The readxl package makes it easy to get data out of Excel and into R. Compared to many of the existing packages (e.g. gdata, xlsx, xlsReadWrite) readxl has no external dependencies, so it’s easy to install and use on all operating systems. It is designed to work with tabular data. readxl supports both the legacy .xls format and the modern xml-based .xlsx format. The libxls C library is used to support .xls, which abstracts away many of the complexities of the underlying binary format. To parse .xlsx, we use the RapidXML C++ library.