How to Automate Excel with R

Written by Matt Dancho on October 7, 2020

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

Let’s learn how to automate Excel with R, using openxlsx and tidyquant.

(Click image to play video)

Automate Excel with R Tutorial

Using R to automate Excel is an awesome skill for automating your work (and life). Your company lives off Excel files. Why not automate them & save some time?

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

Excel Spreadsheet

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

Import Data

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

Import Data

…And this stock chart over time.

Plot Data

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

Excel Workbook

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

It’s magic! 💥 💥 💥

Excel Workbook


  1. Sign Up to Get the R-Tips Weekly (You’ll get email notifications of NEW R-Tips as they are released):

  2. Set Up the GitHub Repo:

  3. Check out the setup video ( Or, Hit Pull in the Git Menu to get the R-Tips Code

Once you take these actions, you’ll be set up to receive R-Tips with Code every week. =)