Tools of the trade

This page is a software portal for links to resources that you will find useful for your studies in Statistics. Each section describes briefly:

  • How the software is configured on Department computers.
  • Where to download and install the software on your own computer. There will usually be different information for Windows, Mac and Linux users.
  • Where to go for more help.

Statistical software

In the Department

The R software environment is extensively used both for teaching and research in the Department. The current version which was released in June 2012 is 2.15.1. It is installed on all MSc Lab computers. The Lab computers run a dual 32/64bit version; Windows desktops also run this version. Linux desktops run the 64bit version as do all servers.

Installing it yourself


Click here to download the software, then double-click the downloaded file to install R.


To install the latest version go to the CRAN mirror and follow the instructions. You also need to install and if you want to install packages from sources the appropriate Fortran compiler from


Use your distro's latest version or compile from sources.

For all operating systems to get the current version go to the R website and click on the CRAN link.

Where to get more help

  • The R website is  a good place to start. Look at the FAQs (frequently asked questions) and the Manuals. There is also an R-help mailing list where subscribers questions are answered.
  • Our local Working with R pages describe how to manage and install packages for yourself.

Document preparation

We recommend that you use LaTeX for document preparation. LaTeX is ideal for producing well-structured documents particularly those containing scientific formulae, mathematical proofs or computer programs, without getting bogged down in design.

To use LaTeX you need both a LaTeX engine such as MiKTeX or TeXLive and an integrated editor such as TeXworks (Windows, Mac and Linux), TeXnicCenter (Windows), Kile (Linux) or Aquamacs (Mac).

In the Department

We are using MiKTeX 2.9 on Windows computers and TeXLive 2012 on Linux. TeXworks is the editor of choice for Windows systems, kile and texmaker for Linux.


The current version is MiKTeX 2.9 which can be downloaded from the MiKTeX website. Alternatively we have loan copies of an installation CD available from Room 109 in 2 South Parks Road.


Download and install MacTex 2012 from


Most Linux distributions will come with a recent version of TeXLive but if you need the very latest version then it can be downloaded from the TeXLive site.


If you have your own laptop or desktop computer then we recommend strongly that you back up your data regularly. The University's HFS backup service is ideal for this.

The Statistics Department also provides a web-based version control system which you may find useful for managing larger text documents such as dissertations. See our Subversion FAQ for more details.

Finally, you may also like to consider using services such as Dropbox.

This page arose from an idea from the Academy for PhD training based at Warwick University. See for more information.