R Packages

One of the best aspects about R and RStudio that make it such a robust and fun environment is the availability of ‘packages’ that can serve to streamline your R processing. When I started using R I was not aware of the existence of helpful R packages and now I can say that finding and experimenting with R packages is a hobby.

CRAN is the best place to find and download R Packages, and to help you through that somewhat overwhelming library here are my favorites:



by Hadley Wickham


This package is high on the list of data analysts, DH’ers and R users alike. This package is extremely easy to use and produces some of the best visual data representations I have seen. Here is a little sample from the ggplot2 website. It also allows for more user-friendly graph customization options which RStudio users can appreciate.




by Yihui Xie


This package is great for those documenting, or writing a report that includes R code and output. This dynamic report generating package allows for writing within the RStudio environment in LaTeX format, while inputting chunks of R code into the lines of the document. This allows you to document and customize a PDF output that includes your code and results, while still functioning like a regular R project file.

Here is a great and helpful video from Yihui on the package.

Using Knitr with RStudio


by Matt Owen, Kosuke Imai, Olivia Lau, Gary King


Doing data analysis as a job I find that the zelig package lives by its own tagline, “Everyone’s Statistical Software”. It makes regressions, linear models, and finding descriptive statistics a breeze. It is one of the most robust packages I have seen with a near comprehensive list of statistical models. It can even help interpret results by allowing for threshold parameters to be set.


For more information here is another list of favorite packages.

Top 100 Packages for R


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