showHelp: Display HTML Help Pages for Packages in Browser

Description Usage Arguments Details Value Note Author(s) See Also

View source: R/supportFuns.r


Display the help pages for installed packages that match the supplied pattern in an HTML browser window.


showHelp(pattern="methods", ...)



string pattern to match to package names


allows user to specify two additional arguments:
remote - character string giving a valid URL for the R_HOME directory on a remote location;
update - logical: if TRUE, attempt to update the package index to reflect the currently available packages. (Not attempted if remote is non-NULL.)


The specified pattern is matched to R-packages installed on the user's system. The code uses the utils function browseURL to display the HTML Help Pages using a browser that the system associates with html extensions. (See help for browseURL for other operating systems.


A list is invisibly returned, comprising:


all packages installed on user's system


selected packages based on specified pattern


path and file name of HTML Help Page

Help pages are displayed in a separate browser window.


The connection time for browsers (at least in Windows OS) is slow. If the HTML browser program is not already running, multiple matching pages will most likely not be displayed. However, subsequent calls to showHelp should show all matches.

This function will now only work in R (>=3.2.0) or from SVN revision >= 67548. The CRAN gurus now disallow direct calls to tools:::httpdPort.


Rowan Haigh, Pacific Biological Station, Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Nanaimo BC

See Also

viewCode, showPacks

PBSmodelling documentation built on Dec. 27, 2017, 5:03 p.m.