Help in R Tools for Visual Studio

The help window pops up within Visual Studio as a tool window. You can get help for a specific topic by title using the ? command in R:


Help window

All standard Visual Studio tool window behavior is available to the R Help window.

You can search help using the ?? command in R. Note that you have to quote the search term if it includes spaces.

??"Motor Trend"

Help search

You can right-click on a function in the editor or the REPL window

Help right click

Pressing F1 during an auto-complete operation will send the sub-string used for the auto-complete to the R search engine to return a set of pages that match that sub-string search:

Help auto-complete

To bring up results in your browser:

Help auto-complete results

You’ve always had the option of running the help system inside of a Visual Studio tool window, or by launching the help in the default browser for your computer. If you are using the tool window option (which is the default), you now have the ability to type search terms into a separate search input field:

Lots of us run into problems writing our code and turn to the Internet for help. We’ve streamlined this a bit further by incorporating keyword search directly into RTVS. For example, if you were trying to figure out how to use the dplyr filter function in the following code, all you need to do is place your caret on the filter function call, and press F1.

This will bring up search results in a separate tool window.

By default we append “R” to the end of your search term, and scope the search to Stack Overflow, but you can configure it to search with an arbitrary search clause in the Options dialog for RTVS: