The problem: producing a Word (.docx) file of a statistical report created in R, with as little overhead as possible.
The solution: combining R+knitr+rmarkdown+pander+pandoc (it is easier than it is spelled).
If you get what this post is about, just jump to the “Solution: the workflow” section.
Preface: why is this a problem (/still)
Before turning to the solution, let’s address two preliminary questions:
Q: Why is it important to be able to create report in Word from R?
A: Because many researchers we may work with are used to working with Word for editing their text, tracking changes and merging edits between different authors, and copy-pasting text/tables/images from various sources.
This means that a report produced as a PDF file is less useful for collaborating with less-tech-savvy researchers (copying text or tables from PDF is not fun). Even exchanging HTML files may appear somewhat awkward to fellow researchers.