Error: Coerce List Object to Type Double in R (2 Examples)


In this tutorial you’ll learn how to convert a list to a numeric vector in R.

Table of contents:

Here’s how to do it!


Creation of Example Data

As a first step, we have to create some data that we can use in the examples later on:

my_list <- list(1:3,               # Example list
my_list                            # Print list
# [[1]]
# [1] 1 2 3
# [[2]]
# [1] 5
# [[3]]
# [1] 10 11 12 13 14 15

The previous RStudio console output shows the structure of our example data: It’s a list containing three numeric list elements.


Example 1: Reproducing Error: (list) object cannot be coerced to type ‘double

This Section illustrates a typical error message, when lists are converted to vectors or arrays. Have a look at the following R code:

as.numeric(my_list) # Wrong R code
# Error: (list) object cannot be coerced to type 'double'

As you can see, the RStudio console returns the error message: (list) object cannot be coerced to type ‘double’

The reason is that we cannot simply apply the as.numeric function to a list containing multiple list elements.

Next, I’ll explain how to fix this error. So keep on reading!


Example 2: Appropriate R Code for Conversion of List to Numeric Vector

Example 2 explains how to adequately convert a list to a numeric vector in R. Have a look at the following R code:

as.numeric(unlist(my_list))        # Apply unlist & as.numeric
# 1  2  3  5 10 11 12 13 14 15

As you have seen, we used a combination of the unlist and as.numeric functions, i.e. first we are converting our list to a vector and then we convert this vector to numeric. Works smoothly!


Video & Further Resources

Do you need further info on the R programming syntax of this article? Then you might want to have a look at the following video of my YouTube channel. In the video tutorial, I show the examples of this article in RStudio.


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Additionally, I can recommend to read the other tutorials of my website.


In this R programming tutorial you learned how to convert lists to arrays. In case you have additional comments and/or questions, don’t hesitate to let me know in the comments section.


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