edit {utils}R Documentation

Invoke a Text Editor


Invoke a text editor on an R object.


edit(name, ...)
## Default S3 method:
edit(name = NULL, file = "", title = NULL,
     editor = getOption("editor"), ...)

vi(name = NULL, file = "")
emacs(name = NULL, file = "")
pico(name = NULL, file = "")
xemacs(name = NULL, file = "")
xedit(name = NULL, file = "")



a named object that you want to edit. For the default method, if name is missing then the file specified by file is opened for editing.


a string naming the file to write the edited version to.


a display name for the object being edited.


usually a character string naming (or giving the path to) the text editor you want to use. On Unix the default is set from the environment variables EDITOR or VISUAL if either is set, otherwise vi is used. On Windows it defaults to "internal", the script editor. On the macOS GUI the argument is ignored and the document editor is always used.

editor can also be an R function, in which case it is called with the arguments name, file, and title. Note that such a function will need to independently implement all desired functionality.


further arguments to be passed to or from methods.


edit invokes the text editor specified by editor with the object name to be edited. It is a generic function, currently with a default method and one for data frames and matrices.

data.entry can be used to edit data, and is used by edit to edit matrices and data frames on systems for which data.entry is available.

It is important to realize that edit does not change the object called name. Instead, a copy of name is made and it is that copy which is changed. Should you want the changes to apply to the object name you must assign the result of edit to name. (Try fix if you want to make permanent changes to an object.)

In the form edit(name), edit deparses name into a temporary file and invokes the editor editor on this file. Quitting from the editor causes file to be parsed and that value returned. Should an error occur in parsing, possibly due to incorrect syntax, no value is returned. Calling edit(), with no arguments, will result in the temporary file being reopened for further editing.

Note that deparsing is not perfect, and the object recreated after editing can differ in subtle ways from that deparsed: see dput and .deparseOpts. (The deparse options used are the same as the defaults for dump.) Editing a function will preserve its environment. See edit.data.frame for further changes that can occur when editing a data frame or matrix.

Currently only the internal editor in Windows makes use of the title option; it displays the given name in the window header.


The functions vi, emacs, pico, xemacs, xedit rely on the corresponding editor being available and being on the path. This is system-dependent.

See Also

edit.data.frame, data.entry, fix.


## Not run: 
# use xedit on the function mean and assign the changes
mean <- edit(mean, editor = "xedit")

# use vi on mean and write the result to file mean.out
vi(mean, file = "mean.out")

## End(Not run)

[Package utils version 4.4.1 Index]