Schedule R Scripts and Processes with the 'cron' Job Scheduler

Create, edit, and remove 'cron' jobs on your unix-alike system. The package provides a set of easy-to-use wrappers to 'crontab'. It also provides an RStudio add-in to easily launch and schedule your scripts.


Schedule R scripts/processes with the cron scheduler. This allows R users working on Unix/Linux to automate R processes on specific timepoints from R itself. Mark that if you are looking for a Windows scheduler, you might be interested in the R package taskscheduleR available at

Basic usage

This R package allows to

  • Get the list of scheduled jobs
  • Remove scheduled jobs
  • Add a job
    • A job is basically a script with R code which is run through Rscript
    • You can schedule tasks 'ONCE', 'EVERY MINUTE', 'EVERY HOUR', 'EVERY DAY', 'EVERY WEEK', 'EVERY MONTH' or any complex schedule
    • The task log contains the stdout & stderr of the Rscript which was run on that timepoint. This log can be found at the same folder as the R script

When the task has run which is scheduled with the RStudio addin, you can look at the log which contains everything from stdout and stderr. The log file is located at the directory where the R script is located.

RStudio add-in

The package contains also an RStudio add-in. If you install the package and use RStudio version 0.99.893 or later you can just click to schedule a task. Just click Addins > Schedule R scripts on Linux/Unix.



Some example use cases are shown below, indicating to schedule a script at specific timepoints.

f <- system.file(package = "cronR", "extdata", "helloworld.R")
cmd <- cron_rscript(f)

cron_add(command = cmd, frequency = 'minutely', id = 'test1', description = 'My process 1', tags = c('lab', 'xyz'))
cron_add(command = cmd, frequency = 'daily', at='7AM', id = 'test2')


cmd <- cron_rscript(f, rscript_args = c("productx", "arg2", "123"))
cron_add(cmd, frequency = 'minutely', id = 'job1', description = 'Customers')
cron_add(cmd, frequency = 'hourly', id = 'job2', description = 'Weather')
cron_add(cmd, frequency = 'hourly', id = 'job3', days_of_week = c(1, 2))
cron_add(cmd, frequency = 'hourly', id = 'job4', at = '00:20', days_of_week = c(1, 2))
cron_add(cmd, frequency = 'daily', id = 'job5', at = '14:20')
cron_add(cmd, frequency = 'daily', id = 'job6', at = '14:20', days_of_week = c(0, 3, 5))
cron_add(cmd, frequency = 'daily', id = 'job7', at = '23:59', days_of_month = c(1, 30))
cron_add(cmd, frequency = 'monthly', id = 'job8', at = '10:30', days_of_month = 'first', days_of_week = '*')
cron_add(cmd, frequency = '@reboot', id = 'job9', description = 'Good morning')
cron_add(cmd, frequency = '*/15 * * * *', id = 'job10', description = 'Every 15 min')   


Make sure the cron daemon ( is running. On Debian this is done as follows.

sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install -y cron
sudo cron start

Install the latest version from github:


If you want the RStudio add-in to work, also install miniUI, shiny and shinyFiles


Now have a look at ?cron_add or start the RStudio addin


Currently, cronR does not preserve or handle cron jobs not generated through the package. This will be handled some time in the future. To be safe, you should run cron_save("cron.backup") before fiddling around.


Package: cronR

Version: 0.4.0 [2018-03-07]

  • Allow creating any cron schedule + update rstudio addin + added examples on that
  • No longer use the extdata folder if the user does not have right permissions

Version: 0.3.0 [2017-03-03]

  • Add cron_rscript
  • Add examples
  • Make sure Rscript uses full path and shQuote scripts
  • Roxygen updates
  • Vignette

Version: 0.2.1 [2016-07-06]

  • Use shinyfiles package to allow to use files on a server instead of uploading them

Version: 0.2.0 [2016-06-14]

  • Added RStudio add-in
  • Fixed issues with days_of_week, days_of_month and months parsing if several were given
  • R CMD check happiness

Reference manual

It appears you don't have a PDF plugin for this browser. You can click here to download the reference manual.


0.4.0 by Jan Wijffels, 2 years ago

Browse source code at

Authors: Jan Wijffels [aut, cre, cph] , BNOSAC [cph] , Kevin Ushey [cph]

Documentation:   PDF Manual  

MIT + file LICENSE license

Imports digest

Suggests knitr, miniUI, shiny, shinyFiles, testthat

System requirements: cron

See at CRAN