Creating Excel Workbooks with multiple sheets in R

r excel loop

Creating Excel Workbooks

Generally, when doing anything in R I typically work with .csv files, their fast and straightforward to use. However, I find times, where I need to create a bunch of them to output and having to go and open each one individually, can be a pain for anyone. In this case, it’s much better to create a workbook where each of the .csv files you would have created will now be a separate sheet.

Below is a simple script I use frequently that gets the job done. Also included is the initial process of creating dummy data to outline the process.


Libraries used


Creating example files to work with

products <- c("Monitor", "Laptop", "Keyboards", "Mice")
Stock <- c(20,10,25,50)
Computer_Supplies <- cbind(products,Stock)
products <- c("Packs of Paper", "Staples")
Stock <- c(100,35)
Office_Supplies <- cbind(products,Stock)

Take these new data frames and save them using the write.csv function.

write.csv(“Data”, “Where you want to store the data.csv”, row.names = FALSE)

write.csv(Computer_Supplies, "Data/ComputerSupplies.csv", row.names = FALSE)
write.csv(Office_Supplies, "Data/OfficeSupplies.csv", row.names = FALSE)

Point to directory your files are located in (.csv here) and read each in as a list

# Get the file name read in as a column
read_filename <- function(fname) {
  read_csv(fname, col_names = TRUE) %>%
    mutate(filename = fname)
tbl <-
  list.files(path = "Data/",
             pattern ="*.csv",
             full.names = TRUE) %>%

Removing path from the file names

*Note: Max length of a Workbook’s name is 31 characters

You may need to edit the filenames, even if the names aren’t too long I will still do the code below. This will remove the path before the filename and .csv on the end.

tbl$filename <- gsub("Data/", "", tbl$filename)
tbl$filename <- gsub(".csv", "", tbl$filename)

Split the “tbl” object into individual lists

 mylist <- tbl %>% split(.$filename)
## [1] "/ComputerSupplies" "/OfficeSupplies"

Creating an Excel workbook and having each CSV file be a separate sheet

wb <- createWorkbook()
lapply(seq_along(mylist), function(i){
  addWorksheet(wb=wb, sheetName = names(mylist[i]))
  writeData(wb, sheet = i, mylist[[i]][-length(mylist[[i]])])
#Save Workbook
saveWorkbook(wb, "test.xlsx", overwrite = TRUE

Reading in sheets from an Excel file

(The one we just created)

 df_ComputerSupplies <- read.xlsx("test.xlsx", sheet = 1)

Loading and adding a new sheet to an already existing Excel workbook

wb <- loadWorkbook("test.xlsx")
## [1] "/ComputerSupplies" "/OfficeSupplies"
addWorksheet(wb, "News Sheet Name")
## [1] "/ComputerSupplies" "/OfficeSupplies" "News Sheet Name"

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