Manage data and state: Load data into Radiant, Save data to disk, Remove a dataset from memory, or Save/Load the state of the app


When you first start Radiant a dataset (diamonds) with information on diamond prices is shown.

It is good practice to add a description of the data and variables to each file you use. For the files that are bundled with Radiant you will see a brief overview of the variables etc. below a table of the first 10 rows of the data. To add a description for your own data click the Add/edit data description check-box. A text-input box will open below the table where you can add text in markdown format. The description provided for the diamonds data included with Radiant should serve as a good example. After adding or editing a description click the Update description button.

To rename a dataset loaded in Radiant click the Rename data check box, enter a new name, and click the Rename button

Load data

The best way to load and save data for use in Radiant (and R) is to use the R-data format (rda or rds). These are binary files that can be stored compactly and read into R quickly. Select rda (or rds) from the Load data of type dropdown and click Choose Files to locate the file(s) you want to load on your computer.

You can get data from a spreadsheet (e.g., Excel or Google sheets) into Radiant in two ways. First, you can save data from the spreadsheet in csv format and then, in Radiant, choose csv from the Load data of type dropdown. Most likely you will have a header row in the csv file with variable names. If the data are not comma separated you can choose semicolon or tab separated. To load a csv file click ‘Choose files’ and locate the file on your computer.

Note: For Windows users with data that contain multibyte characters please make sure your data are in ANSI format so R(adiant) can load the characters correctly.

Alternatively, you can select and copy the data in the spreadsheet using CTRL-C (or CMD-C on mac), go to Radiant, choose clipboard from the Load data of type dropdown, and click the Paste button. This is a short-cut that can be convenient for smaller datasets that are cleanly formatted.

If the data is available in R’s global workspace (e.g., you opened a data set in Rstudio and then started Radiant from the addins menu) you can move (or copy) it to Radiant by selecting from global workspace. Select the data.frame(s) you want to use and click the Load button.

To access all data files bundled with Radiant choose examples from the Load data of type dropdown and then click Load button. These files are used to illustrate the various data and analysis tools accessible in Radiant. For example, the avengers and publishers data are used to illustrate how to combine data in R(adiant) (i.e., Data > Combine).

If csv data is available online choose csv (url) from the dropdown, paste the url into the text input shown, and press Load. If an rda file is available online choose rda (url) from the dropdown, paste the url into the text input, and press Load.

Save data

As mentioned above, the most convenient way to get data in and out of Radiant is to use the R-data format (rda or rds). Choose rda (or rds) from the Save data to type dropdown and click the Save button to save the selected dataset to file.

Again, it is good practice to add a description of the data and variables to each file you use. To add a description for your own data click the ‘Add/edit data description’ check-box, add text to the text-input window shown in markdown format, and then click the Update description button. When you save the data as an rda (or rds) file the description you created (or edited) will automatically be added to the file as an attribute.

Getting data from Radiant into a spreadsheet can be achieved in two ways. First, you can save data in csv format and load the file into the spreadsheet (i.e., choose csv from the Save data to type dropdown and click the Save button). Alternatively, you can copy the data from Radiant into the clipboard by choosing clipboard from the dropdown and clicking the Copy button, open the spreadsheet, and paste the data from Radiant using CTRL-V (or CMD-V on mac).

To move or copy data from Radiant into R’s global workspace select to global workspace from the Save data to type dropdown and click the Save button.

Save and load state

You can save and load the state of the Radiant app just as you would a data file. The state file (extension rda) will contain (1) the data loaded in Radiant, (2) settings for the analyses you were working on, (3) and any reports or code from the R-menu. Save the state-file to your hard-disk and, when you are ready to continue, simply load it by selecting state from the Load data of type dropdown and clicking the Choose file button. For convenience you can also save the state of the app by clicking the icon in the navbar and then on Save state.

It is convenient to work with state files if you want complete your work at another time, perhaps on another computer, or to review any assignments you completed using Radiant. You can also share the file with others that would like to replicate your analyses. As an example, download and then load the state-file radiant-state.rda as described above. You will navigate automatically to the Data > Visualize tab and will see a plot. See also the Data > View tab for some additional settings loaded from the state-file. There is also a report in R > Report created using the Radiant interface. The html file radiant-state.html contains the output created by clicking the Knit report button.

A related feature in Radiant is that state is maintained if you accidentally navigate to another page, close (and reopen) the browser, and/or hit refresh. Use Refresh in the menu in the navbar to return to a clean/new state.

Loading and saving state also works with Rstudio. If you start Radiant from Rstudio and use and then click Stop, r_data and r_state will be put into Rstudio’s global workspace. If you start radiant again from the addins menu it will use these lists to restore state. This can be convenient if you want to make changes to a dataset in Rstudio and load it back into Radiant quickly. Also, if you load a state-file directly into Rstudio it will be used when you start Radiant.

Remove data from memory

If data are loaded in memory that you no longer need in the current session check the Remove data from memory box. Then select the data to remove and click the Remove data button. One datafile will always remain open.

Using commands to load and save data

The loadr command can be used in R > Report or R > Code to load data from a file directly into the active Radiant session and add it to the Datasets dropdown. The saver command can be used to exact data from Radiant and save it to disk. Data can be loaded or saved as rda or rds format depending on the file extension chosen. These commands can also be used without the Radiant browser interface. See ?loadr and ?saver for details.

© Vincent Nijs (2016) Creative Commons License