R and RStudio

R is a free, open-source software environment for statistical computing and graphics. It runs on a wide variety of UNIX platforms, Windows and Mac.

Obtaining R

To download and install R, do the following:

  1. Go to the Comprehensive R Archive Network (CRAN), which is mirrored on dozens of servers around the world, and choose the location closest to you. The mirror at Carnegie Mellon is a good choice:  http://watson.nci.nih.gov/cran_mirror/.
  2. Select the distribution appropriate for your operating system. These are the links at the top of the page.
    1. Windows: Click the “base” link and then click the “Download R…” link on the following page. Double-click the executable file when it finishes downloading to begin the installation.
    2. Mac: Download the .pkg binary. Double-click the file when it finishes downloading to begin the installation.


You must first have a working installation of R to use RStudio.

  1. Go to the RStudio website
  2. Choose “Products” from the drop down menus to the righthand side of the page
  3. Choose the first option, RStudio
  4. Select “Desktop” since you want to run RStudio on your desktop computer
  5. Make sure you choose the Open Source Edition, and click the Download RStudio Desktop download bar
  6. Pick the installer for your platform.
  7. Click the RStudio file in your downloads, or wherever your downloads normally appear
  8. Select the default selections when installing RStudio unless you have other instructions from your instructor or colleague
    1. Windows note: Rstudio should be able to detect your latest installed R version. If RStudio does not recognize your R, or if you want to use a different R version from the one that RStudio detected, you can go to RStudio -> Tools -> Global Options to open the Options pane, then click the first “Change” button to select a specific R version.

Getting Started with R

There are many fine web sites, tutorials and presentations available on the internet that introduce R. A sample of those resources include:

Research Software Support can only provide limited support for programs such as R whose binaries and source originate offsite. Please remember that it is up to you to:

  1. Check the system requirements.
  2. Scan any downloads for viruses.
  3. Read the documentation for instructions on installation and program use.
  4. Comply with any licenses to which you agree.

Questions? Email res-consult@virginia.edu.


Last updated: 10/25/21