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This function knows how to look in multiple CRAN-like package repositories, and in their archive directories, in order to find specific versions of the requested package.


  version = NULL,
  dependencies = NA,
  upgrade = c("default", "ask", "always", "never"),
  force = FALSE,
  quiet = FALSE,
  build = FALSE,
  build_opts = c("--no-resave-data", "--no-manual", "--no-build-vignettes"),
  build_manual = FALSE,
  build_vignettes = FALSE,
  repos = getOption("repos"),
  type = "source",



Name of the package to install.


Version of the package to install. Can either be a string giving the exact version required, or a specification in the same format as the parenthesized expressions used in package dependencies. One of the following formats:

  • An exact version required, as a string, e.g. "0.1.13"

  • A comparison operator and a version, e.g. ">= 0.1.12"

  • Several criteria to satisfy, as a comma-separated string, e.g. ">= 1.12.0, < 1.14"

  • Several criteria to satisfy, as elements of a character vector, e.g. c(">= 1.12.0", "< 1.14")


logical indicating whether to also install uninstalled packages which these packages depend on/link to/import/suggest (and so on recursively). Not used if repos = NULL. Can also be a character vector, a subset of c("Depends", "Imports", "LinkingTo", "Suggests", "Enhances").

Only supported if lib is of length one (or missing), so it is unambiguous where to install the dependent packages. If this is not the case it is ignored, with a warning.

The default, NA, means c("Depends", "Imports", "LinkingTo").

TRUE means to use c("Depends", "Imports", "LinkingTo", "Suggests") for pkgs and c("Depends", "Imports", "LinkingTo") for added dependencies: this installs all the packages needed to run pkgs, their examples, tests and vignettes (if the package author specified them correctly).

In all of these, "LinkingTo" is omitted for binary packages.


Should package dependencies be upgraded? One of "default", "ask", "always", or "never". "default" respects the value of the R_REMOTES_UPGRADE environment variable if set, and falls back to "ask" if unset. "ask" prompts the user for which out of date packages to upgrade. For non-interactive sessions "ask" is equivalent to "always". TRUE and FALSE are also accepted and correspond to "always" and "never" respectively.


Force installation, even if the remote state has not changed since the previous install.


logical: if true, reduce the amount of output. This is not passed to available.packages() in case that is called, on purpose.


If TRUE build the package before installing.


Options to pass to R CMD build, only used when build is TRUE.


If FALSE, don't build PDF manual ('--no-manual').


If FALSE, don't build package vignettes ('--no-build-vignettes').


character vector, the base URL(s) of the repositories to use, e.g., the URL of a CRAN mirror such as "". For more details on supported URL schemes see url.

Can be NULL to install from local files, directories or URLs: this will be inferred by extension from pkgs if of length one.


character, indicating the type of package to download and install. Will be "source" except on Windows and some macOS builds: see the section on ‘Binary packages’ for those.


Other arguments passed on to utils::install.packages().


The repositories are searched in the order specified by the repos argument. This enables teams to maintain multiple in-house repositories with different policies - for instance, one repo for development snapshots and one for official releases. A common setup would be to first search the official release repo, then the dev snapshot repo, then a public CRAN mirror.

Older versions of packages on CRAN are usually only available in source form. If your requested package contains compiled code, you will need to have an R development environment installed. You can check if you do by running devtools::has_devel (you need the devtools package for this).


if (FALSE) {
install_version("devtools", "1.11.0")
install_version("devtools", ">= 1.12.0, < 1.14")

## Specify search order (e.g. in ~/.Rprofile)
options(repos = c(
  prod = "",
  dev = "",
  CRAN = ""
install_version("mypackage", "1.15") # finds in 'prod'
install_version("mypackage", "1.16-39487") # finds in 'dev'