Managing Files

RStudio supports syntax highlighting and other specialized code-editing features for specific file types:

File Menu

You can create a new file via the File -> New File menu:

A screenshot of the File Menu drop-down which has features like New File, Open File, Save File.

An alternative workflow is to use the visual elements in the RStudio menu.

A screenshot of the New File drop-down in RStudio, which provides new R, Python, Quarto, Rmarkdown, Shiny or Plumber files.

To open an existing file, use either the File -> Open File... menu or the Recent Files menu to select from recently opened files.

Files tab

The Output pane has a Files tab that includes several buttons for managing files within the currently selected folder, including the New Blank File drop-down, Delete button, and the Rename button. These buttons will operate on files that are selected within the Files tab.

A screenshot of the create blank file drop-down. The More drop-down contains a number of other useful features:

  • Copy or Move selected file(s) to a new location
  • Open selected file(s) in Source pane or new columns
  • Modify or navigate to the working directory
  • Open a new terminal from the displayed folder
  • Open the displayed folder in a new pop-out window
  • Show hidden files

A screenshot of the Files tab in RStudio, with the More drop-down opened to display the possible options as expanded on above.

Existing files

To open existing files from the Files tab, use the Files tab to navigate to the folder that contains your file. Then click on the file of interest to open it in the Source pane of RStudio.

To modify existing files from the Files tab, select the checkbox next the file(s) of interest, then use the UI elements such as Delete or More > Move….

Display hidden files

RStudio’s Files tab by default shows only a selection of commonly needed hidden files, such as the .Rprofile. To instead show all of the hidden files, in the Files pane, click the More drop-down, then check Show Hidden Files.

The Files pane, showing the More drop-down and the Show Hidden Files check. A number of dot files such as .gitignore and folders such as .git, .Rproj.user, etc are displayed now.

Switching files

If several files are opened within RStudio, then they are all available as tabs within the Source pane to facilitate quick switching between open documents.

Use the Ctrl+Tab and Ctrl+Shift+Tab shortcuts on desktop (Ctrl+F12 and Ctrl+F11 on Linux) to quickly move to the next or previous tabs, respectively.

If there are a large number of open documents, navigate between them using the “>>“ icon at the end of the tab bar (Ctrl+Shift+. shortcut or the View -> Switch to Tab... menu item). The Switch to Tab… provides a filtering search for all of the tabs in that Source pane:

A screenshot of the Switching Files popup - it is a drop-down from the end of the Source pane, displayed as >>.

To quickly navigate to any existing file in the current RStudio Project, even if it is not currently open, use the Ctrl + . shortcut. Entering the shortcut will bring up the Go to File/Function search bar with auto-completion of file names.

A screenshot of the go to file/function popup as a search bar.

Back to top