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R Markdown and Interactive Dashboards

rstudio::conf 2020

by Carl Howe and Yihui Xie

🗓️ January 27 and 28, 2020
09:00 - 17:00
🏨 Continental Ballroom Room 7-9


This 2-day introductory workshop will teach students the fundamentals how to create R Markdown scripts for reports and interactive applications. Attendees will learn how to:

  • Design R Markdown for reproducibility and reuse.
  • Craft their own R Markdown reports.
  • Parameterize R Markdown content for personalized report generation
  • Publish R Markdown content to other servers such as RStudio Connect and RPubs.
  • Add flexdashboard interactive elements and pages to R Markdown documents
  • Combine htmlwidgets with static content to create dynamic dashboards
  • How to add Shiny interactivity to your dashboard.
  • Structure dashboards to visualize data from real-time Web sources
  • Design interactive applications for best performance

In the course of this 2-day workshop, students will gain experience constructing several reports and dashboards from data sets provided to the class. We'll also touch on what students would need to deploy such applications within their own organizations. Attendees will also participate in a session with Yihui Xie, the creator and co-author of R Markdown, to learn some useful R Markdown tricks and to get answers to their thorniest R Markdown questions.

Learning objectives

Attendees will learn:

  1. The many capabilities of R Markdown, and how to use it as an authoring tool.
  2. How to parameterize and publish data science reports and papers from R Markdown.
  3. How to make their publications come alive with interactive dashboards using htmlwidgets and Shiny.

Is this course for me?

This class is appropriate for attendees who want to:

  1. Create reproducible data analyses and reports that can be shared with a large audience.
  2. Craft interactive dashboards for others to understand their data and analyses.
  3. Build stand-alone Web applications that allow users to visually explore data and find insights of their own.

While no experience with R is required for our work with R Markdown, attendees will need knowledge of R and some experience with the tidyverse to build Shiny Web applications.


You will need accounts on 4 cloud services to do all the exercises in this course:

  • This service provides real-time data that we use in our first dashboard. Please create a new account at [](] so that your dashboard won't fail due to the entire class trying to share one account. The service only requires an email address and name to register.
  • If you don't already have one, please create an account for yourself so that you can do the exercises associated with this course. This will only require an email address, and no personal information will be recorded.
  • If you don't already have one, please create an account so that you can publish your RMarkdown documents. Again, no personal information other than your email addrss will be recorded.
  • If you don't already have one, please create a account so that you can publish your Shiny dashboards.

Source materials

All the materials for this course, including Keynote slide sources, are contained in a github repo at

We intend this course to be taught using, a cloud-based implementation of the RStudio development environment. In this environment, students receive a link to a workspace that contains the github materials referenced above, but split up into multiple projects. We recommend that any educator who wishes to use our materials clone the github repository above and then pull the repository contents into projects on using the New project from github repository option.


Day 1

Time Activity
09:00 - 10:30 R Markdown Basics
10:30 - 11:00 Coffee break
11:00 - 12:30 Publishing Outputs
12:00 - 13:30 Lunch break
13:30 - 15:00 Adding Interactivity
15:00 - 15:30 Coffee break
15:30 - 17:00 Web-based Dashboards

Day 2

Time Activity
09:00 - 10:30 Shiny Dashboards
10:30 - 11:00 Coffee break
11:00 - 12:30 Reactivity
12:30 - 13:30 Lunch break
13:30 - 15:00 Yihui Xie Master Class: R Markdown Recipes
15:00 - 15:30 Coffee break
15:30 - 17:00 Yihui Xie Answers Your Questions


Instructors: Carl Howe, Yihui Xie

TAs: Hadrien Dykiel, Melanie Mayer, Jiena McLellan, Adi Sarid

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.


The R Markdown and Interactive Dashboards Workshp at rstudio::conf 2020







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