2.6 Saving stuff in R

Your approach to saving work in R and RStudio depends on what you want to save. Most of the time the only thing you will need to save is the R code in your script(s). Remember your script is a reproducible record of everything you’ve done so all you need to do is open up your script in a new RStudio session and source it into the R Console and you’re back to where you left off.

Unless you’ve followed our suggestion about changing the default settings for RStudio Projects you will be asked whether you want to save your workspace image every time you exit RStudio. We suggest that 99.9% of the time that you don’t want to do this. By starting with a clean RStudio session each time we come back to our analysis we can be sure to avoid any potential conflicts with things we’ve done in previous sessions.

There are, however, some occasions when saving objects you’ve created in R is useful. For example, let’s say you’re creating an object that takes hours (even days) of computational time to generate. It would be extremely inconvenient to have to wait all this time each time you come back to your analysis (although we would suggest exporting this to an external file is a better solution). In this case we can save this object as an external .RData file which we can load back into RStudio the next time we want to use it. To save an object to an .RData file you can use the save() function (notice we don’t need to use the assignment operator here)

save(nameOfObject, file = "name_of_file.RData")

or if you want to save all of the objects in your workspace into a single .RData file use the save.image() function.

save.image(file = "name_of_file.RData")

To load your .RData file back into RStudio use the load() function.

load(file = "name_of_file.RData")