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Boston, MA /

July Boston UseR Group Event

Hult International Business School 1 Education St , Cambridge, MA 02141 (map)

How to generate professional-looking PPT/Word documents using R Markdown

Presented by:

Yuchen Wang: Senior Data Scientist at CVS-Aetna


When it comes to analysis in R, many people nowadays prefer R Markdown documents over plain R scripts, for it allows the author to provide context to the analysis and to dynamically render R outputs in place. R Markdown is powerful and versatile, and it supports multiple output formats, including PowerPoint slides and Word documents. For people in traditional industries where their work needs to be made into PowerPoint or Word format to share with colleagues and clients, this is a very powerful tool that turns repeated copy-and-paste work into efficient, reproducible, and version-controlled work in R Markdown.

However, the generated PPT/Word docs usually lack a "professional look" by default, and it's generally difficult to customize the style (header / footer, fonts, colors, etc) in the output. Since people are so familiar with the Office suite, they tend to open up the generated document and tweak the styles in place—only to find out that they have to redo it every time the document is re-generated.

The preferred way would be to use a reference document—a customized PPT / Word document that would be used as a style reference. This is a powerful yet not so well-documented feature. This talk will demonstrate how to make your own customized reference document, or make your company's existing Office template into one.


- intro to R Markdown with PPT/Word output

- demo how to customize reference document

- alternative packages/workflows


Yuchen is currently a data scientist at CVS-Aetna. He is on Aetna's Clinical Products team and works on bringing data insights to help the combined company manage chronical diseases and improve member health.

Yuchen has been an R user for 9 years and has been developing packages since 2012. When he was working in consulting, he started to turn traditional consulting deliverables (reports, slides) into analytical products powered by R packages. This includes packages customized for analysis of client data, automated reports, and Shiny dashboards.

Pizza will be provided by RStudio.


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