How To Change Line Of Main In R

R Programming

Changing the line of the main in R can be a useful technique when working with scripts and wanting to run a specific segment of code. In my experience, I’ve found this to be particularly handy when troubleshooting or testing different parts of a larger script. Let’s dive into the process of changing the line of the main in R.

Understanding the Main Script in R

In R, the term “main script” typically refers to the entire R script that is being executed. When the script is run, by default, the entire file is executed from start to finish. However, there are times when we might want to change this default behavior and execute only a specific section of the script.

Using the Source() Function

One way to change the line of the main in R is by using the source() function. This function allows us to specify a particular line or set of lines to be treated as the “main” part of the script.


source("path_to_your_script.R", local = TRUE, echo = TRUE, max.deparse.length = 150, encoding = "unknown")

In this example, path_to_your_script.R is the file path to your R script. By setting the local parameter to TRUE, you can ensure that any functions or variables created during the execution are confined to the environment of the source() call. The echo parameter, when set to TRUE, will show each expression as it is evaluated. Additionally, there are other parameters like max.deparse.length and encoding that can be customized based on your specific needs.

Running a Specific Line

Another approach to changing the line of the main in R is to utilize the debug() function in combination with browser(). This allows us to initiate debugging at a specific line in the script, effectively making it the starting point of the execution.


your_function(arg1, arg2)

In this example, debug() sets a breakpoint at the beginning of your_function, and your_function(arg1, arg2) is the line where we want the execution to begin. Once the debug() is set, running the function will start the execution at that line and allow for step-by-step inspection.


Changing the line of the main in R can be a valuable technique for controlling the execution of scripts and focusing on specific parts of the code. Whether using the source() function or the debug() and browser() combination, having the flexibility to alter the main line of execution can greatly aid in the development and debugging process.