Kickstarting R - Editing things

The command line is a bummer

You've noticed that R is a command line oriented program. You make a lot of typing mistakes. You think it will take you forever to type in all the commands that are needed to get any but the most trivial analysis finished. You want a text editor. You find the function edit() and you go for it.

There is a potential trap here. If you happen to like the system's preferred editor (which happens to be vi on my system - it will probably be Notepad on Windows), you will probably be overjoyed. The first time I found myself in vi, I didn't know how to use it. Even worse, I didn't know how to exit from it. So the first thing you may want to do is change the editor to your preference.

First invoke the function

> options()

you'll see, right up near the top of the list,

[1] "vi"

Now you can temporarily change the default editor with:

> options(editor="my_favorite_editor")

but you might not want to do this every time you start up R. The .First() function can do the work for you.

> .First<-function() {
+ options(editor="my_favorite_editor")
+ }

You may prefer to put this into one of the initialization files Use .Rprofile to limit this preference to your home directory, or Rprofile to make it system-wide.

For more information, see An Introduction to R: Appendix B.

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