If you work in a corporate environment, there’s a good chance you’re using Microsoft Office. I wanted to set up a way to email tables and plots from R using Outlook. Sending an email is simple enough with the RDCOMClient library, but inserting a plot inline—rather than as an attachment—took a little bit of working out. I’m sharing my code here in case anyone else wants to do something similar. The trick is to save your plot as an image with a temporary file, attach it to the email, and then insert it inline using a cid (Content-ID).
library(RDCOMClient) library(ggplot2) # Create a simple scatterplot with ggplo2 SimplePlot <- ggplot(mtcars, aes(x=wt, y=mpg)) + geom_point() # Create a temporary file path for the image that we will attach to our email SimplePlot.file <- tempfile(fileext = ".png") # Save the ggplot we just created as an image with the temporary file path ggsave(plot = SimplePlot, file = SimplePlot.file, device = "png", width = 4, height = 4) # Create an Outlook object, a new email, and set the parameters. Outlook <- COMCreate("Outlook.Application") Email <- Outlook$CreateItem(0) Email[["To"]] <- "firstname.lastname@example.org" Email[["subject"]] <- "A simple scatterplot" # Some text before we insert our plot Body <- "<p>Your scatterplot is here:</p>" # First add the temporary file as an attachment. Email[["Attachments"]]$Add(SimplePlot.file) # Refer to the attachment with a cid # "basename" returns the file name without the directory. SimplePlot.inline <- paste0( "<img src='cid:", basename(SimplePlot.file), "' width = '400' height = '400'>") # Put the text and plot together in the body of the email. Email[["HTMLBody"]] <- paste0(Body, SimplePlot.inline) # Either display the email in Outlook or send it straight away. # Comment out either line. Email$Display() #Email$Send() # Delete the temporary file used to attach images. unlink(SimplePlot.file)