I just installed the latest version of R. What packages should I obtain?

Duplicate thread: What R packages do you find most useful in your daily work?

Are there any R packages that are just plain good to have, regardless of the type of work you are doing? If so, what are these packages? If not, what packages do you find the most useful?

In a narrow sense, R Core has a recommendation: the "recommended" packages.

Everything else depends on your data analysis tasks at hand, and I'd recommend the Task Views at CRAN.

I imagine graphics and data manipulation are two things that are useful no matter what you are doing. Thus, I'd recommend:

  • ggplot2 (great graphics)
  • lattice (great graphics)
  • plyr (useful for data manipulation)
  • Hmisc (good for descriptive statistics and much more)

You can get user reviews of packages on crantastic

I would suggest using some of the packages provided by revolution R. In particular, I quite like the:

  • multicore package for parallel computing using shared memory processors
  • there optimized packages for matrices

This is definitely a question that doesn't have "an answer". It is completely dependent on what you want to do. That aside, I'll share the packages that I install as a standard with an R update...

                        "CCA", "fda", "zoo", "fields",

and leave it to you to investigate those packages and see if they are valuable to you.

You can also take a look at Task views on CRAN and see if something suit your needs. I agree with @Jeromy for these must-have packages (for data manipulation and plotting).

If you are working with Latex, I recommend TikZ Device for outputting nice, Latex-formatted (like PSTricks) graphics. The output you get is text-based Latex code, which can be embedded with include(filename) into any figure environment.


  • Same font in graphics as in your text
  • Professional look


  • Takes longer to compile than PNG or PDF
  • for very complex R graphics, there are could be some display errors

https://github.com/Sharpie/RTikZDevice - Project, Packages available from CRAN and R-Forge

I use lattice, ggplot2, lubridate, reshape, boot, e1071, car, forecast, and zoo a lot.

Jeromy mentioned my first pick: Lattice.

I also have found the doBy package and its summaryBy function to be insanely useful. They extend aggregate with a formula syntax that lets you aggregate multiple functions simultaneously in non-trivial ways. Great if you want, say, mean, std. dev., and length.

Some packages are very useful in R.

I will just recommand kernlab for Kernel-based Machine Learning Lab and e1071 for SVM and ggplot2 for graphics