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R Markdown: A Guide to PDF Conversion

How to Download R Markdown as PDF

R Markdown is a powerful tool for creating dynamic and reproducible documents with R. It allows you to combine text, code, and output in a single file that can be rendered into various formats, such as HTML, PDF, Word, or PowerPoint. In this article, you will learn what R Markdown is, how to install it, how to create an R Markdown document, and how to convert it to PDF.

download r markdown as pdf

What is R Markdown and Why Use It?

R Markdown is a file format that uses a simple syntax to write text and embed code chunks. The code chunks can be executed and the results can be displayed in the document. This way, you can document your analysis and show your findings in a clear and concise way.

R Markdown Features

Some of the features of R Markdown are:

  • It supports multiple languages, such as R, Python, SQL, and more.

  • It supports dozens of output formats, such as HTML, PDF, Word, PowerPoint, Dashboards, Websites, and more.

  • It is fully reproducible, meaning that anyone can run your code and get the same results.

  • It is easy to write and read, using a plain text format that can be edited with any text editor.

  • It is integrated with RStudio, a popular IDE for working with R.

R Markdown Output Formats

R Markdown can produce different types of output formats depending on your needs. Some of the most common ones are:

  • HTML document: A web page that can be viewed in any browser. It can include interactive elements, such as tables, graphs, widgets, or Shiny apps.

  • PDF document: A portable document that can be printed or shared. It requires a LaTeX installation to generate.

  • Word document: A Microsoft Word file that can be edited or formatted further. It can include tables, figures, equations, or references.

  • PowerPoint presentation: A Microsoft PowerPoint file that can be used for slideshows. It can include transitions, animations, or speaker notes.

How to Install R Markdown

To use R Markdown, you need to have R and RStudio installed on your computer. You also need to install the rmarkdown package from CRAN.

Install R and RStudio

R is a free and open source programming language for statistical computing and graphics. You can download it from [here](^1^).

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RStudio is a free and open source IDE for working with R. It provides a user-friendly interface and many features to help you write and run your code. You can download it from [here](^2^).

Install R Markdown Package

The rmarkdown package is a free and open source package that provides the functionality for creating R Markdown documents. You can install it from CRAN using the following command in R:


You can also update the package to the latest version using:


How to Create an R Markdown Document

To create an R Markdown document, you need to follow these steps:

Choose an Output Format

The first step is to choose an output format for your document. You can do this by opening a new R Markdown file in RStudio and choosing one of the options from the menu. For example, you can choose HTML, PDF, or Word. You can also customize the output format by editing the YAML header at the top of the file. The YAML header contains metadata and options for your document, such as the title, author, date, and output format. For example, this is a YAML header for a PDF document:

--- title: "How to Download R Markdown as PDF" author: "Your Name" date: "June 21, 2023" output: pdf_document ---

You can learn more about the YAML header and the output options from [here].

Write Text and Code Chunks

The next step is to write the content of your document. You can write text using the Markdown syntax, which is a simple way to format your text using symbols and characters. For example, you can use # for headings, * for italics, for bold, and [ ] for links. You can learn more about the Markdown syntax from [here].

You can also write code chunks using the ``` symbol. A code chunk is a block of code that can be executed and displayed in your document. You need to specify the language of the code chunk after the first ```, such as ```r for R code. You can also add options to control how the code chunk is executed and displayed, such as echo, eval, results, or fig.width. You can learn more about the code chunk options from [here].

For example, this is a code chunk that plots a histogram of the mpg variable from the mtcars dataset in R:

```r histogram, echo = TRUE, fig.width = 6, fig.height = 4 # Load the mtcars dataset data(mtcars) # Plot a histogram of mpg hist(mtcars$mpg, main = "Histogram of mpg", xlab = "Miles per gallon") ```

Knit the Document

The final step is to knit the document, which means to render it into your chosen output format. You can do this by clicking on the Knit button in RStudio, which will run all the code chunks and generate the output file. You can also use a keyboard shortcut (Ctrl + Shift + K) or a menu option (File > Knit Document) to knit the document.

After knitting the document, you will see a preview of the output file in RStudio. You can also find the output file in your working directory or specify a different location in the YAML header.

How to Convert an R Markdown Document to PDF

If you want to convert an existing R Markdown document to PDF, you have several options. Here are some of them:

Use the Knit Button in RStudio

The easiest way to convert an R Markdown document to PDF is to use the Knit button in RStudio and choose PDF as the output format. This will automatically run all the code chunks and generate a PDF file.

However, this method requires that you have a LaTeX installation on your computer, which is a system for typesetting documents. If you don't have LaTeX installed, you can install it from [here] or use one of the other methods below.

Use the render Function in R

Another way to convert an R Markdown document to PDF is to use the render function in R. The render function is part of the rmarkdown package and it allows you to programmatically render an R Markdown document into any output format.

To use the render function, you need to specify the input file name and the output format as arguments. For example, this command will render an R Markdown file called example.Rmd into a PDF file called example.pdf:

render("example.Rmd", output_format = "pdf_document")

You can also specify other arguments to customize the rendering process, such as output_file, output_dir, or params. You can learn more about the render function from [here].

Use an Online Converter

A third way to convert an R Markdown document to PDF is to use an online converter service that can convert various file formats. For example, you can use [CloudConvert], which is a free and easy-to-use online tool that supports over 200 file formats.

To use CloudConvert, you need to upload your R Markdown file and choose PDF as the output format. Then, you can click on Start Conversion and wait for your file to be converted and download it to your computer. You can also adjust some settings, such as the page size, orientation, or margins, before converting your file.

However, this method may not preserve all the formatting and features of your R Markdown document, su


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