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Access the Gmail RESTful API from R.


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CRAN status R-CMD-check Codecov test coverage

Exposing the Gmail API from R.


Install the released version of gmailr from CRAN:


Or install the development version from GitHub with:

# install.packages("pak")

Attach gmailr


Setup and auth

In order to use gmailr, you must provide your own OAuth client. This is documented in the article Set up an OAuth client. The article goes deeply into how to create an OAuth client and also how to configure it for gmailr’s use. If you already have an OAuth client or know how to create one, the help topics for ?gm_auth_configure and ?gm_default_oauth_client are more concise resources for just the client configuration piece.

Configuring an OAuth client is step 1 of 2 for getting ready to use gmailr. Step 2 is to complete the so-called “OAuth dance”, which is triggered automatically upon first need. You are taken to a web browser, where you must select or login as the Google user you want to use (authenticate yourself) and give your OAuth client permission to do Gmail stuff on your behalf (authorize). The OAuth dance does not (necessarily) need to be repeated in subsequent sessions. See ?gm_auth if these defaults aren’t appropriate for your use case and you’d like to take more control.

You can call gm_profile() to confirm that you are using the intended Google identity.

Compose and send an email

Create a new email with gm_mime() and build it up from parts, using helper functions like gm_to() and gm_subject().

test_email <-
  gm_mime() |>
  gm_subject("this is just a gmailr test") |>
  gm_text_body("Can you hear me now?")

When developing the message, you might want to use gm_create_draft(), if you’d like to view a draft and verify that it’s formatted as you expect. Then you can send the draft with gm_send_draft() or send the original MIME message with gm_send_message().

# Verify it looks correct, i.e. look at your Gmail drafts in the browser
d <- gm_create_draft(test_email)

# If all is good with your draft, then you can send the existing draft
#> Draft Id: 189033f7e08ead50 

# or the existing MIME message
#> Id: 189033f816495611

Read email

You can retrieve all email threads with gm_threads() or retrieve a specific thread with gm_thread(). You can then isolate a specific message and access its parts.

# view recent threads
my_threads <- gm_threads(num_results = 10)

# retrieve the latest thread by retrieving the first ID
latest_thread <- gm_thread(gm_id(my_threads)[[1]])

# messages in the thread will now be in a list
# retrieve parts of a specific message with the accessors
my_msg <- latest_thread$messages[[1]]

#> [1] "Wed, 28 Jun 2023 11:24:00 -0700"
#> [1] "this is just a gmailr test"
#> [[1]]
#> [1] "Can you hear me now?\r\n"

Where to learn more

More details are available in the Get started article and in gmailr’s other articles.


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