R & RStudio, packages, tidyverse

Downloading and installing


February 19, 2024

Download R & RStudio

R and RStudio are not the same thing. Both are open source applications and it is a good idea to have up-to-date installations. As of this writing, the easiest way to find both applications for local download are from the posit.co page. There are cloud versions of RStudio available for the Duke University community at the VCM containers page.

Download R and RStudio

Install R, RStudio, R packages

After downloading R and R Studio, it’s time to install each application. I recommend this Interactive tutorial for a guided overview of installing R, RStudio, and packages. A summary of installing packages is below.


In R, a package is a collection of R functions, and/or data, and/or documentation. R users find and install packages via centralized package-hubs (e.g. Metacran, CRAN, Bioconductor, R-universe, Github) to aid in the specialization and efficiency of R coding.

Packages can be installed with the install.packages() function. Alternatively, from within RStudio > Packages > install

Install packages
Install Once!

You only have to install a package once and should avoid putting the install.packages() function in your scripts. Of course, you will need to update packages from time to time.

Load packages

You should load packages at the top of your script. Write your script, then click the green arrow in the code-chunks; or Run All (Ctrl-Alt-R)

Load packages

Load packages

Run packages

Run packages


Tidyverse is a meta-package of several packages

Tidyverse (Wickham et al. 2019) is a concept but also a package. When we load the tidyverse we load a meta-package that includes eight other packages. After the command load(tidyverse), there’s no need to also load ggplot2, dplyr, lubridate or any of the packages. Those packages are included. Redundantly, it’s fine to load the same package twice. Check the feedback from the code-chunk to see what is loaded by library(tidyverse).

install.packages("tidyverse") (do once)

library(tidyverse) (each session)

Quarto installation

Quarto comes pre-installed with the latest versions of RStudio. However, if you want to install Quarto again, or for use with VSCode, learn how at Quarto.org

Quarto is a scientific publishing system. As a next-genderation R Markdown, it offers new features, tight integration, and consistent documentation that make it a better choice for reproducible coding.

For example, Quarto can render documents in more output formats than R Markdown, including HTML, PDF, EPUB, and slides. The visual editor makes it easy to combine code, text, and figures in a single document.


Wickham, Hadley, Mara Averick, Jennifer Bryan, Winston Chang, Lucy McGowan, Romain François, Garrett Grolemund, et al. 2019. “Welcome to the Tidyverse.” Journal of Open Source Software 4 (43): 1686. https://doi.org/10.21105/joss.01686.