Develop a Telegram Bot with R

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This package provides a pure R interface for the Telegram Bot API. In addition to the pure API implementation, it features a number of tools to make the development of Telegram bots with R easy and straightforward, providing an easy-to-use interface that takes some work off the programmer.


You can install from CRAN:


Or the development version from GitHub:

# install.packages("devtools")


You can quickly build a chatbot with a few lines:


start <- function(bot, update){
  bot$sendMessage(chat_id = update$message$chat$id,
                  text = sprintf("Hello %s!", update$message$from$first_name))

updater <- Updater("TOKEN") + CommandHandler("start", start)

updater$start_polling() # Send '/start' to the bot

If you don’t have a TOKEN, you can follow the steps explained below to generate one.

Telegram API Methods

One of the core instances from the package is Bot, which represents a Telegram Bot. You can find a full list of the Telegram API methods implemented in its documentation (?Bot), but here there are some examples:

# Initialize bot
bot <- Bot(token = "TOKEN")

# Get bot info

# Get updates
updates <- bot$getUpdates()

# Retrieve your chat id
# Note: you should text the bot before calling 'getUpdates'
chat_id <- updates[[1L]]$from_chat_id()

# Send message
bot$sendMessage(chat_id = chat_id,
                text = "foo *bold* _italic_",
                parse_mode = "Markdown")

# Send photo
bot$sendPhoto(chat_id = chat_id,
              photo = "")

# Send audio
bot$sendAudio(chat_id = chat_id,
              audio = "")

# Send document
bot$sendDocument(chat_id = chat_id,
                 document = "")

# Send sticker
bot$sendSticker(chat_id = chat_id,
                sticker = "")

# Send video
bot$sendVideo(chat_id = chat_id,
              video = "")

# Send gif
bot$sendAnimation(chat_id = chat_id,
                  animation = "")

# Send location
bot$sendLocation(chat_id = chat_id,
                 latitude = 51.521727,
                 longitude = -0.117255)

# Send chat action
bot$sendChatAction(chat_id = chat_id,
                   action = "typing")

# Get user profile photos
photos <- bot$getUserProfilePhotos(user_id = chat_id)

# Download user profile photo
file_id <- photos$photos[[1L]][[1L]]$file_id
bot$getFile(file_id, destfile = "photo.jpg")

Note that you can also send local files by passing their path instead of an URL. Additionaly, all methods accept their equivalent snake_case syntax (e.g. bot$get_me() is equivalent to bot$getMe()).

Generating an Access Token

To make it work, you’ll need an access TOKEN (it should look something like 123456:ABC-DEF1234ghIkl-zyx57W2v1u123ew11). If you don’t have it, you have to talk to @BotFather and follow a few simple steps (described here).

Recommendation: Following Hadley’s API guidelines it’s unsafe to type the TOKEN just in the R script. It’s better to use environment variables set in .Renviron file.

So let’s say you have named your bot RTelegramBot; you can open the .Renviron file with the R command:

file.edit(path.expand(file.path("~", ".Renviron")))

And put the following line with your TOKEN in your .Renviron:


If you follow the suggested R_TELEGRAM_BOT_ prefix convention you’ll be able to use the bot_token function (otherwise you’ll have to get these variable from Sys.getenv). Finally, restart R and you can then create the Updater object as:

updater <- Updater(token = bot_token("RTelegramBot"))

Getting Started

To get you started with, we recommend to take a look at its Wiki:

You can also check these other resources:

If you have any other doubt about the package, you can post a question on Stack Overflow under the r-telegram-bot tag or directly e-mail the package’s maintainer.


The package is in a starting phase, so contributions of all sizes are very welcome. Please: - Review our contribution guidelines to get started. - You can also help by reporting bugs.


This package is inspired by Python’s library python-telegram-bot, specially by its submodule telegram.ext.