Import Excel in R with Examples

R provides several packages like readxl, xlsx, and openxlsx to read or import excel files into R DataFrame. These packages provide several methods with different arguments which help us read excel files effectively.

We have also provided quick articles for reading CSV files and writing CSV files using R base functions as well as using readr package, which is 10 times faster than R base functions.

In this article, you will learn how to read data from an excel file with extension xls or xlsx into R DataFrame. This can be done by using readxl::read_excel() and xlsx:read.xlsx()

1. Quick Examples

Following are quick examples of how to read or import excel files into R DataFrame.



# Load readxl package
library("readxl")

# Read xlsx files
df = read_excel("/Users/admin/new_file.xlsx")
df = read_xlsx("/Users/admin/new_file.xlsx")
df = read_xsl("/Users/admin/new_file.xsl")

# Read sheet names 'sheet_name' from excel file
df = read_excel("/Users/admin/new_file.xlsx", sheet='sheet_name')

# Read sheet 3 from excel file
df = read_excel("/Users/admin/new_file.xlsx", sheet=3)

#Load xlsx package
library("xlsx")

#Read first sheet from new_file.xlsx file
df = read.xlsx(file='/Users/admin/new_file.xlsx', sheetIndex=1) 

# Load openxlsx
library(openxlsx)

# Read excel file
read.xlsx('/Users/admin/new_file.xlsx')

2. Import Excel files into R using readxl package

Use read_excel() function from readxl package to read or import an excel file (xlsx or xls) as R DataFrame. In order to use readxl library, you need to first install it by using install.packages('readxl'). Once installation completes, load the readxl library to use this read_excel() method. To load a library in R use library("readxl").

read_excel() calls excel_format() to check if path is xls or xlsx. If you know the file extension, use read_xls() and read_xlsx() directly.

2.1 Install readxl Package

In order to use readxl package in R to work with excel files, first, you need to install it using install.packages(). Run the below command in R or in RStudio.


# Install readxl package
install.packages("readxl")

2.2 Syntax of read_excel() Function

Following is the syntax of read_excel() function.


# Syntax of read_excel()
read_excel(path,sheet = NULL,range = NULL,col_names = TRUE,
  col_types = NULL, na = "", trim_ws = TRUE, skip = 0,
  n_max = Inf, guess_max = min(1000, n_max), progress = readxl_progress(),
  .name_repair = "unique"
)

2.3 Import Excel File using readxl Package

Let’s use the above syntax of read_excel() to import an excel file into an R DataFrame. If you wanted to read the data from a specific sheet use the sheet argument.


# Load readxl package
library("readxl")

# Read xlsx files
df = read_excel("/Users/admin/new_file.xlsx")
(or)
df = read_xlsx("/Users/admin/new_file.xlsx")

If you have xls file then use the below methods to read or import it as DataFrame.


# Read xsl files
df = read_excel("/Users/admin/new_file.xsl")
(or)
df = read_xsl("/Users/admin/new_file.xsl")

2.4 Read Data from Specific Excel Sheet

If you have multiple sheets in an excel file (xlsx, xsl) use the sheet argument to read or import the data from a specific sheet. Pass either sheet name or sheet index to this argument.


# Read sheet names 'sheet_name' from excel file
df = read_excel("/Users/admin/new_file.xlsx", sheet='sheet_name')
#or
# Read sheet 3 from excel file
df = read_excel("/Users/admin/new_file.xlsx", sheet=3)

3. Import Excel files using xlsx package

Package xlsx is another package R to read or import excel files into DataFrame. It is a java-based solution, for reading, writing and formatting excel files in R.

Use read.xlsx() function from xlsx package to read or import an excel file (xlsx or xls) as R DataFrame. In order to use xlsx library, you need to first install it by using install.packages('xlsx'). Once installation completes, load the xlsx library to use this read_xlsx() method. To load a library in R use library("xlsx").

3.1 Install xlsx Package

Run the below command in R or RStudio to install xlsx package.


# Install readxl package
install.packages("xlsx")

3.2 Syntax

The xslx package provides 2 function read.xlsx() and read.xlsx2(), below are their syntaxes. Use read.xlsx2() if you have big files as it performs better than read.xlsx().


# Syntax of read.xlsx() & read.xlsx2()
read.xlsx(file, sheetIndex, header=TRUE)
read.xlsx2(file, sheetIndex, header=TRUE)

3.3 Using read.xlsx() Example

Let’s use the above syntax of read.xslx() to read an excel file into an R DataFrame. If you wanted to read the data from a specific sheet use the sheetIndex argument.


#Load xlsx package
library("xlsx")

#Read first sheet from new_file.xlsx file
df = read.xlsx(file='/Users/admin/new_file.xlsx', sheetIndex=1) 

4. Import Excel files using openxlsx Package

The openxlsx is another package that can be used to perform operations with excel files. Use read.xlsx() function from this package to read the worksheet.



#Install openxlsx package
install.packages("openxlsx")

# Load openxlsx
library(openxlsx)

# Read excel file
read.xlsx('/Users/admin/new_file.xlsx')

5. Conclusion

In this article, you have learned how to read or import an excel file into R DataFrame by using methods from package openxlsx, xlsx, and readxl packages.

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References

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