I spent last week working in train cars, coffee shops, and libraries. My to-do list was mostly data analysis, so I was a little worried about shrinking my workstation workflow to just my 13” laptop. The reduced screen real-estate and lack of a mouse, motivated me to experiment a lot with RStudio’s keyboard shortcuts. These are the six that I found myself using the most.
Control + Shift + 6
My favorite shortcut of the bunch
By far the biggest pane of working on a small screen for me is plotting. Trying to inspect even midly complex plots on 1⁄4 of of 13” is a bad time. And if you use any
plot() based graphics, you will be seeing the “figure margins too large” error message a lot.
Repeating this shorcut shrinks panels back to their prior sizes. Also worth mentioning, this does not move your cursor. So if you just ran into a fatal
plot margin error in the Console, you just zoom then u-arrow. + Return to rerun and dodge the fatal margin error.
Learning to navitage RStudio with less mouse helps even at a desk workstation, and I felt it become even more valuable when all I had was the trackpad. These are the “Big 3” re-focusers, that I use all the time.
Control + 2
Moving the active cursor to the Console is great for all things interactive.
Control + 1
Of course you’ll have to move back. Remembering the “one, two” pattern for was helpful.
Option + Shift + T
This one was harder for me to remember becasue it wasn’t in the Control + # pattern. But I use the
git CLI a lot, so I had to learn it.
Switch between Editor tabs
Control + Option + l/r arrows
This is very very useful for switching between R scripts or
Show all panels
Control + Shift + 0
I found this most useful after I’d hit the wrong Zoom shortcut by mistake, it was effectivly my IDE reset switch.
Now that I’m back to my normal workstation, I’m still using all of these shortcuts. It does require a lot of conscious effort at the begining to use the shortcuts and not bail out to the trackpad. But it’s totally worth it, just after the one week of trying I can feel my muscle memory is improving.
You can see all of RStudios available shortcuts for yourself with yet another keyboard shortcut Option + Shift + K.
The screen screen recordings in this post are made with KeyCastr which is also a great tool for teaching code. Thanks to Jeff Boichuk for sharing!