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iheiddown is a package that provides templates for writing documents in styles consistent with the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies in Geneva/ Institut de Hautes Etudes Internationales et du Developpement (IHEID) in (R) markdown.

The main use case for iheiddown is for writing a Masters or PhD Dissertation at IHEID, as it offers a user-friendly, simple, and straightforward way to write a well-formatted and consistent dissertation that weaves together argument, evidence, and interpretation. However, it also integrates templates for creating IHEID themed presentations powered by {xaringan} as well as a template for IHEID course syllabi.

Write your dissertation

The package is built upon the IHEID LaTeX dissertation template, which offers versus common word processors:

  • less prone to corruption or crashing
  • more internal consistency
  • ensured consistency with the IHEID dissertation and other guidelines, e.g. dedication, abstract, abbreviations, tables of contents, figures, and tables
  • automatic figure and table referencing
  • automatic compilation of your references and bibliography (under different styles)
  • compilation chapter-by-chapter (for sending to your supervisor) or whole dissertation (for submission)
  • cross-referencing
  • smaller files
  • automatic versioning
  • and much more!

Though you may have never had problems using Word in the past, the size and structure of most theses tax Word’s capabilities.

However, iheiddown helps you avoid the need to (learn how to) write in LaTeX. LaTeX can be daunting for first time users, and many users often feel it would only pay off if they were writing very complex dissertations. iheiddown allows students to write their dissertations in RMarkdown. Markdown is a simple and easy-to-use way to ‘markup’ parts of plain text as headings, bold or italics (and much more) in ways that remain very readable and thus editable as you write. iheiddown, R, and LaTeX do the work to turn this into a beautiful dissertation. You write in minimally marked-up plain text and you get a correctly-formatted dissertation out at the end.

But wait, there’s more! Because iheiddown is an R package, it especially shines for those who are analysing data. R is a free statistical programme and language that has a huge range of packages available for most current methods of analysis and visualisation. RStudio is a typical frontend that makes working in R and especially with iheiddown easy. So though iheiddown is especially attractive to those writing dissertations with many tables and figures, the user-friendly nature and pretty output should make it of great benefit to nearly anyone writing a thesis project.

You can see an example of the kind of dissertation output on the package website.

But not only !

Not quite done yet, there is even more! Take a look at the following table for all available templates:

Templates Format Status
Thesis PDF 👍
Syllabus PDF 👍
{xaringan} presentations HTML (can be printed to PDF) 👍
Problem set PDF 🌟 🆕 🌟
Your idea Open a PR!



You will first need to install on your system2:

Stable version

The easiest way to install the latest stable version of iheiddown is via CRAN. Simply open the R console and enter:


You can then begin to use iheiddown by loading the package:


That’s it! iheiddown is now installed and ready to go.

Development version

To get access to the latest features, you may want to install the latest development version of the package.

An easy way of getting access to this version is to install the latest main version of iheiddown from Github. To do that, please install the remotes package from CRAN and then enter the following commands into the console:

  • For latest stable version: remotes::install_github("jhollway/iheiddown")
  • For latest development version: remotes::install_github("jhollway/iheiddown@develop")

Alternatively, you can find the binaries for all major OSes – Windows, Mac, and Linux – by looking up the latest release of the package here. Download the appropriate binary for your operating system, and install using an adapted version of the following commands:

  • For Windows: install.packages("~/Downloads/", repos = NULL)
  • For Mac: install.packages("~/Downloads/iheiddown_macOS.tgz", repos = NULL)
  • For Unix: install.packages("~/Downloads/iheiddown_linuxOS.tar.gz", repos = NULL)

Quick start guide

iheiddown, among other things, sets up a thesis template that you can then modify for your dissertation. It’s very easy to get started!

Since the process is similar for theses, presentations, problem sets and syllabi let us take a look at how to set up a thesis project.

  1. Open RStudio (if it is not already).
  2. Click the new document symbol at the very top left and choose R Markdown....
  3. Then from the options on the left From Template.
  4. Scroll down through the options on the right until you find Thesis {iheiddown}.
  5. Name your thesis project index, i.e. your main .Rmd should be named index.Rmd
  6. Select where the project should be saved on your hard drive.

Congratulations! You have now set up your first thesis project. For a more detailed walkthrough of the different functionalities and how to get started with each one, please check out the different articles on the package website.


Please raise an issue for this repo if you encounter any bugs or if you have any feature requests. You can also vote on existing issues that you would like to see addressed soon. If you would like to contribute to the repo, please fork this repository and open a pull request when your changes are ready, or get in touch with me directly.

1 For Windows users, make sure you have the latest MiKTeX version installed on you computer. From the MiKTeX console, you should regularly check for updates as “MiKTeX user mode”, this will prevent issues when generating your pdf document from your Markdown template.
2 Note that, for unclear reasons, Yihui Xie’s TinyTeX is causing trouble. Try tinytex::uninstall_tinytex() and install a local copy. Unfortunately, full LaTeX installations are large.