Installation and Getting Started

R Tools for Visual Studio is a free extension for Visual Studio 2015 that brings the Visual Studio IDE experience to R users.


RTVS 1.0 can only be installed on Visual Studio 2015 Update 3 and higher. We support the following editions of Visual Studio:

To check what version of Visual Studio 2015 you currently have, go to Help -> About. It should say Visual Studio 2015 with Update 3 and higher.

The current version of Visual Studio 2015 is Update 3, and contains important updates that RTVS uses. If you do not have Update 3, you can install it from here:

RTVS requires an installation of R on your computer. We only support 64 bit editions of R versions 3.2.1, and higher. We support both the CRAN R distributions as well as the Microsoft R distributions. You can download them from for free from these locations:

If you don’t have an R distribution installed before you install RTVS, you will be prompted to install an R distribution during setup.

Next download R Tools for Visual Studio 1.0, and run the installer.

Offline installation of Visual Studio and RTVS

Some customers want to install RTVS onto air-gapped computers that do not have access to the Internet. To do this, you’ll need two things:

  1. An ISO image of the Visual Studio 2015 edition that you want to use (e.g., Community, Professional or Enterprise). To download an ISO image of Visual Studio 2015, you have a couple of options:

    • If you are an MSDN subscriber click here to go to the MSDN subscribers download site to download an ISO of the edition of Visual Studio 2015 that you want to use.

    • If you aren’t an MSDN subscriber click here to download an ISO of Visual Studio 2015 Community Edition.

  2. A zip file containing all of the RTVS installation files. Click here to download a zip file containing RTVS.

  3. Copy all of these files to your air-gapped computer.
  4. Mount the Visual Studio ISO image and run the installer setup.exe from the root directory.
  5. When Visual Studio is done installing, unzip the contents of the RTVS zip file into its own directory, and run the EXE from that directory.

Window Layout for Data Scientists in Visual Studio

Visual Studio is a fantastic developer tool, and its user interface is optimized around the needs of a developer. We realize that data scientists have different needs, so we’ve come up with a streamlined experience that is tailored for the needs of data scientists.

We know that some of you prefer to retain your existing Visual Studio settings, so we leave things this way by default. However, for those of you who want our tailored experience, enabling it is really easy to do. Just run the Data Science Settings from the R Tools menu:

IMPORTANT NOTE: you should save your current settings if you want to revert back to them using this command: Tools -> Import and Export Settings.

After running this command, you’ll have a Visual Studio layout that resembles this:

Where is RTVS installed?

R Tools for Visual Studio installs in this folder:

%ProgramFiles(x86)%\Microsoft Visual Studio <VS version>\Common7\IDE\Extensions\Microsoft\R Tools for Visual Studio

Try the samples

Once you’ve installed RTVS, try some of the samples from Github:

Samples documentation