The RGnumeric package (version 0.3-5)

This is a package that allows R to be used as a plugin for Gnumeric, the Gnome spreadsheet application. One registers R functions with Gnumeric via R commands and these functions can then be called as if they are built-in Gnumeric functions. Additionally, the R functions can create and manipulate spreadsheets and individual cells, accessing and changing their contents, formatting and appearance attributes.

This is experimental, although the basic functionality is likely to remain reasonably stable. The hope is to get some feedback and to encourage others to help or take over the development of the package.

One can use the RGtk package in R code that is called from Gnumeric to create GUI extensions to Gnumeric and dialogs. These can be used, for example, to provide a command line for evaluating S commands, or a tool to manage the registered functions.

R & Excel

The RDCOMClient and RDCOMServerpackages allow one to connect R to Excel. Similarly, Eric Neuwirth has connected R to Excel on Windows previously using Thomas Baier's DCOM R server. This RGnumeric package is quite different.

Primarily, it is aimed at letting the spreadsheet user call R functions without knowing they are implemented in R and without having to know any of the S language. In contrast, the R-Excel interface works by allowing the Excel user to pass S language commands directly to S, requiring the knowledge of both systems. This can be useful for S users, but prohibitive for regular spreadsheet users. The RGnumeric mechanism allows evaluation of S commands as part of its model by allowing one to export/register a Gnumeric function that evaluates a string as an S command.

The RGnumeric interface is bi-directional. By this, we mean that while Gnumeric computations can call R functions, R can access Gnumeric objects including worksheets and cells within those sheets. We can program in Gnumeric or R as is convenient.


The current version is available as a GNU-zipped tar file RGnumeric_0.3-5.tar.gz

This is known to run on different Red Hat Linux ( modified 6.2) and has been tested with Gnumeric 0.64 and 0.73. And now more recently with 1.0.8 and 1.0.10.

See README.html and INSTALL.html for instructions on installing and using the package.

A brief history of the recent changes to the package are available in the Changes.html file.


There are some early attempts to document the package. More to come!
  • Introduction
  • Overview
  • Todo list
    List of (some of the) things yet to be done related to this packge!
  • FAQ
    Compilation and run-time issues we have encountered or heard about.
  • Examples

    A list of example R scripts registering functions and spreadsheets that use this is available.
    Duncan Temple Lang <>
    Last modified: Fri Jun 20 04:55:46 EDT 2003