How to install R environment for statistical computing using Homebrew.

Step 1 - XCode Command line

If you're on a Mac, you will need to first install XCode command-line tools.

xcode-select --install

Step 2 - Install Homebrew

Homebrew is a package manager for Mac and if you haven't installed it yet, follow this tutorial.

Step 3 - Install xQuartz

R uses X11 including (tcltk) and it's no longer part of OS X. Therefore, you'll need to install xQuartz using Homebrew Cask extension.

Homebrew version 2.x.x+ no longer requires you to manually install cask.

Install xQuartz

brew install --cask xquartz
R uses X11 + tcltk which is not part of OSX so we manually install xQuartz.

Step 4 - Install R

Finally, we can install R!

brew install r

Step 5 - TK Graphic Library

Install the TK Graphical Library.

brew install --cask tcl

Step 6 - Double Check Your Work

Run doctor to ensure your system is healthy.

brew cask doctor 
Run doctor to ensure your system is healthy

Cleanup any files.

brew cleanup
Clean up any files.

Step 7 - Run R

If everything is working properly, you should be able to run R (notice that it's capital) and the TK GUI. This GUI is what you will be using to visualize your statistical questions.

R -g Tk &

Step 8 - Run Rscript

Suppose you have an external file named 'myfirstfile.R' and you want to run it from the command line, here's how:

Rscript myfirstfile.R

Next Steps

If you're not sure where to go next, I suggest learning how to install a very popular graphics package called ggplot2. Read my tutorial to learn more.


If homebrew ends up changing stuff and you can no longer find the right package, try brew search.

brew search <name of package>


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