Installing R package from the source

By Haktan Suren, PhD
Dec 6th, 2015

First of all, I highly recommend checking my other post if you are getting package ‘xxx’ is not available (for R version x.y.z)” warning.

You are still with me? OK, let’s continue.

First of all, you need to install the package. Find your package you want to install on cran-r website.

Usually, you can find the tar balled source file on package’s page (highlighted on the image below).


Simply right click and copy the link address. And do this in your shell.


Once it is downloaded, you need to untar with the following command.

tar -zxvf your-package.tar.gz

This will unpack the content of the tar ball, and place it in the directory you are in.

If it is a properly packed tar, you’ll find your R functions in package-name/R folder.

Now you can simply source the content of the R folder, I have a code to read and source the content of R recursively. I remember I found this code online very long time ago. So credit goes to “Anonymous”

run R on your shell, or open R studio. And copy/paste the code below.

sourceDir <- function(path, trace = TRUE, ...) {
    for (nm in list.files(path, pattern = "\\.[RrSsQq]$")) {
       if(trace) cat(nm,":")           
       source(file.path(path, nm), ...)
       if(trace) cat("\n")

And then,


This will automatically read the content of R folders and source the individual files recursively for you.

A word of caution, If you downloaded a package that requires compiling first (e.g. written in C++), those steps might not be able to work. I will try to address this issue later on.

Feel free to comment your experience or problem below. I would love to read and answer them all.

About the Author

Haktan Suren, PhD
- Webguru, Programmer, Web developer, and Father :)

23 Responses to “Installing R package from the source”

  1. Pilar says:

    A-MAZING. I was about to give up

    Thank you!

  2. Deepika Kumawat says:

    Thank you sir. But when I run the command for my package in R
    “tar -zxvf your-package.tar.gz”
    This shows the following error
    Error: unexpected symbol in “tar -zxvf ggplot2_2.2.1.tar.gz”
    Could you please reply that I can I correct it.

  3. Annalise D Souza says:

    Thank you for the post. Any ideas for when the package is out of date, and hence not available on CRAN R?

  4. Olong Johnson says:

    What am I doing wrong? I am trying to install prophet but it doesnt seem to be working. This is how I typed in the code, is there an error in it?

    > ‘’
    [1] “”
    > ‘tar -zxvf your-package.tar.gz
    + ‘
    [1] “tar -zxvf your-package.tar.gz\n”
    > sourceDir
    > sourceDir(‘prophet’)
    > library(prophet)
    Error in library(prophet) : there is no package called ‘prophet’

  5. Colin says:

    Hi, thank you for this and previous posts.. they have been helpful to me and my colleges. I followed your instructions from the “INSTALLING R PACKAGE: FIXING PACKAGE ‘XXX’ IS NOT AVAILABLE (FOR R VERSION X.Y.Z)” WARNING?” post and ended up here because I was still having an issue. I am not finding the ‘libcurl4-openssl-dev’ for R 3.5.2 on the package list at CRAN. Please let me know if you find a way around this for the most recent R:

    > install.packages(“libcurl4-openssl-dev”,repos=’’)
    Installing package into ‘/home/realseq/R/x86_64-pc-linux-gnu-library/3.5’
    (as ‘lib’ is unspecified)
    Warning in install.packages :
    package ‘libcurl4-openssl-dev’ is not available (for R version 3.5.2)

  6. Akhzar Nazir says:

    package ‘RTextTools’ is not available (for R version 3.5.3)

  7. Wbarker says:

    Having same trouble with quantstrat in R version 3.6.0: Warning in install.packages :
    package ‘quantstrat’ is not available (for R version 3.6.0). Tried all of the above. Any new workarounds?

  8. Fei says:

    > install.packages(“Seurat”)
    Warning in install.packages :
    package ‘Seurat’ is not available (for R version 3.6.2)
    Warning in install.packages :
    unable to access index for repository
    cannot open URL ‘’

    > install.packages(“Seurat”, repos = ‘’)
    trying URL ‘’
    Content type ‘application/octet-stream’ length 3202077 bytes (3.1 MB)
    downloaded 3.1 MB

    The downloaded binary packages are in

    Anyone can help me? many thanks

  9. Wonde says:

    I am trying to MCMCglmm package of R. However, I have faced technical error to ordering the pedigree. So far, even though both MasterBayes and pedantics are removed from CRAN, I tried to install the latest archive of both packages but both of them were not integrated to my R v.3.6.1. Software.

    Could you please let me know how to install it.

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