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Lesson 1 - Using R as a Calculator

What better way to start learning R than to use it as a calculator?

Table of Contents

Lesson Objectives

  • Learn about the mathematical operations R supports.

Math Operations

Math expressions in R work similarly to how math expressions work with other programs and languages.


3 + 3


[1] 6

R supports addition (+), subtraction (-), multiplication (*), division (/), exponents (^), modulus (%%), and integer division (%/%).

When there are multiple operations in an expression, R follows the typical order of operations listed below.

Operation Symbol
Parentheses ( )
Exponents ^
Modulus and Floor Division %%, %/%
Multiplication, Division *, /
Addition and Subtraction +, -


24 %% (4 * (1 + 5))


[1] 0

R also supports decimal numbers as well as complex numbers. Complex numbers are briefly mentioned in Lesson 3a.


12.3 ** 1.5


[1] 43.13777

Other Math Functions

R comes with some built-in math functions, requiring no extra setup. Getting the absolute value of a number, finding the square root, rounding numbers, and more.




[1] 4

A full list of built-in math functions can be found here:

Key Points / Summary

  • You can use R as a calculator.