1.) Downloading R.
When you first go to
CRAN to download R, you will be
prompted to select which operating system you will be using.
Once you click on ‘Windows’ you will be confronted with two
choices; ‘base’ and ‘contrib’. You only need
the ‘base’. Later we will install packages which allow you enjoy all the functioning
of R. Once you click on ‘base’ you will be confronted with a
page showing (in bold) a link to ‘Download R x.xx.x for Windows’
where the series of x indicate the current version (e.g.
2.14.0). Once you click on the download link; you will be
prompted to save the file somewhere on your computer. Saving it
to the desktop is fine; there will be no need to keep it after
you have installed R.
2.) Installing R.
You will need to have administrator privileges in order to
install R. Double click on the executable file to install R. The default
options/settings as specified during installation will be fine.
The program can very easily be customized after installation.
There are three
windows you’ll likely use every time you use R. The GUI or
console window is the core of the program and can act as both
input and output display. The graphics window, which as the name
implies, displays graphical output (e.g. histograms, scatter
plots, topographical displays of terrain, thermal images, etc.).
The script window displays script (also called syntax, or
program code, or input code), which is not necessary, but often
preferred as a way of building script and proof reading it prior
to submitting it for processing. Note, there are several free
script editors available (e.g.
Tinn-R); but the basic one included in
the base install of R works fine (I use
Tinn-R version 220.127.116.11). Those interested in a more
comphrensive interface for R might be interested in
3.) The first time
you open R. You will be confronted with a window in a window.
It is recommended (but not necessary) you change the display by
changing the GUI preferences; GUI stands for Graphical User
Interface. At the top of the window, click on ‘Edit’ then click
on ‘GUI preferences…’. Many of these preferences are self
explanatory; but here are a few I use: ‘SDI’ and ‘single window’
which changes the console/GUI to a single window display once
applied and changes are saved. I prefer font size of 12 which is
a little larger and easier for my old eyes to read, but not so
large as to dramatically cut down the amount of character lines
displayed. I generally change the Pager rows and columns so that
the console window is quite large—the specific numbers will be
dependent on your screen size/resolution; so it may take some
trial and error fiddling to get what you want. I also set the
Initial left and top to zero so that the console window opens at
the top/left of my screen when I open R. Again, these are merely
preferences and each of you should set the program up in a way
which is most comfortable for you. Once you have the preferences
set how you want them, you will need to SAVE them; regardless of
whether or not you apply them. To save your GUI preferences,
click the ‘Save…’ button on the bottom of the GUI preferences.
You will be prompted to select a directory in which to save the
Rconsole. You must save this file in the ‘etc’ directory if you
want the changes to be present each time you open the R program;
this directory is located inside the R directory where you
installed the program, generally at:
where x.xx.x refers
to the version number of the R installation you have (e.g.
R-2.15.0). Once you have saved the GUI preferences, close the
program (no need to save workspace image—more on this later) and
open it again to make sure the changes have been saved and are
now have a working, albeit limited, version of R—and it was