Does Your Code Save When You Knit On R Studio

R Programming

When it comes to using RStudio and knitting your code, one of the questions that often comes up is whether your code is automatically saved when you knit. As a data scientist who regularly uses RStudio for my projects, I can provide some insights and personal experiences on this topic.

Let’s start by understanding what exactly happens when we knit our code in RStudio. Knitting is the process of turning your R Markdown document into a final output format such as HTML, PDF, or Word. It combines the R code chunks and Markdown text to generate a cohesive document that includes both the code and its output.

Now, does knitting your code in RStudio automatically save your work? The answer is both yes and no. Let me explain.

When you knit your code in RStudio, the resulting output file is indeed saved to your computer’s file system. This means that the final HTML, PDF, or Word document will be saved as a separate file with a specified name and location. It’s important to note that this is a separate file from the R Markdown document itself, which is typically saved as a .Rmd file.

However, the R Markdown document itself may not be automatically saved when you knit your code. This means that if you make any changes to the R Markdown document before knitting, those changes may not be saved unless you explicitly save the document before knitting. It’s always a good practice to save your work regularly to avoid any potential loss of code or text.

Personally, I’ve had a couple of instances where I forgot to save my R Markdown document before knitting and ended up losing some of my work. It can be frustrating, especially when you’ve spent a significant amount of time writing and tweaking your code.

To avoid such situations, I’ve developed a habit of saving my R Markdown document multiple times throughout my work session. This way, even if I forget to save before knitting, I can always rely on the most recent saved version of the document.

Another approach I find helpful is to enable the “Autosave” feature in RStudio. This feature automatically saves your R Markdown document at regular intervals, reducing the risk of losing your work. You can enable autosave by going to “Tools” -> “Global Options” -> “General” and checking the box next to “Auto Save”.

While the autosave feature and being diligent about saving your work can help minimize the chances of losing code, it’s always crucial to have a backup system in place. This could involve using version control tools like Git or regularly making copies of your R Markdown document in a separate location.


Knitting your code in RStudio can be a powerful way to generate organized and presentable documents. However, it’s important to remember that knitting alone does not automatically save your R Markdown document. It’s essential to save your work regularly and consider enabling the autosave feature in RStudio to minimize the risk of losing code or text. Additionally, having a backup system in place can provide an extra layer of protection for your work.