as.Date Function in R (Example)


In this tutorial, I’ll illustrate how to convert a character to the Date class using the as.Date function in R.

The tutorial will contain the following content:

Let’s take a look at some R codes in action.

Definition & Basic R Syntax of as.Date Function


Definition: The as.Date R function converts character strings to the Date class.


Basic R Syntax: Please find the basic R programming syntax of the as.Date function below.

as.Date("2020-12-10")               # Basic R syntax of as.Date function


In the remaining post, I’ll show an example for the application of the as.Date function in the R programming language.


Example Data

The following data will be used as basement for this R programming tutorial:

my_date <- "2020-10-05"             # Create example date
my_date                             # Print example date
# "2020-10-05"

The previous RStudio console output shows the structure of our example data: It’s a data object containing a single character string with year-month-day format.

Let’s check the data type of our example data:

class(my_date)                      # Check class of example date
# "character"

It’s a character string…


Example: Convert Character String to Date Using as.Date() Function

The following R syntax illustrates how to convert a character string to a Date object in R. For this task, we can use the as.Date function as shown below:

my_date_new1 <- as.Date(my_date)    # Convert character string
my_date_new1                        # Print new date
# "2020-10-05"

The previous output of the RStudio console looks exactly as the output of our original input data. However, by checking the data class we see the difference:

class(my_date_new1)                 # Check class
# "Date"

The updated data object has the class Date. Looks good!


Video, Further Resources & Summary

Have a look at the following video of my YouTube channel. In the video, I’m explaining the contents of the present tutorial.


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In addition, you may want to read some of the related articles that I have published on this homepage.


At this point you should have learned how to change characters to dates in R programming. Let me know in the comments section below, in case you have additional questions. Besides that, please subscribe to my email newsletter to receive updates on the newest tutorials.


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