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I first learned about code snippets in RStudio from Sean Lopp’s talk about RStudio Tips and Tricks at the 2017 New York R Conference. Ever since seeing the video I utilized the built-in if, fun, and alike, but never got around to customizing my own. For example, I considered writing snippets for my go-to dplyr pipe chains or my basic ggplot geoms. But here I was almost two years after learning about snippets and I never created any of my own… Until now.

Turns out the greatest motivation for creating customized snippets came from a StackOverflow post on how to set a default template for new R files in RStudio. I have typically written some sort of heading to my R, SQL, Python, and SPSS scripts. Ever since I started my professional career I’ve made an effort to have comprehensive code structure. Roughly speaking my scripts include a header and commented purpose section, a section where installing/loading packages at the top of the script, then I dive into my cleaning and/or data analysis. The layouts of my headings and purpose sections have been, to say the least, inconsistent.

I was motivated further by Jake Daniels’ blog on snippets where he described writing a simple snippet for loading R packages (which he cleverly named the snippet usual suspects). These examples were simple enough and provided enough utility for me to

Below are two simple snippets that I’ve incorporated into my RStudio global environment. The first provides a consistent heading that I can add to the beginning of my scripts, and the second allows me to quickly add/load regularly used packages.

snippet heading
    # ${1:scriptname}.R
    # ${2:scripttitle}
    # Author:
    # Date: Fri Sep 11 12:04:02 2020
    # Purpose:
    # --------------

snippet mainpack
    # ---- Load libraries

I’m looking forward to expanding my arsenal of code snippets in RStudio, whether its for Rmarkdown documents/presentations templates, basic SQL setups, or even HTML/CSS/LaTeX basics.