Install R Packages

Packages are the fundamental concept of code reusability in R programming. A package in R is a collection of functions, sample data, and the documentation that describes how to use them. There are multiple ways to install R Packages. In this article, we are going to focus on the most commonly used techniques to install the package in R.

Install R Packages

A quick and easy way to install a package in R is with the following function. If you know the name, then this approach is handy. The Syntax behind this function is:


Step 1: Please replace the name with your desired package name in R programming. Here, we want to install the RODBC, which is useful to load data from Database management systems like SQL Server

TIP: Type?PackageName, or help(PackageName) to get the information about it.

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Step 2: You might get a slightly different output but, don’t worry about the output unless you see an error message. From the screenshot below, you can observe that R Studio installed the ‘RODBC’.

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Step 3: Type library (RODBC) to load the package, and you can see that it is showing a list of available ones along with our RODBC. This library () also help us to check whether we successfully done it or not.

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Step 4: Below screenshot shows that we haven’t got any error messages. If there is an issue, then it throws an error saying that there is none called RODBC.

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The second approach to Install R Packages

If you don’t know the name or you want to check all the names available in R Programming, then this approach of installing a package is beneficial. For this, we have to use the Files, Plots, Packages, Help, Viewer section.

Under the packages tab, Please click on the Install tab for a new source package.

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Once you click on the tab, the following pop up opened.

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Here we have two options:

  • Repository (CRAN, CRANextra): This option help to install packages available in the CRAN mirror. We are selecting this option for now.
  • Package Archive File (.zip, .tar.gz): Please select this option if you want to load the downloaded zip files or third-party websites.
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Once you type a character or letter, then it displays the list of available ones in CRAN, starting with that letter.

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In this example, we want to load the DBI that’s why we are selecting the DBI. Feel free to select your required one.

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Click on the Install button to start the process.

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Once you click on the button, R studio starts installing the selected library package, and here it is DBI. As you can see in the console, it is stating that the process was successfully. You might get a slightly different output but, don’t get panic unless you see an error message.

From the screenshot below, you can observe that our ‘DBI’ pkg is under the User library path.

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The traditional approach for Install R Packages

Although we don’t use this type of approach in real-time, most of these steps (Step 1 to Step 5) help finding the list of packages available in R programming language. This method (Step 5 to Step 8) helps to download and install R packages from third-party websites.

Step 1: To find the available ones, first Go to the official R Programming website. The screenshot below shows the official website Homepage. Next, Click on the CRAN to start the R packages download process.

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Step 2: Once you click on the above-specified hyperlinks, the following window or tab opened. Please select your closest mirror for R Packages download. Since I reside in India, we are selecting the India Institute of Technology Madras mirror.

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Step 3: Once the closest mirror is selected, the following window opened. Please click on the Packages hyperlink under the Software.

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Step 4: Once you click on the hyperlink, the below-shown screenshot displayed. Here, it displays two options:

  • Table of available packages, Sorted by Date of Publication
  • Table of available ones, Sorted by Name

Please select either of the options

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Step 5: Once you click on the option, it opens the page with a list of available ones. Please select the package you want to download on install into your R work environment. From the screenshot below, observe that we are selecting the Plot3D.

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Step 6: Here, Click on the Plot3D 1.1.tar.gz hyperlink to start downloading the zip file. Once you click on the link, a pop-up window opened to save this file. Please select the Save File option.

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Step 7: To install the one that we downloaded, Open the R Studio and Under the packages tab, Please click on the Install tab. Once you click on the tab, a pop up opened. Please select the Archive File (.zip, .tar.gz) option from it. Next, click on the Browse button to browse the zip file.

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Step 8: Once you selected the required one, click on the Install button to start the process for selected module into R, and here it is plot3D.

You might wonder why I have chosen the plot3D. Because plot3D won’t work unless you have a misc3d, it means when you click on the install button; it throws an error stating that you are missing the dependency pack misc3d. It is one of the common errors you face while you R install packages. And to resolve this error, abort the process and install the misc3d using any of these three approaches and then load this plot3D.