How to Automate Excel with R

Written by Matt Dancho



Your company lives off them… Excel files. Why not automate them & save some time? Here’s an Excel File you’re going to make in this tutorial from R. Let me show you how to automate Excel with R in under 5-minutes, using openxlsx and tidyquant.

Excel Spreadsheet

Automating Excel from R


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R-Tips Weekly

This article is part of R-Tips Weekly, a weekly video tutorial that shows you step-by-step how to do common R coding tasks. Pretty cool, right?

Here are the links to get set up. 👇

Video Tutorial

I have a companion video tutorial that shows even more cool automation stuff (plus mistakes to avoid).

Automate Excel with R Tutorial

Here’s an Excel File you’re going to make in this tutorial from R. 👇

Excel Spreadsheet


Step 1: Collect, Prepare Data & Plots

First, collect your data using tidyquant, an awesome package for importing & working with Financial Data.

Import Data

Get the code.


Pivot Table Data

The previous code makes this Pivot Table (stock returns by year and symbol).

Import Data

Time Series Stock Performance Plots

Here’s the stock performance plot from the previous code.

Plot Data


Step 2: Automate R to Excel

Now for the magic - Let’s add the Pivot Table & Stock Plot to Excel! 🔥

  1. Initialize a workbook
  2. Create a worksheet
  3. Add the stock plot
  4. Add the Pivot Table
  5. Save the workbook
  6. Open the workbook (programmatically)

Create Excel Workbook with R

Get the code.

Excel Output (.xlsx)

You’ve just automated creation of an Excel Workbook with R.

Excel Workbook

💡 Conclusions

You learned how to use the openxlsx library to create automated reports using R and Excel together. Great work! But, there’s a lot more to becoming a Business Scientist.

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