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What is RStudio?

RStudio is an integrated development environment (IDE) for R, designed to provide a powerful and user-friendly interface for working with R. When you use RStudio, R executes the commands in the background. You must install R to use RStudio, but you can use R without RStudio.

Figure 1. R and RStudio icons in Windows app list

Figure 2. RGui

Note. The RGui is the original R user interface. We will use RStudio instead, to access R during the workshop.

Figure 3. RStudio

The RStudio interface has a toolbar and four main panes:

  • On the very top, you can find a toolbar with buttons such as File, Code, View, Plots, etc.
  • On the top left is the Source Editor. If it is your first time opening R Studio, the source editor may not show up. You can click from the toolbar ‘File - New File - R Script’ and then a script file called Untitled1 will show up there. Writing your code in the script is recommmended if you want to save your work for future use.
  • On the bottom left is the Console. It is where you can type in R commands and see the outputs. Writing your code in the console is recommended for quick exploration.
  • The top right pane includes tabs such as Environment and History. The Environment tab allows you to see what objects are in the workspace. The History tab allows you to see the commands that you have entered.
  • The bottom right pane shows tabs such as Plots, Packages and Help. Plot is where you can view your plot. Packages is where you can view the list of all the installed packages. In Help, you can can browse the built-in help system of R, which is super helpful.

If you have questions after the workshop, a cheat sheet is available for quick referral: RStudio IDE Cheat Sheet. The cheat sheet is also accessible within RStudio through the toolbar ‘Help - Cheat Sheets - RStudio IDE Cheat Sheet’.

Figure 4. Accessing RStudio Cheat Sheet

This page is meant to be a brief introduction and we will refer to them later to help you familiarize with the interface. What questions do you have about the RStudio interface? Now is a good time for you to share your questions, thoughts and comments.