# names Function in R (2 Examples)

This article illustrates how to get or set the names of a data object in the R programming language.

The post consists of two examples for the application of the names function. To be more specific, the content of the article is structured as follows:

Letâ€™s get started:

## Definition & Basic R Syntax of names Function

Definition: The names R function returns or sets the names of a data object.

Basic R Syntax: You can find the basic R programming syntax of the names function below.

`names(x)                          # Basic R syntax of names function`

In the following, Iâ€™ll show you two examples for the application of the names function in R programming.

## Example 1: Assign Names to Vector Using names() Function

In this Example, Iâ€™ll explain how to set and get the names of a vector object in R. First, we have to create an example vector:

```my_vec <- 1:5                     # Create example vector
my_vec                            # Print example vector
# 1 2 3 4 5```

As you can see based on the output of the RStudio console, our example vector (or array) is consisting of five values ranging from 1 to 5. At this point, the vector elements do not have names.

If we want to assign a name to each of the elements of our vector, we can use the following R code:

```names(my_vec) <- letters[1:5]     # Assign names to vector
my_vec                            # Print updated vector
# a b c d e
# 1 2 3 4 5```

The previous R syntax assigned the alphabetic letters a, b, c, d, and e as names to our vector elements.

Now, we could also check the names of our vector using the names() function once more:

```names(my_vec)                     # Return names of updated vector
# "a" "b" "c" "d" "e"```

Looks good!

## Example 2: Assign Names to List Using names() Function

Example 2 explains how to apply the names command to a list object. Again, we need to create some example data first:

```my_list <- list(1:5,              # Create example list
3,
"bbb")
my_list                           # Print example list
# [[1]]
# [1] 1 2 3 4 5
#
# [[2]]
# [1] 3
#
# [[3]]
# [1] "bbb"```

Our list consists of three list elements. None of these list elements has a name yet.

We can use the names function to specify the names of our list elements as shown below:

```names(my_list) <- LETTERS[1:3]    # Assign names to list
my_list                           # Print updated list
# \$A
# [1] 1 2 3 4 5
#
# \$B
# [1] 3
#
# \$C
# [1] "bbb"```

Now, we can check the names of our list elements:

```names(my_list)                    # Return names of updated list
# "A" "B" "C"```

## Video & Further Resources

If you need further info on the topics of this tutorial, you might want to watch the following video of my YouTube channel. In the video, Iâ€™m explaining the content of this article.

Furthermore, you could have a look at some of the other articles on my homepage:

At this point of the article you should have learned how to use the names function in R programming. Please let me know in the comments section below, if you have additional questions. In addition, please subscribe to my email newsletter for updates on the newest tutorials.

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