ESS and XEmacs for Windows Users of R

An R and S-PLUS Companion to Applied Regression

John Fox

This page and the associated materials are no longer actively maintained: I will post contributed bug fixes, however.

Orienting Information

Emacs is a powerful and widely used programmer's editor. One of the principal attractions of Emacs is its programmability: Emacs can be adapted to provide customized support for programming languages, including such features as delimiter (e.g., parenthesis) matching, syntax highlighting, debugging, and version control. The ESS ("Emacs Speaks Statistics") package provides such customization for several common statistical computing packages and programming environments, including the S family of languages (R and various versions of S-PLUS), SAS, Stata, and Lisp-Stat. The material here introduces the use of ESS with R running under Microsoft Windows.

XEmacs is one of two commonly used, free implementations of the Emacs editor (the other is GNU Emacs, a product of the Free Software Foundation). There is an excellent native Windows version of XEmacs that is simple to install. The purpose of this document is to provide:

Version Information

These instructions have been tested with version 21.4.19 of XEmacs, version 5.2.11 of ESS, and version 2.2.1 of R.


I have prepared a document describing how to download, install, configure and use ESS+Emacs (dated 12 January 2006). This document is in the form of a PDF (Portable Document Format) file (210 KB), which can be downloaded and read with a PDF viewer, such as the Adobe Reader viewer. Please read this document before proceeding.

Configuration File

init.el (dated 27 May 2008)

XEmacs and ESS Links



Last modified:  27 May 2008 by John Fox <jfox AT >
put *scratch* buffer in R mode