Moving from Excel to R-What Software Do I Need?

Everyone knows what Microsoft Excel is, right? Either you have a copy that came with your PC or you’re on the Office 365 subscription model at $69/year for a personal copy $99/year for 5 users (my subscription of choice). Money flows into Microsoft coffers, satisfying shareholders and most of the greater Seattle area given Microsoft’s reach. Make more Seattleites happy by ordering your copy through Amazon!

R is very different (free). It is open source software available under a public license and is maintained by a group of volunteers (free). Get your free copy here.

R on its own is usable. However, it was designed from the ground up to allow for additions to make it more useful.

RStudio, an open source integrated development environment for R, makes using R much easier for folks like me who are not full-time programmers (also free). RStudio sits on top of R and extends usability significantly. RStudio offers the same basic terminal R does but also gives you additional really useful windows and information. I’ll discuss RStudio in the future but if you can’t wait, here’s a link with more information about RStudio.

Here’s an article: 9 Reasons to use RStudio. Or Top 6 Reasons you need to be using RStudio. Get your free copy of RStudio here.

You can extend the usability of R by adding packages. Packages are bundles of R code with explanation and data examples. Data Camp has beginner’s guide for R Packages here. Managing packages is one of RStudio’s strengths, making it easy to install packages. These are free too.

ggplot is a package for creating graphics and should be the first package you download. Two more packages of interest to appraisers just getting into R are tidyverse, a collection of R packages for data science, and rmarkdown, a package for adding R output to documents. You can learn more about all three here.

To summarize, download for free R, RStudio, and the ggplot2, tidyverse, and rmarkdown packages. I’ll talk more about packages in the future as I explore R’s functionality.

Download Pages and Instructions


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