R Error in read.table : more columns than column names (3 Examples)

 

In this R tutorial you’ll learn how to handle the error message “more columns than column names”.

The content of the page is structured as follows:

You’re here for the answer, so let’s get straight to the examples…

 

Example 1: Reproduce the Error – more columns than column names

In this example, I’ll show how to replicate the read.table error message “more columns than column names” in R.

Let’s assume that we want to import a CSV file (or any other type of file) to R using the read.table function. Then, we might try to use the following R code:

read.table("your_data.csv", header = TRUE) # Error
# more columns than column names

However, the previous R code might return the error message “more columns than column names” to the RStudio console.

The reason for this is that our data might be separated with a comma (i.e. “,”) and the data.table function is not taking that into account properly.

So how can we solve this problem? In the following part of the tutorial, I’ll show you two alternatives on how to get rid of the error “more columns than column names”.

 

Example 2: Fix the Error Using read.table() Function & sep = “,”

In this section, I’ll illustrate how to avoid the error message “more columns than column names” by specifying the sep argument within the read.table function.

Have a look at the following R code:

read.table("your_data.csv", header = TRUE, sep = ",") # Specifying sep argument

As you can see, we have specified the sep argument to be equal to “,”.

 

Example 3: Fix the Error Using read.csv() Function

Another alternative to the sep argument (explained in the previous example) is provided by the read.csv function:

read.csv("your_data.csv") # Applying read.csv function

The read.csv function uses a comma as separator by default. Therefore, we don’t have to specify anything within the function.

 

Video & Further Resources

Have a look at the following video of my YouTube channel. In the video, I illustrate the R programming syntax of this article in a live session:

 

The YouTube video will be added soon.

 

Furthermore, you could read the other tutorials of this website. I have published several articles on related topics.

 

To summarize: In this R tutorial you have learned how to deal with the error “more columns than column names”. In case you have additional questions, please tell me about it in the comments section. Furthermore, don’t forget to subscribe to my email newsletter to get regular updates on new articles.

 

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