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2.5: How to download and install R

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  • Since R is free, it is possible to download and install it without any additional procedures. There are several ways to do that depending on your operation system, but generally one need to google the uppercase letter “R” which will give the link to the site of R project. Next step is to find there “CRAN”, the on-line repository of all R-related software. In fact, there are multiple repositories (mirrors) so next step is to choose the nearest mirror. Then everything is straightforward, links will finally get you to the downloading page.

    If your operating system has the package manager, software center of similar, installing R is even simpler. All that you need is to find R from within the manager and click install\(^{[1]}\).

    It is also possible to install R and run it from iPhone, iPad and Android phones. However, it is recommended to have for R a full-featured computer since statistical calculations might consume plenty of resources.

    Under Windows, R might be installed in two different modes, “one big window with smaller windows inside” (MDI) or “multiple independent windows” (SDI). We recommended to use the second (SDI) as R in other operating systems can work only in SDI mode. It is better to determine the mode during the installation: to make this choice, choose “Custom installation” from the one of first screens. If for some reason, you skipped it, it may be done later, through the menu (R GUI options).

    On macOS, in addition to the core R, it is recommended to install also XQuartz software.

    Apart from “graphical” R, both Windows and macOS have terminal R applications. While the functionality of Windows terminal programs is limited, on macOS it runs in a way similar to Linux and therefore makes the appropriate alternative. There are useful features in macOS graphical R, but also restrictions, especially with saving history of commands (see below). To start using this terminal R application in macOS, user should run any available terminal (like first.


    1. If you do not use these managers or centers, it is recommended to regularly update your R, at least once a year.