usethis 1.4.0 Unreleased

File system

All usethis file system operations now use the fs package (#177). This should not change how usethis functions, but users may notice these features of fs-mediated paths:

  • Paths are “tidy”, meaning / is the path separator and there are never multiple or trailing /.
  • Paths are UTF-8 encoded.
  • A Windows user’s home directory is interpreted as C:\Users\username (typical of Unix-oriented tools, like Git and ssh; also matches Python), as opposed to C:\Users\username\Documents (R’s default on Windows). Read more in fs::path_expand().

Extending or wrapping usethis

These changes make it easier for others to extend usethis, i.e. to create workflow packages specific to their organization, or to use usethis in other packages.

  • proj_path() is newly exported. Use it to build paths within the active project. Like proj_get() and proj_set(), it is not aimed at end users, but rather for use in extension packages. End users should use rprojroot or its simpler companion, here, to programmatically detect a project and build paths within it (#415, #425).

  • edit_file(), write_over(), and write_union() are newly exported helpers. They are mostly for internal use, but can also be useful in packages that extend or customize usethis (#344, #366, #389).

  • use_template() no longer errors when a user chooses not to overwrite an existing file and simply exits with confirmation that the file is unchanged (#348, #350, @boshek).

  • getOption("usethis.quiet") is consulted when printing user-facing messages. Set this option to TRUE to suppress output, e.g., to use usethis functions quietly in another package. For example, use withr::local_options(list(usethis.quiet = TRUE)) in the calling function (#416, #424).

New functions

  • proj_sitrep() reports current working directory, the active usethis project, and the active RStudio Project. Call this function if things seem weird and you’re not sure what’s wrong or how to fix it. Designed for interactive use and debugging, not for programmatic use (#426).

  • use_tibble() does minimum setup necessary for a package that returns or exports a tibble. For example, this guarantees a tibble will print as a tibble (#324 @martinjhnhadley).

  • use_logo() resizes and adds a logo to a package (#358, @jimhester).

  • use_spell_check() adds a whitelist of words and a unit test to spell check package documentation during R CMD check (#285 @jeroen).

Other small changes and bug fixes

  • usethis has a new logo! (#429)

  • use_course() reports progress during download (#276, #380).

  • use_git() only makes an initial commit of all files if user gives explicit consent (#378).

  • create_from_github(): the repo argument is renamed to repo_spec, since it takes input of the form “OWNER/REPO” (#376).

  • use_depsy_badge() is defunct. The Depsy project has officially concluded and is no longer being maintained (#354).

  • use_github() fails earlier, with a more informative message, in the absence of a GitHub personal access token (PAT). Also looks for the PAT more proactively in the usual environment variables (i.e., GITHUB_PAT, GITHUB_TOKEN) (#320, #340, @cderv).

  • The logic for setting DESCRIPTION fields in create_package() and use_description() got a Spring Cleaning. Fields directly specified by the user take precedence, then the named list in getOption("usethis.description") is consulted, and finally defaults built into usethis. use_description_defaults() is a new function that reveals fields found in options and built into usethis. Options specific to one DESCRIPTION field, e.g. devtools.desc.license, are no longer supported. Instead, use a single named list for all fields, preferably stored in an option named "usethis.description" (however,"devtools.desc" is still consulted for backwards compatibility). (#159, #233, #367)

Dependency changes

New Imports: fs, glue, utils

No longer in Imports: backports, httr, rematch2, rmarkdown (moved to Suggests), styler (moved to Suggests)

usethis 1.3.0 2018-02-24

  • usethis has a website: (#217). It includes an article with advice on system setup, for usethis and for R development more generally.

  • edit_*() functions now return the target path, invisibly (#255).

  • edit_git_ignore(scope = "user") prefers ~/.gitignore, but detects an existing ~/.gitignore_global, if it exists. If a new global gitignore file is created, it is created as ~/.gitignore and recorded in user’s git config as the core.excludesfile (#255).

  • create_from_github() gains several arguments and new functionality. The protocol argument lets user convey whether remote URLs should be ssh or https. In the case of “fork and clone”, the original repo is added as upstream remote. It is now possible – although rarely necessary – to directly specify the GitHub PAT, credentials (in git2r form), and GitHub host (#214, #214, #253).

  • use_github_labels() can create or update the colour of arbitrary GitHub issue labels, defaulting to a set of labels and colours used by the tidyverse packages, which are now exposed via tidy_labels(). That set now includes the labels “good first issue” and “help wanted” (#168, #249).

  • appveyor_info() no longer reverses the repo’s URL and image link. Corrects the markdown produced by use_appveyor_badge() (#240, @llrs).

  • use_cran_badge() uses an HTTPS URL for the CRAN badge image (#235, @jdblischak).

  • create_package() and create_project() return a normalized path, even if target directory does not pre-exist (#227, #228).

New functions

usethis 1.2.0 2018-01-19

New functions

Other changes

  • New projects that don’t exhibit other obvious criteria for being a “project” will include a sentinel, empty file named .here, so they can be recognized as a project.

  • Project launching and switching works on RStudio server (#115, #129).

  • use_template() is newly exported, so that other packages can provide templating functions using this framework (@ijlyttle #120).

  • use_readme_rmd() and use_readme_md() work, in a similar fashion, for projects that are and are not a package (#131, #135).

  • use_readme_rmd() once again creates a pre-commit git hook, to help keep README.Rmd and in sync (@PeteHaitch #41).

  • Substantial increase in unit test coverage.

usethis 1.1.0 2017-11-17

New helpers

Bug fixes and improvements

usethis 1.0.0 2017-10-22

This is a new package that extracts out many functions that previously lived in devtools, as well as providing more building blocks so you can create your own helpers. As well as the many new helpers listed below, there are three main improvements to the package:

  • More support for general R projects, other than packages.
  • A notion of an “active” project that all commands operate on.
  • Refined output.

usethis is gradually evolving towards supporting more general R “projects”, not just packages. This is still a work in progress, so please let me know if you use a function that you think should work with projects but doesn’t. You can also try out the new create_project() which creates a basic RStudio project.

The concept of the working directory and the “base path” have been refined. Rather than using an argument to specify the active project, all use_ functions now use a global active project setting, as returned by proj_get(). This is cached throughout a session, although it will be updated by create_package() and create_project(). You’ll now get an clear error if you attempt to use_something() outside of a project, and create_something() will warn if you’re trying to create inside an existing project.

The output from all usethis commands has been reviewed to be informative but not overwhelming. usethis takes advantage of colour (using crayon and RStudio 1.1) to help chunk the output and clearly differentiate what you need to do vs. what has been done for you.

New functions

New edit functions

A new class of functions make it easy to edit common config files:

  • edit_r_profile_user() opens .Rprofile
  • edit_r_environ_user() opens .Renviron
  • edit_r_makevars_user() opens .R/Makevars
  • edit_git_config_user() opens .gitconfig
  • edit_git_ignore_user() opens .gitignore
  • edit_rstudio_snippets(type) opens ~/R/snippets/{type}.snippets


  • use_coverage("codecov") now sets a default threshold of 1% to try and reduce false positives (#8).

  • use_description() now sets ByteCompile: true so you can benefit from the byte compiler (#29)

  • The license functions (use_mit_license(), use_apl2_license(), and use_gpl3_license()) save a copy of the standard license text in, which is then added to .Rbuildignore. This allows you to follow standard licensing best practices while adhering to CRANs requirements (#10).

  • use_package_doc() uses more modern roxygen2 template requires that less duplication.

  • use_test() will use the name of the currently open file in RStudio if you don’t supply an explicit name (#89).

  • use_readme_rmd() now puts images in man/figures/ and no longer adds to .Rbuildgnore. This ensures that the rendered will also work on CRAN (#16, #19). The first chunk now uses include = FALSE and is named setup (#19).

  • use_revdep() creates structure for use with revdepcheck package, the preferred way to run revdepchecks. (#33)

Building blocks

  • New use_badge() for adding any badge to a README. Now only prints a todo message if the badge does not already exist.

  • use_directory() is now exported (#27).

Bug fixes and minor improvements

  • Functions which require code to be copied now automatically put the code on the clipboard if it is available (#52).

  • create_package() no longer creates a dependency on the current version of


  • use_build_ignore() now strips trailing /

  • use_git() will restart RStudio if needed (and possible) (#42).

  • use_github() now has an organisation parameter so you can create repos in organisations (#4).

  • use_template() and use_test() now convert title to a slug that only contains lowercase letters, numbers, and -.

  • use_vignette() now adds *.html and *.R to your .gitgnore so you don’t accidentally add in compiled vignette products (#35).