Project Profiles


Starting with renv 0.13.0, it is possible to activate and switch between different profiles associated with a project. A profile can be thought of as a different mode in which a project is used. For example:

At its heart, activating or using a particular profile implies using a different set of paths for the project library and lockfile. With this, it is possible to associate different packages, and different dependencies, with different workflows in a single project using renv.


By default, renv projects use the “default” profile, which implies that library and lockfile paths are set in the typical way. To activate a particular profile, use:

renv::activate(profile = "dev")

This creates a profile called "dev", and sets it as the default for the project, so that newly-launched R sessions will operate using the "dev" profile. After setting this and re-launching R, you should see that the default library and lockfile paths are resolved within the renv/profiles/dev folder from the project root.

Alternatively, if you want to activate a particular profile for an R session without setting it as the default for new R sessions, you can use:

Sys.setenv(RENV_PROFILE = "dev")

and renv will automatically use that profile as appropriate when computing library and lockfile paths. Similarly, from the command line, you might enforce the use of a particular profile in an renv project with:

export RENV_PROFILE=dev

With that set, renv would default to using the "dev" profile for any newly-launched R sessions within renv projects.

To activate the “default” profile used by a project, use:

renv::activate(profile = NULL)

Managing Profile-specific Dependencies

Profile-specific package dependencies can be declared within the project’s top-level DESCRIPTION file. For example, to declare a set of dependencies for a profile called “shiny”:

Config/renv/profiles/shiny/dependencies: shiny, tidyverse

The dependencies in this field can be specified in a format similar to that of the Depends and Imports fields of a regular DESCRIPTION file. These dependencies will be included in addition to the default set of dependencies normally discovered in the project. If you’d prefer that only the packages enumerated in this field are used, you can opt-in to using "explicit" snapshots, and leave the Imports, Depends and Suggests fields blank:


When set, only the dependencies listed in the project DESCRIPTION file will be used when the lockfile is generated. See ?renv::snapshot for more details.