Ryan's Blog

Local Installation and Use of R Packages

Posted in research by ryanlayer on June 1, 2010


1. Specifying a local library search location

Specify a local library search location.

You can use several library trees of add-on packages. The easiest way to tell R to use these via a ‘dotfile’ by creating the following file ‘$HOME/.Renviron’ (watch the quotes and ~ character):


This specifies a keyword (R_LIBS_USER) which points to a colon-separated list of directories at which R library trees are rooted. You do not have to specify the default tree for R packages.

If necessary, create a place for your R libraries

  mkdir ~/R ~/R/library         # Only need do this once

Set your R library path

  echo 'R_LIBS_USER="~/R/library"' >  $HOME/.Renviron

2. Installing to a local library search location

Installation is dead easy. Start up R and tell R to fetch your package from CRAN, compile whatever needs compiling and set everything else up.

Beware – each package will only work for the platform (i.e. Linux or Solaris) where you installed it. If you want a package on both Linux and Solaris, you’ll need to install it in different directories for each system type.

  R                     # Invoke R
  > install.packages("name-of-your-package",lib="~/R/library")
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