Favorite Computing Tools

  • R: Statistical computing and graphics
  • R: Data manipulation and munging
  • LaTeX: Composition and typesetting of complex documents where fine control is needed
  • Rmarkdown with knitr and Rstudio for reproducible statistical reports, handouts, presentations, using this template
  • Linux: Operating system
  • Xubuntu: Version of Linux
  • Xfce: Window manager for Xubuntu
  • Email: gmail interfacing to Vanderbilt email using pop
    • To avoid storing attachments to outgoing email (and filling up my email storage space quota) I have a bash shell command cattach that copies the file to send to data.vanderbilt.edu and puts the full URL to the file in the system clipboard; I then type ctrl-v to paste this URL into the body of the email
    • Be sure to use the great gmail keyboard shortcuts and label management tools
    • Second choice: Thunderbird with add-ons nostalgy, Conversations, AttachmentExtractor
  • R code editor: RStudio
  • LaTeX editor: RStudio, TexStudio, Geany, Atom
  • knitr + LaTeX + html + R editor: RStudio
  • http://code.visualstudio.com and Geany: General purpose editors/IDEs
  • RSS news reader: feeder (well worth the small yearly cost to coordinate which articles I've seen across all my devices)
  • Personal web server and blog platform: Hugo + R blogdown + Github + netlify + Google Domains
  • Bibliographic database: zotero


  • Geany is a nice editor for LaTeX and R code except for some key bindings
  • Geany gives a nice \section \subsection view of LaTeX documents but separates sections into a separate navigation group than subsections
  • TexStudio displays the correct hierarchical structure of LaTeX sections/subsections
  • Emacs handles everything but I have seen some instability when combining all of them (e.g., AucTeX + ESS + Noweb)
  • Thunderbird with Conversations gives Thunderbird a whole new look, with excellent management of conversations, background sending of mail so as to not hold you up, and elegant addressee lookup. But I still use gmail

Editing Efficiency

Here are some needs for efficient editing without using the mouse. There are editors such as the ones above that handle some of these needs but there is no perfect editor that handles all of them simultaneously. In parentheses are the Emacs keys to perform the indicated function. In brackets are names of programs that handle the function elegantly.
  • Delete the current line: TexStudio ^k, RStudio ^d, geany ^k
  • Delete text to the right of the cursor in the current line (^k): geany ^Shift Delete, RStudio ^k
  • Insert text in the clipboard (^y); RStudio ^y
  • Move the cursor to the beginning of the current line (^a)
  • Move the cursor to the end of the current line (^e)
  • Fold logical units (e.g., functions in R, \section in LaTeX) [RStudio, TexStudio, Geany]
  • Navigation tree to jump to logical units [TexStudio, Geany]

Some useful shortcuts to define
  • TexStudio: Meta+z (Window key + z) = toggle full-screen mode under View
Topic revision: r10 - 11 Nov 2018, FrankHarrell

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