R has a command-line interface, not a point-and-click GUI (graphical user
interface).1 A GUI is easier to learn, and is the best way to interact with graphics.
But you can be more expressive with command lines. The commands have a
syntax. It’s a language, and like any language the more fluent you are the more
expressive you can be. Ultimately it gives you a wider range of possibilities than
At some stage you will have to write a program or ‘‘script’’, several lines of
commands. This seems laborious at first but becomes rewarding as you develop
scripts you can re-use. It is quite possible for example for an R script to read data,
fit some models, generate some tables and graphics, and even typeset the results.
Then you can reproduce the whole process with a single keypress. You can
regenerate the whole paper with different data. You can send your work to a
colleague so they can see your results and replay the process by which you
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