To read Excel files into R can be a mission. gdata has various R programming tools for data manipulation. Here is a short example on how to read a Microsoft Excel file into a data frame in R.
# Install package install.packages('gdata') # Load package library(gdata)
Very handy, you can read the xls-file directly form the url.
# Read xls-file from http:// file='http://climvis.de/wp-content/uploads/nvd3/R/Example-gdata.xls' dat=read.xls(file, sheet=1, na.strings='-' )