In RStudio, the documentation pane display not just the help file but also links to other help files (see link to aov below).

How to get the same in ESS R?

Rstudio doc

  • 4
    This feature isn't provided by ESS. In a help buffer typing h will prompt you, with completion, for a new help topic. If point is on aov when you do this, aov will be the default completion provided. Which isn't as nice as just clicking on the link, but it's the best thing available without writing your own function.
    – Tyler
    Apr 20, 2017 at 20:34
  • typing h is very helpful. The RStudio-style links also help with discoverability. In any case, good to know that there's currently no solution.
    – Heisenberg
    Apr 20, 2017 at 20:46

1 Answer 1


If reading the documentation in your browser instead of directly within Emacs works for you, you can use the html help files instead of the text files by configuring your .Rprofile:

Simply replace:

## set the default help type
options(help_type = "text")


## set the default help type
options(help_type = "html")

This is what your example help file will look like:

enter image description here

and it has active hyperlinks.

(Note that this does not require any internet connection since the html files come with R).

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