Local Data

R packages such as readr, arrow, data.table, readxl, and haven provide functions to read in various formats of datasets. RStudio also provides an Import Dataset wizard for common file types which can also output the requisite R code to reproduce.

Importing data

The data import features can be accessed from the Environment pane or from the Tools menu. The importers are grouped into 3 categories:

  • Text data
  • Excel data
  • Statistical data

To access this feature, do one of the following:

  • Through the RStudio menu: File > Import Dataset
  • From the Environment pane use the Import Dataset dropdown menu:

A screenshot of the Import Dataset dropdown.

Importing data from Text and CSV files

Importing “From Text (readr)” files allows reading in CSV files and in general, character delimited files using the readr package. The Import Text Data wizard provides support to:

  • Import from the file system or a url

  • Change column data types

  • Skip or include-only columns

  • Rename the data set

  • Skip the first N rows

  • Use the header row for column names

  • Trim spaces in names

  • Change the column delimiter

  • Encoding selection

  • Select quote, escape, comment and NA identifiers

For example, a csv can be imported by pasting this url https://raw.githubusercontent.com/allisonhorst/palmerpenguins/main/inst/extdata/penguins.csv and selecting “Import”.

A screenshot of the import Text Data popup.

Importing data from Text files

Importing using “From Text (base)” enables importing text files using the base R package:

A screenshot of the base Import Dataset wizard.

Importing data from Excel files

The Excel importer provides support to:

  • Import from the file system or a url

  • Change column data types

  • Skip columns

  • Rename the data set

  • Select an specific Excel sheet

  • Skip the first N rows

  • Select NA identifiers

For example, the Import Excel Data wizard can import an xls file from the readxl R package by pasting this url: https://github.com/tidyverse/readxl/blob/main/inst/extdata/deaths.xlsx?raw=true and pressing Update.


This file contains text at the top of the file and therefore, requires the first few rows to be removed, which can be accomplished by changing Skip: 4 and pressing Update.

A screenshot of the Import Excel Data popup wizard.

The final step is to press Import to execute the code under Code Preview and import the data into RStudio.

Importing data from SPSS, SAS and Stata files

The SPSS, SAS and Stata importer provides support to:

  • Import from the file system or a url

  • Rename the data set

  • Specify a model file

An example .sav file is available at: https://github.com/rstudio/webinars/raw/master/23-Importing-Data-into-R/data/Child_Data.sav. Paste that URL under File/Url, press Update and then press Import.

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