About RStudio

RStudio is a free and open source data analysis that makes R easier to use. Think of RStudio as the front end user interface and R as the back end engine. It includes a code editor, debugging & visualization tools.

Accessing and using RStudio

RStudio is accessed via the Virtual Laboratory (vLab-Max). For instructions on how to access vLab-Max, head to the vLab-Max page here.

Launch RStudio via the vLab

First-time users

R has thousands of 'packages' that can be installed to assist with anything from report generation to statistical analysis. What makes R so versatile is that anyone can build or edit packages. Using R requires you to code, that is, you must write the instructions that tell the computer what to do. This seems alien at first but once you are comfortable with the R Studio interface the task becomes easier. There are numerous tutorials online that can help you learn how to code in R. 

Using R requires constant learning as you extend your knowledge to solve new problems. Learning how to use the tutorials and guides becomes second nature. There is also an extensive online community who can help answer any functional questions you may have.

R is a fantastic and versatile alternative to using SPSS because of the thousands of packages on offer, which are easily downloaded and installed with a single command.


  • Online learning is a wealth of tutorials, articles, and examples exist to help you learn R and its extensions, including The Beginner’s Guide to R, and swirl, an R package designed to teach you R straight from the command line.
  • RStudio Support answers a number of FAQs and provides related articles and instructions how to use it.

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