those flaws.

 > closeAllConnections()
 > data_url <- url("http://spreadsheets0.google.com/spreadsheet/pub?hl=en&hl=en&key=0AgMhDTVek_sDdGI2YzY2R1ZESDlmZS1VYUxvblQ0REE&single=true&gid=0&output=csv 
 > read.csv(data_url)
Error in open.connection(file, "rt") : cannot open the connection

 > closeAllConnections()
 > dd <- read.csv(con <-  url("http://spreadsheets0.google.com/spreadsheet/pub?hl=en&hl=en&key=0AgMhDTVek_sDdGI2YzY2R1ZESDlmZS1VYUxvblQ0REE&single=true&gid=0&output=csv 
Error in open.connection(file, "rt") : cannot open the connection

So, I guess I'm not reading the help pages for `url` and `read.csv` as  
well I thought I was.

> Any suggestion what might be causing this or how to solve it?

David Winsemius, MD
West Hartford, CT

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