Excel vs. R for Plotting Data

Today I made a couple of bar graphs, using the ggplot2 package in R, just to depict the relative importance of different terms in my predictive models.  After seeing the result, I asked myself:

Is it really worth the annoyance of setting up the data frame, typing in the code (with the inherent reordering of the factor levels based on the stats I was displaying), then exporting it when I can get a pretty similar looking graph in Excel for less time and effort?

Really… why do I need to spend more time when the main differences between graphs I can make in either program amount to the background colour (gray vs. white), axis text saliency (slighly grayed out vs. more visible), numbering of the y axis, bar colour, and gridlines?  When I compare simple plots, that’s all it amounts to for me.

I think if simple plots are all that I want, I’m going to stick with Excel.  For anything fancier that I probably wouldn’t do in Excel, I’ll use R and ggplot2, or just the plain vanilla R plotting options.  I need to save my time!

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