R: Setting up your Environment

So you want to get started with R, but you want to know what your options for an a development environment (or IDE) are!

R Studio

A capable IDE popular with beginner and veteran users of R alike, RStudio has been in Beta since 2011. It is open source (with commercial offerings) and supports console, direct code execution, debugging and workspace management.

it can be installed on Windows, Mac or Linux and the best place to start is at the RStudio Downloads

A handly list of Cheat Sheets are also available for RStudio.


An online editor which requires no sign-up, R Fiddle supports a standard editor and console like other IDEs.

It offers you package loading, a chrome plug-in, persistent sessions, comments and can embed content into blogs.

I´m sure I´ll be using it more in the future!

Visual Studio

The comprehensive IDE from Microsoft supports R, with all of the support of the vast Visual Studio ecosystem.

The Community Edition of VS is fully featured and free to use for individual developers. You´ll also need to install R Tools for VS and choose a flavour of R.

R Tools is open source and includes options for scripts or an interactive window

As of writing flavours of R supported include CRAN R, Microsoft R Open and Microsoft R Server.  With the inclusion of support for R in SQL Server 2016 and other tools, expect the amount of support given to R in VS to increase.

Other Options

  • Eclipse with Statet. Ful and maturel IDE used by experienced R users and part of Eclipse ecosystem.  StatET for R
  • Data Joy. Online editor for R and Python with academic focus which requires a paid subscription. Data Joy
  • Visual Studio Code. Lightweight cross platform editor with hundreds of extensions includins support for R. Visual Studio Code



Duncan Thomson

A Remote Software and Database Contractor specialised in Umbraco, Duncan works from wherever he finds himself. He is the co-organiser of the Python Exeter and Data Science Exeter meetup groups and speaks about Remote Working, Umbraco, Python and .NET Outside of work he is keen on travel, random generation, foreign languages and good food.

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