Expert R users, what's in your .Rprofile?


I hate to type the full words 'head', 'summary', 'names' every time, so I use aliases.

You can put aliases into your .Rprofile file, but you have to use the full path to the function (e.g. utils::head) otherwise it won't work.

# aliases
s <- base::summary
h <- utils::head
n <- base::names

EDIT: to answer your question, you can use the colorout package to have different colors in the terminal. Cool! :-)


I have always found startup profile files of other people both useful and instructive about the language. Moreover, while I have some customization for Bash and Vim, I have nothing for R.

For example, one thing I always wanted is different colors for input and output text in a window terminal, and maybe even syntax highlighting.

Make data.frames display somewhat like 'head', only without having to type 'head' <- function(df) {
   if (nrow(df) > 10) {, 5))
      cat("----\n"), 5))
   } else {

(From How to make 'head' be applied automatically to output? )

Most of my personal functions and loaded libraries are in the Rfunctions.r script


.First <- function(){
   cat("\n Rrrr! The statistics program for Pirates !\n\n")


  .Last <- function(){
   cat("\n Rrrr! Avast Ye, YO HO!\n\n")


# Tinn-R: necessary packages
necessary = c('svIDE', 'svIO', 'svSocket', 'R2HTML')
if(!all(necessary %in% installed.packages()[, 'Package']))
  install.packages(c('SciViews', 'R2HTML'), dep = T)

options(IDE = 'C:/Tinn-R/bin/Tinn-R.exe')
options(use.DDE = T)

shell(paste("mkdir C:\\data\\rplots\\plottemp", gsub('-','',Sys.Date()), sep=""))
pldir <- paste("C:\\data\\rplots\\plottemp", gsub('-','',Sys.Date()), sep="")

plot.str <-c('savePlot(paste(pldir,script,"\\BeachSurveyFreq.pdf",sep=""),type="pdf")')

Here are mine:

.First <- function () {

.Last <- function () {
  if (!any(commandArgs() == '--no-readline') && interactive()) {

# Slightly more flexible than as.Date
#"2009-01-01") ==, 1, 1) == as.Date("2009-01-01") <- function (a, b=NULL, c=NULL, ...) {
  if (class(a) != "character")
    return (as.Date(sprintf("%d-%02d-%02d", a, b, c)))
    return (as.Date(a))

# Some useful aliases
cd <- setwd
pwd <- getwd
lss <- dir
asd <- # examples: asd("2009-01-01") == asd(2009, 1, 1) == as.Date("2009-01-01")
last <- function (x, n=1, ...) tail(x, n=n, ...)

# Set proxy for all web requests

# Search RPATH for file <fn>.  If found, return full path to it
search.path <- function(fn,
     paths = strsplit(chartr("\\", "/", Sys.getenv("RPATH")), split =
                switch(.Platform$OS.type, windows = ";", ":"))[[1]]) {
  for(d in paths)
     if (file.exists(f <- file.path(d, fn)))

# If loading in an environment that doesn't respect my RPATH environment
# variable, set it here
if (Sys.getenv("RPATH") == "") {
  Sys.setenv(RPATH=file.path(path.expand("~"), "Library", "R", "source"))

# Load commonly used functions
if (interactive())

# If no R_HISTFILE environment variable, set default
if (Sys.getenv("R_HISTFILE") == "") {
  Sys.setenv(R_HISTFILE=file.path("~", ".Rhistory"))

# Override q() to not save by default.
# Same as saying q("no")
q <- function (save="no", ...) {
  quit(save=save, ...)

# ---------- My Environments ----------
# Rather than starting R from within different directories, I prefer to
# switch my "environment" easily with these functions.  An "environment" is
# simply a directory that contains analysis of a particular topic.
# Example usage:
# > load.env("markets")  # Load US equity markets analysis environment
# > # ... edit some .r files in my environment
# > reload()             # Re-source .r/.R files in my environment
# On next startup of R, I will automatically be placed into the last
# environment I entered

# My current environment
.curr.env = NULL

# File contains name of the last environment I entered
.last.env.file = file.path(path.expand("~"), ".Rlastenv")

# Parent directory where all of my "environment"s are contained
.parent.env.dir = file.path(path.expand("~"), "Analysis")

# Create parent directory if it doesn't already exist
if (!file.exists(.parent.env.dir))

load.env <- function (string, save=TRUE) {
  # Load all .r/.R files in <.parent.env.dir>/<string>/
  cd(file.path(.parent.env.dir, string))
  for (file in lss()) {
    if (substr(file, nchar(file)-1, nchar(file)+1) %in% c(".r", ".R"))
  .curr.env <<- string
  # Save current environment name to file
  if (save == TRUE) writeLines(.curr.env, .last.env.file)
  # Let user know environment switch was successful
  print (paste(" -- in ", string, " environment -- "))

# "reload" current environment.
reload <- resource <- function () {
  if (!is.null(.curr.env))
    load.env(.curr.env, save=FALSE)
    print (" -- not in environment -- ")

# On startup, go straight to the environment I was last working in
if (interactive() && file.exists(.last.env.file)) {

I set my lattice color theme in my profile. Here are two other tweaks I use:

# Display working directory in the titlebar
# Note: This causes demo(graphics) to fail
utils::assignInNamespace("setwd",function(dir)   {.Internal(setwd(dir));setWindowTitle(base::getwd())},"base")

# Don't print more than 1000 lines

Stephen Turner's post on .Rprofiles has several useful aliases and starter functions.

I find myself using his ht and hh often.

#ht==headtail, i.e., show the first and last 10 items of an object
ht <- function(d) rbind(head(d,10),tail(d,10))

# Show the first 5 rows and first 5 columns of a data frame or matrix
hh <- function(d) d[1:5,1:5]

Here's a little snippet for use exporting tables to LaTeX. It changes all the column names to math mode for the many reports I write. The rest of my .Rprofile is pretty standard and mostly covered above.

# Puts $dollar signs in front and behind all column names col_{sub} -> $col_{sub}$

    colnames(x) <- paste("$", colnames(x), "$", sep = "")

Here's mine. I always use the main cran repository, and have code to make it easy to source in-development package code.

.First <- function() {
    options("repos" = c(CRAN = ""))
    options("device" = "quartz")

packages <- list(
  "describedisplay" = "~/ggobi/describedisplay",
  "linval" = "~/ggobi/linval", 

  "ggplot2" =  "~/documents/ggplot/ggplot",
  "qtpaint" =  "~/documents/cranvas/qtpaint", 
  "tourr" =    "~/documents/tour/tourr", 
  "tourrgui" = "~/documents/tour/tourr-gui", 
  "prodplot" = "~/documents/categorical-grammar"

l <- function(pkg) {
  pkg <- tolower(deparse(substitute(pkg)))
  if (is.null(packages[[pkg]])) {
    path <- file.path("~/documents", pkg, pkg)
  } else {
    path <- packages[pkg]

  source(file.path(path, "load.r"))  

test <- function(path) {
  path <- deparse(substitute(path))
  source(file.path("~/documents", path, path, "test.r"))  

I found two functions really necessary: First when I have set debug() on several functions and I have resolved the bug, so I want to undebug() all functions - not one by one. The undebug_all() function added as the accepted answer here is the best.

Second, when I have defined many functions and I am looking for a specific variable name, it's hard to find it within all results of the the ls(), including the function names. The lsnofun() function posted here is really good.

Here are two functions I find handy for working with windows.

The first converts the \s to /.

.repath <- function() {
   cat('Paste windows file path and hit RETURN twice')
   x <- scan(what = "")
   xa <- gsub('\\\\', '/', x)
   writeClipboard(paste(xa, collapse=" "))
   cat('Here\'s your de-windowsified path. (It\'s also on the clipboard.)\n', xa, '\n')

The second opens the working directory in a new explorer window.

getw <- function() {
    suppressWarnings(shell(paste("explorer",  gsub('/', '\\\\', getwd()))))

Mine is not too fancy:

# So the mac gui can find latex
Sys.setenv("PATH" = paste(Sys.getenv("PATH"),"/usr/texbin",sep=":"))

#Use last(x) instead of x[length(x)], works on matrices too
last <- function(x) { tail(x, n = 1) }

#For tikzDevice caching 
options( tikzMetricsDictionary='/Users/cameron/.tikzMetricsDictionary' )