[R] Syntax coloring in R console

January Weiner january.weiner at mpiib-berlin.mpg.de
Fri Apr 1 12:32:19 CEST 2011

Dear all,

I am a happy user of R console, but I would like to see syntax
coloring. I use R 2.12 in Ubuntu Linux.

I have found the packages "xterm256" and "highlight", but I was not
able to figure out how to use it to highlight the syntax in console

Also, I tried several GUI interfaces, but I was not able to find
something that suits me better than the default R console. R cmdr is
definitely not for me, as I don't want to fundamentally change the way
I am managing my data in R. Rkwrd seems to be nice (from screenshots),
but its installation requires all the base KDE libraries, which I
don't want to install.

I tried JGR, the GUI for R, but I have found the following problems
with this package:

- I was not able to change the background color from a repulsive grey,
- apparently, GNU readline is not implemented in that package, that
is, there is no functionality similar to ctrl-r (which searches
through the history for matching commands), something I use
frequently, and
- tab expansion is of limited use (e.g. doesn't browse files in the
current directory when expanding quoted arguments e.g. in

All in all, I'd be happy to continue using the plain R console, but
syntax highlighting would be nice. Any advice would be extremely

Kind regards,


> sessionInfo()
R version 2.12.2 (2011-02-25)
Platform: i486-pc-linux-gnu (32-bit)

 [1] LC_CTYPE=en_US.utf8       LC_NUMERIC=C
LC_TIME=en_US.utf8        LC_COLLATE=en_US.utf8     LC_MONETARY=C
 [6] LC_MESSAGES=en_US.utf8    LC_PAPER=en_US.utf8       LC_NAME=C
            LC_ADDRESS=C              LC_TELEPHONE=C

attached base packages:
[1] stats     graphics  grDevices utils     datasets  methods   base


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