I have a problem with Sweave. As soon as I use any mutated vowels/Umlauts (ü, ä, etc.) Sweave produces an NA in the document although it worked before. I don't know what to do, so any help would be greatly appreciated.

Here is an example of a Test.Rnw file:

The following section gives some descriptive statistics. ä

Although the file is produced, it only includes two NAs.

Also, I get the following warning message:

Warning message:
running command '"C:\PROGRA~2\MIKTEX~1.9\miktex\bin\texi2dvi.exe" --quiet --pdf     "First_Paper_Test.tex"  -I "C:/Program Files/R/R-2.13.1/share/texmf/tex/latex" -I   "C:/Program Files/R/R-2.13.1/share/texmf/bibtex/bst"' had status 1 

If I delete the Umlauts, I do not have a problem at all. Also, if I add further paragraphs without umlauts, those paragraphs show up just fine. My sessionInfo():

R version 2.13.1 (2011-07-08)
Platform: x86_64-pc-mingw32/x64 (64-bit)

[1] C

attached base packages:
[1] stats     graphics  grDevices utils     datasets  methods   base     

loaded via a namespace (and not attached):
[1] tools_2.13.1

I'm running Windows 7.

  • I agree with @richiemorrisroe. That being said, what is the encoding of the file you're trying to Sweave? I keep all my files in utf-8. Jul 14, 2011 at 13:11
  • I thought of posting it here and not on a TeX related site because I don't think it is a TeX related problem. When I open the .tex file created by Sweave and change the NAs with the Umlauts, it compiles just fine. At least if I change [utf8] to [latin1] (I found that hint somewhere else). However, I still have the problem that Sweave replaces the Umlauts with NAs.
    – Christoph_J
    Jul 14, 2011 at 15:42
  • Related question here: stackoverflow.com/q/7509395, tex.stackexchange.com/q/28710 Nov 14, 2011 at 13:21

1 Answer 1


Your R is running in a C locale, not a UTF-8 locale. As R has to parse and update the file, I'm not surprised it doesn't know what to do with those characters. Try running Sweave/R in a UTF-8 locale and see if that helps.

For example, Sweave-ing your file from within R produces:

The following section gives some descriptive statistics. ä

where my R is running in:

> sessionInfo()
R version 2.13.1 Patched (2011-07-08 r56332)
Platform: x86_64-unknown-linux-gnu (64-bit)

 [1] LC_CTYPE=en_GB.UTF-8       LC_NUMERIC=C              
 [3] LC_TIME=en_GB.UTF-8        LC_COLLATE=en_GB.UTF-8    
 [5] LC_MONETARY=C              LC_MESSAGES=en_GB.UTF-8   
 [7] LC_PAPER=en_GB.UTF-8       LC_NAME=C                 
 [9] LC_ADDRESS=C               LC_TELEPHONE=C            

attached base packages:
 [1] tools     grid      splines   stats     graphics  grDevices utils    
 [8] datasets  methods   base     

other attached packages:
[1] pscl_1.03.10     vcd_1.2-9        colorspace_1.0-1 gam_1.04        
[5] coda_0.14-2      lattice_0.19-23  mvtnorm_0.9-96   MASS_7.3-13

To see the current locale use Sys.getlocale() and to set a new locale use Sys.setlocale(). Also, see section 3 of the R for Windows FAQ and links to other areas of the FAQ therein. There is also a small amount of info in the R Installation & Administration Manual.

  • Great advice. But how does one do this? How do I change the locale?
    – Andrie
    Jul 14, 2011 at 13:33
  • @Andrie OP is on Windows, which I'm not familiar with. Sys.setlocale() seems relevant and the R for Windows FAQ. I didn't add this info at the time because I am not familiar with the OS in question but your comment prompted me to take a peak... Jul 14, 2011 at 14:51
  • @Gavin Simpson Thanks a lot, I guess that could be the answer. Unfortunately, I can't change my locale because of the issue mentioned here: Sys.setlocale() issue That was the reason I went for Sys.setlocale("LC_ALL", "C") in the first place. And since I am using English formatted dates in my analysis, I can't use my standard locale (which is the German one, I guess). As I mentioned, my Sweave file used to work, which lets me believe that the problem only occurred after I updated to R2.13.1.
    – Christoph_J
    Jul 14, 2011 at 15:45
  • Thanks to the hints of @Gavin Simpson, @Roman Luštrik and @richiemorrisroe I came to the conclusion that this workaround might be the easiest solution: I manually add the Umlauts with \"a, \"u, etc in the Sweave file. Then the file compiles just fine. Thanks for your help!
    – Christoph_J
    Jul 14, 2011 at 16:03

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