# The essential functions of R cheatsheet

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Something that I quickly came to learn as an ecologist using R is that out of the hundreds (possibly thousands?) of functions available in R, only a handful were those that I used frequently throughout my code.

I’m also learning to speak Spanish right now, and I’ve found that for learning a new language it is a good idea to start by focusing on the most common words, since only those few words account for a significant proportion of everything you’ll ever need to say.

Anyone familiar with Tim Ferriss probably knows about the 80-20 rule (Pareto’s principle) that he’s made popular throughout his books and podcasts. The rule simply states that 80% of results come from 20% of the work.

To apply that to learning a language, learning only a small proportion of words (20%) will allow you to say a large proportion (80%) what you’d ever need to say. Now, these percentages might not be exactly the same for every application, but hopefully you get the point.

Now back to R! So, that’s what I did with all the functions I use in R. I found the “20%” of functions that I ever used in ecology that gave me the most results. In other words, if you learn these functions (51 functions to be exact), you will be well on your way to do almost anything you need to do with your data. And if there’s something missing, that will be easy to learn when you need it.

So here is my version 1.0 of a cheat sheet on the essential functions of R (for ecology). Please enjoy and share! Notice a typo? Let me know in the comments below.

**Click here to download the Essentials of R cheatsheet v1.0**

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