Discover packages used within the current project, and then initialize a project-local private R library with those packages. The currently-installed versions of any packages in use (as detected within the default R libraries) are then installed to the project's private library.

  project = NULL,
  settings = NULL,
  bare = FALSE,
  force = FALSE,
  restart = interactive()



The project directory. The R working directory will be changed to match the requested project directory.


Unused arguments, reserved for future expansion. If any arguments are matched to ..., renv will signal an error.


A list of settings to be used with the newly-initialized project.


Boolean; initialize the project without attempting to discover and install R package dependencies?


Boolean; force initialization? By default, renv will refuse to initialize the home directory as a project, to defend against accidental mis-usages of init().


Boolean; attempt to restart the R session after initializing the project? A session restart will be attempted if the "restart" R option is set by the frontend embedding R.


The project directory, invisibly. Note that this function is normally called for its side effects.


The primary steps taken when initializing a new project are:

  1. R package dependencies are discovered within the R files used within the project with dependencies();

  2. Discovered packages are copied into the renv global package cache, so these packages can be re-used across future projects as necessary;

  3. Any missing R package dependencies discovered are then installed into the project's private library;

  4. A lockfile capturing the state of the project's library is created with snapshot();

  5. The project is activated with activate().

This mimics the workflow provided by packrat::init(), but with a few differences -- in particular, renv does not attempt to download and store package sources, and renv will re-use packages that have already been installed whenever possible.

If renv sees that the associated project has already been initialized and has a lockfile, then it will attempt to infer the appropriate action to take based on the presence of a private library. If no library is available, renv will restore the private library from the lockfile; if one is available, renv will ask if you want to perform a 'standard' init, restore from the lockfile, or activate the project without taking any further action.


renv will write or amend the following files in the project:

  • .Rprofile: An auto-loader will be installed, so that new R sessions launched within the project are automatically loaded.

  • renv/activate.R: This script is run by the previously-mentioned .Rprofile to load the project.

  • renv/.gitignore: This is used to instruct Git to ignore the project's private library, as it should normally not be committed to a version control repository.

  • .Rbuildignore: to ensure that the renv directory is ignored during package development; e.g. when attempting to build or install a package using renv.


if (FALSE) { # disable automatic snapshots auto.snapshot <- getOption("") options( = FALSE) # initialize a new project (with an empty R library) renv::init(bare = TRUE) # install digest 0.6.19 renv::install("digest@0.6.19") # save library state to lockfile renv::snapshot() # remove digest from library renv::remove("digest") # check library status renv::status() # restore lockfile, thereby reinstalling digest 0.6.19 renv::restore() # restore automatic snapshots options( = auto.snapshot) }