Convert Character String to Variable Name in R (2 Examples)
In this article you’ll learn how to use a character string as variable name in the R programming language.
The article will consist of the following topics:
- Example 1: Convert String to Variable Name with assign Function
- Example 2: Convert String to Variable Name with do.call Function
- Video & Further Resources
Let’s dive right in!
Example 1: Convert String to Variable Name with assign Function
Example 1 shows how to turn a character string to a variable name using the assign function. Have a look at the following R code:
assign("my_string_1", 1:5) # Apply assign function
Within the assign function, we defined our character string (i.e. “my_string_1”) as well as the values we want to store in the new variable (i.e. a numeric range from 1 to 5). Let’s have a look at the new data object my_string_1:
my_string_1 # Return variable values # 1 2 3 4 5
As expected: The variable my_string_1 contains the numeric range 1 to 5.
Example 2: Convert String to Variable Name with do.call Function
In Example 2, I’ll show an alternative R syntax, which is based on the do.call function:
do.call("<-", list("my_string_2", 1:5)) # Apply do.call function
Within the do.call function, we had to specify the operation we want to call (i.e. “<-") and we had to create a list consisting of our character string / variable name and the values we want to assign. Let's have a look at the output in the RStudio console:
my_string_2 # Return variable values # 1 2 3 4 5
The result is exactly the same as in Example 1.
Video & Further Resources
In case you need further information on the content of this tutorial, you might have a look at the following video of my YouTube channel. In the video instruction, I show the R codes of this page:
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Furthermore, you could have a look at the related articles of my website:
To summarize: In this tutorial you learned how to get strings recognized as variable names in R. In case you have any additional questions and/or comments, let me know in the comments section below. Furthermore, don’t forget to subscribe to my email newsletter for updates on new tutorials.
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