Reading and Writing data in R

Reading and Writing Data in R

Reading Data in R

For reading (importing) data into R following are some functions.

  • read.table(), and read.csv(), for reading tabular data
  • readLines() for reading lines of a text file
  • source() for reading in R code files (inverse of dump)
  • dget() for reading in R code files (inverse of dput)
  • load() for reading in saved workspaces.

Writing Data to files

Following are few functions for writing (exporting) data to files.

  • write.table(), and write.csv() exports data to wider range of file format including csv and tab-delimited.
  • writeLines() write text lines to a text-mode connection.
  • dump() takes a vector of names of R objects and produces text representations of the objects on a file (or connection). A dump file can usually be sourced into another R session.
  • dput() writes a ASCII text representation of an R object to a file (or connection), or uses one to recreate the object.
  • save() writes an external representation of R objects to the specified file.

Reading data files with read.table()

The read.table() function is one of the most commonly used function for reading data into R. It has a few important arguments.

  • file, the name of a file, or a connection
  • header, logical indicating if the file has a header line
  • sep, a string indicating how the columns are separated
  • colClasses, a character vector indicating the class of each column in the data set
  • nrows, the number of rows in the dataset
  • comment.char, a character string indicating the comment character
  • skip, the number of lines to skip from the beginning
  • stringsAsFactors, should character variables be coded as factors?

read.table() and read.csv() Examples


R will automatically skip lines that begin with a #, figure out how many rows there are (and how much memory needs to be allocated). R also figure out what type of variable is in each column of the table.

Writing data files with write.table()

Following are few important arguments usually used in write.table() function.

  • x, the object to be written, typically a data frame
  • file, the name of the file which the data are to be written to
  • sep, the field separator string
  • col.names, a logical value indicating whether the column names of x are to be written along with x, or a character vector of column names to be written
  • row.names, a logical value indicating whether the row names of x are to be written along with x, or a character vector of row names to be written
  • na, the string to use for missing values in the data

write.table() and write.csv() Examples

x <- data.frame(a=5, b=10, c=pi)
write.table(x, file=”data.csv”, sep=”,”)
write.table(x, “c:\\mydata.txt”, sep=”\t”)
write.csv(x, file=”data.csv”)

For further details about reading and writing data see Importing data

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