Hello! Please follow these instructions to download and install the necessary software and files. Note that it is not enough to have just R and tidyverse installed (which you might have) - you will also need a number of packages and a worksheet file, and your R should be up to date. I’d also recommend using RStudio instead of the plain R GUI. The instructions below come with troubleshooting steps - if something seems to be amiss or not working as intended, make sure you’ve read through everything.

Good luck!
- Andres Karjus

This document contains step-by-step instructions for:

  1. Installing the (free) software you will be using
  2. Configuring the software to make it easier to use
  3. Installing extra packages and making sure R Markdown works
  4. Downloading the script file you’ll be working with
  5. Submitting a confirmation of having done all that
  6. (An optional R refresher exercise)

All steps except 6 are mandatory and should be done before the workshop starts.

Importantly, if something went wrong and you could not install the software, please get in touch before the workshop starts so we can try to quickly troubleshoot. We cannot afford to waste any time on issues like installation during the workshop.

1 Install the software

The installation process only takes a few clicks. But before you start, please make sure your operating system is up to date as well (particularly Macs: there are known conflicts between old versions of R and some newer packages, which will manifest if you have a Mac with an old version of the Mac OS, which in turn would lead you to download an old version of R).

1.1 Installing R

First and foremost, you need R. If you already have R installed, please still update it to the most recent version, i.e. R version 4.0.2 (2020-06-22). Updating is done just by downloading the most recent installer and installing. Depending on your operating system, go to:

Download the installer and install (with default options, just keep clicking Next). Run R once to see that it works (in Windows, Rgui.exe should appear as a shortcut in the start menu and/or desktop; on a Mac, look for the R application in Finder). It should look something like this, depending on your OS:

on a Mac on Windows

Good job. Now close R (if it asks to save the workspace, say no). Once you get RStudio, there is no need to look at this ugly interface ever again.

1.2 Installing RStudio

While it is fine to use R from the command line or the bare-bones R interface application, we are going to use RStudio instead, which will make using R a lot easier and less of a hassle. It also has nice support for R Markdown, which we will be using.

  • Go to https://www.rstudio.com/products/rstudio/download/#download -> it should detect your operating system and offer the relevant version (“2.Download RStudio Desktop”), otherwise choose the installer from the list depending on your operating system (not the zip/tarball, and not the source code!).
  • Download and install. Run RStudio (again, look for the shortcut in Start Menu/Finder or the desktop).

Common issues and troubleshooting:

  • If you’re using a 32-bit version of Windows (likely an older laptop), please download this archived version instead - the newest version of RStudio installer comes only in the 64-bit flavour. If you installed RStudio and get an error upon running RStudio saying that your Windows is not compatible, then this means you have 32-bit Windows.
  • If you cannot install RStudio because your operating system is out of date (e.g. pre-7 Windows or pre-Sierra Mac OS) and you don’t feel like or don’t have the time or willpower to upgrade, a solution is to use RStudio Cloud instead in your browser.
    • Go to https://rstudio.cloud and sign up a free account, or just log in with Google or Github.
    • Start a new project, run the package installer code block (step 3 below)
    • Download the Rmd script file (step 4 below), and upload it to the cloud (see File pane -> Upload in RStudio Cloud)
    • Doing these steps allows you to participate without installing RStudio, provided you’re on a decent internet connection.
  • Another solution for out-of-date systems is to install an old version and use the plain R GUI (choose a suitable version in step 1.1), but it is likely that not all of the packages we will be using would work on an older version.

RStudio is an integrated development environment for R (which is why we had to install that first) - the Console panel on the left is basically the same thing that you saw when you ran “plain” R. But RStudio also features a number of very helpful features that will become apparent in the workshop. It comes with a handy script editor, which we are going to use right away.

2 Configure these RStudio options, otherwise you run into issues

Before we do that, we need to quickly change two options in RStudio to make it behave in a more useful way for us (fortunately, the RStudio interface is highly customisable).