R Package Installation from Remote Repositories, Including 'GitHub'

Download and install R packages stored in 'GitHub', 'BitBucket', or plain 'subversion' or 'git' repositories. This package is a lightweight replacement of the 'install_*' functions in 'devtools'. Indeed most of the code was copied over from 'devtools'.

Download and install R packages stored in 'GitHub', 'BitBucket', or plain 'subversion' or 'git' repositories. This package is a lightweight replacement of the 'install_*' functions in devtools. Indeed most of the code was copied over from 'devtools'.

remotes can install itself from GitHub, it does not depend on any R package, it does not contain compiled code, and does not need any external software (for most of the functionality at least).

You can install remotes from GitHub. If you already have a previous version of remotes installed, you can use that to install the new versions:


Otherwise you can call the supplied install-github.R file directly, from within R:


Note that most of the examples here use GitHub. See below for other supported repository types.

To install the latest version of a package in the master branch from GitHub, you can use the user/repo form. Note that user can also be an organization:


If the R package is inside a subdirectory of the root directory, then give this subdirectory as well:


To install a certain branch or commit or tag, append it to the repo name, after an @:


To install the latest release, append @*release to the repo name:


To install a pull request, append # and the id (an integer number) of the pull request to the repo name:


Dependencies are automatically installed from CRAN. By default, outdated dependencies are automatically upgraded.

It is also possible to install dependencies from GitHub. For this you need to add a Remotes field to the DESCRIPTION file. Its format is:

Remotes: [remote::]repo_spec, [remote::]repo_spec, ...

where repo_spec is any repository specification install_github can handle. If remote:: is missing, github:: is assumed. Other possible values: bitbucket::, git::, local::, svn::, url::, version::.

remotes supports the Additional_repositories field in DESCRIPTION. This is a way to specify dependencies from non-CRAN package repositories. See the [Writing R extensions] (https://cran.r-project.org/doc/manuals/r-release/R-exts.html#Package-Dependencies) manual for details.

BioConductor packages are automatically detected and their dependencies are installed from BioConductor. The BiocInstaller package, which is needed to install them, is also automatically installed temporarily.

  • GitHub repositories via install_github.
  • Bitbucket repositories via install_bitbucket.
  • Generic git repositories via install_git. They need either a system git installation, or the git2r R package.
  • Local directories or package archive files via install_local.
  • Remote package archive files via install_url.
  • Packages in subversion repositories via install_svn. They need a system subversion installation.
  • Specific package versions from CRAN or other CRAN-like repositories via install_version. This includes outdated and archived packages as well.
  • All dependencies of a package in a local directory via install_deps.

If a package in a git repository has submodules, then the installation will likely fail. Nevertheless, a warning is given in this case.

GPL (>= 2) © Mango Solutions, RStudio



First public release.

Reference manual

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1.0.0 by Gabor Csardi, 6 months ago


Report a bug at https://github.com/mangothecat/remotes/issues

Browse source code at https://github.com/cran/remotes

Authors: Gabor Csardi [aut, cre], Hadley Wickham [aut], Winston Chang [aut], Jim Hester [aut], RStudio [cph], Martin Morgan [aut], Dan Tenenbaum [aut], Mango Solutions [cph]

Documentation:   PDF Manual  

GPL (>= 2) license

Imports methods, utils

Suggests curl, git2r, pingr, testthat

System requirements: Subversion for install_svn, git for install_git

Imported by cyclocomp.

See at CRAN