[R] unix like commands in R?

(Ted Harding) Ted.Harding at manchester.ac.uk
Tue Aug 25 00:32:21 CEST 2009

On 24-Aug-09 21:56:06, zrl wrote:
> Dear List:
> I am trying to find a command in R which is like the unix command
> "less" or "more" to show the data in a object of R.
> did anyone can help me on this?
> Is there a collection of such unix-like commands in R?
> Thanks.
> -ZRL

There is a page() command in R -- see '?page'. From your query I take
it you are in fact using either Linux or Unix (or possible a Mac BSD
type OS).

Have a look at  options("pager")  to see what is currently uses.

I have modified my R setup so that it uses 'less' (on Linux) as
the pager program.

I did this in my .Rprofile (in home directory) by putting in the

.xthelp <- function() {
    tdir <- tempdir()
    pgr <- paste(tdir, "/pgr", sep="")
    con <- file(pgr, "w")
    cat("#! /bin/bash\n", file=con)
    cat("export HLPFIL=`mktemp ", tdir, "/R_hlp.XXXXXX`\n",
        sep="", file=con)
    cat("cat > $HLPFIL\nxterm -e less $HLPFIL &\n", file=con)
    system(paste("chmod 755 ", pgr, sep=""))

This opens anything which might be paged in a separate xterm,
so thatfor instance, all responses to "?....." come up in a new
xterm being paged by 'less'. Likewise, if you page a large object
(such as a matrix M with 500 rows), using 'page(M), you will
again see the result paged in 'less' in a separate window.

This code was suggested by Roger Bivand in response to a query
of mine back in 2003. The URL is


This was an improvement on a previous solution of my own, which
is also quoted in the above URL.

Hoping this helps,

E-Mail: (Ted Harding) <Ted.Harding at manchester.ac.uk>
Fax-to-email: +44 (0)870 094 0861
Date: 24-Aug-09                                       Time: 23:32:18
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