Convert List to Vector in R (2 Examples)


This article explains how to convert a list to a vector object in the R programming language.

The article consists of this content:

Let’s just jump right in:


Creation of Example Data

At the start, we’ll have to create some data that we can use in the following examples:

my_list <- list(L1 = 5,                           # Create example list
                L2 = 8,
                L3 = 1,
                L4 = 5,
                L5 = 3)
my_list                                           # Print example list
# $L1
# [1] 5
# $L2
# [1] 8
# $L3
# [1] 1
# $L4
# [1] 5
# $L5
# [1] 3

The previous output of the RStudio console shows that our example list contains five list elements with list names.


Example 1: Converting List to Vector Using unlist() Function

The following R syntax illustrates how to apply the unlist function to convert our list to a vector object.

Have a look at the following R code and its output:

my_vector1 <- unlist(my_list)                     # Apply unlist function
my_vector1                                        # Print vector
# L1 L2 L3 L4 L5 
#  5  8  1  5  3

You can see based on the output in the RStudio console that we have converted our list to a named vector object.

Would you like to get rid of the names? Then keep on reading!


Example 2: Converting List to Vector without Names Using unlist() Function & use.names Argument

The R programming syntax below shows how to extract only the values when converting a list to a vector object.

For this, we have to set the use.names argument within the unlist function to be equal to FALSE:

my_vector2 <- unlist(my_list, use.names = FALSE)  # Apply unlist & use.names
my_vector2                                        # Print vector
# [1] 5 8 1 5 3

As you can see we have converted our list to an unnamed vector containing only of the numbers that are contained in our list.


Video & Further Resources

In case you need more information on the R programming code of this tutorial, I recommend having a look at the following video of my YouTube channel. In the video, I’m explaining the contents of this page.



Furthermore, you may read the related articles on this homepage.


Summary: This article has shown how to convert lists to vectors in R programming. In case you have additional questions, let me know in the comments.


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