Org R Sandbox

Org R Sandbox

May 25, 2020
Academic, Meta

This post presents the workflow of interacting with R in org mode. I am mainly seeking three functions in this workflow: automatic output; persistent R session across multiple source blocks; ability to present both codes and outputs.


  • org-babel for executing and tangling source blocks
  • ESS for interacting directly with R in emacs through the inferior R process


  • set up proper sub-tree/buffer header arguments, for this blog post I used sub-tree header arguments: :header-args:R: :session *R* :exports both :eval no-export
  • run org-bable-execute-src-block (or on sub-tree/buffer level) to produce outputs in the text area


Plot output

  • For the following code block, I used the source block header arguments #+begin_src R :results output graphics file :file test.svg :output-dir ~/itflows/static
  • Note on the header arguments:
    • use :results graphics file when producing base R plot. use :results output graphics file for ggplot (see
    • remember to specify :output-dir as the static folder in your hugo directory, or else the org-link to the output plot after code evaluation will be directed to the same directory as the .org file by default
setwd('~/itflows/static') # output plot stored in the static directory of your hugo blog
print(ggplot(iris, aes(x =  Sepal.Width, y = Sepal.Length)) +
      geom_point() +
                                        # If the source code block uses grid-based R graphics, e.g., the lattice and ggplot2 packages, then care must be taken either to print() the graphics object, specify :results output, or run the code in a :session", use print() to produce proper .svg output

square <- function(x) # test session persistency
    x * x
plot(matrix(rnorm(100), ncol=2), type="h")

Plain text output

  • source block header arguments: #+begin_src R :results output
 [1]   1   4   9  16  25  36  49  64  81 100

comments powered by Disqus

Creative Commons License
This work by Eejain Huang is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.
Powered by Hugo + ox-hugo