Convert Date to Day of Week in R (3 Examples) | How to Find the Weekday

 

In this article, I’ll explain how to find the weekday of a date in R. The tutorial is structured as follows

So without further ado, let’s dive into the examples…

 

Create Example Data

Before we can start with the examples, we have to create some example data that contains a date variable:

data <- data.frame(date = as.Date(c("2022-02-11",     # Create example data
                                    "2010-12-01",
                                    "1955-02-08",
                                    "2005-01-01")))
data                                                  # Print example data to console

 

Data Frame in R with Dates

Table 1: Example Data Frame with Dates.

 

As you can see based on Table 1, our example data frame consists of a column with dates. Note that these dates were converted to date objects with the as.Date function.

Now let’s move on to the examples, where we will find the weekdays that correspond to our dates…

 

Example 1: Convert Date to Weekday in R (weekdays Function)

In the first example, we are converting our dates to weekdays with the weekdays function. The function is explicitly designed to find the corresponding day of the week for a date object in R:

data1 <- data                                         # Replicate data for Example 1
data1$weekday <- weekdays(data1$date)                 # Convert dates to weekdays
data1                                                 # Print converted data to console

 

Data Frame in R with Dates and Weekdays

Table 2: Example Data Frame with Dates & Weekdays.

 

As you can see in Table 2, we have just added a second variable to our data frame which contains the weekday for each of our dates.

Note: We were able to find the weekdays of dates in the past as well as of dates in the future (as in row 1).

The weekdays function is quite simple and easy to use. However, there are many other ways of how to find weekdays and depending on your specific situation one of the following approaches might be better. So keep on reading…

 

Example 2: Convert Date to Weekday in R (strftime Function)

In the second example, we are using the strftime function:

data2 <- data                                         # Replicate data for Example 2
data2$day <- strftime(data2$date, "%A")
data2                                                 # Print converted data to console
#       date   weekday
# 2022-02-11    Friday
# 2010-12-01 Wednesday
# 1955-02-08   Tuesday
# 2005-01-01  Saturday

The output is exactly the same as in Example 1.

Looks good, so let’s move on to the next example…

 

Example 3: Convert Date to Weekday in R (as.POSIXlt Function)

In this example we are going to apply the as.POSIXlt command in order to find the corresponding days of the week:

data3 <- data                                         # Replicate data for Example 3
data3$weekday <- c("Sunday", "Monday", "Tuesday",     # Convert dates to weekdays
                   "Wednesday", "Thursday", "Friday",
                   "Saturday")[as.POSIXlt(data3$date)$wday + 1]
data3                                                 # Print converted data to console
#       date   weekday
# 2022-02-11    Friday
# 2010-12-01 Wednesday
# 1955-02-08   Tuesday
# 2005-01-01  Saturday

Again the same output. However, there is a big advantage of this approach: You can assign a name for each day of the week manually. For instance, this has advantages when your R or RStudio are set to a different language than English. In this case the approaches of Example 1 & 2 will assign the weekdays in a different language. With the approach of Example 3, you can assign any character string you want.

 

Video & Further Resources

For more detailed information concerning the code of this article, please check out the below video on the Statistics Globe YouTube channel:

 

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Handling dates in R is a difficult topic. For that reason I have listed some further resources about the handling of date objects in the following.

If you want to learn more about date objects in R, I can recommend the following YouTube video of Vincent King:

 

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Also, you might have a look at the following R tutorials of statisticsglobe.com:

I hope you found everything you were looking for in this tutorial. Let me know in the comments if you have any further questions. Of course, general feedback is also very welcome!

 

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18 Comments. Leave new

  • didn’t work

    Reply
  • For 1st 2 options: :
    Warning in install.packages :
    package ‘weekdays’ is not available for this version of R

    A version of this package for your version of R might be available elsewhere,
    see the ideas at
    https://cran.r-project.org/doc/manuals/r-patched/R-admin.html#Installing-packages

    Warning in install.packages :
    package ‘strftime’ is not available for this version of R

    A version of this package for your version of R might be available elsewhere,
    see the ideas at
    https://cran.r-project.org/doc/manuals/r-patched/R-admin.html#Installing-packages

    And for POSIXlt – Unable to locate from install or repository also

    Reply
  • Ana do Amaral
    August 16, 2022 8:56 am

    Hello Joachim, I am sorry for bother you.
    I am trying the third example you gave above since the code returns the weekdays in spanish and is not working.
    I’ve got the follow error:

    Error in `$<-.data.frame`(`*tmp*`, weekday, value = c("Tuesday", "Wednesday", :
    replacement has 355 rows, data has 410

    Could you please help me?
    Thanks in advance

    Reply
    • Hey Ana,

      Could you please share your code and illustrate the structure of your data in some more detail? How are your dates formatted?

      Regards,
      Joachim

      Reply
  • Ana do Amaral
    August 16, 2022 10:54 am

    “`{r}
    weekday_steps_sleep <- daily_activity_sleep
    weekday_steps_sleep$weekday <- weekdays(weekday_steps_sleep$date)
    “`

    'data.frame': 410 obs. of 19 variables:
    $ id : num 1.5e+09 1.5e+09 1.5e+09 1.5e+09 1.5e+09 …
    $ date : Date, format: "2016-04-12" "2016-04-13" …
    $ totalsteps : num 13162 10735 9762 12669 9705 …
    $ totaldistance : num 8.5 6.97 6.28 8.16 6.48 …
    $ trackerdistance : num 8.5 6.97 6.28 8.16 6.48 …
    $ loggedactivitiesdistance: num 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 …
    $ veryactivedistance : num 1.88 1.57 2.14 2.71 3.19 …
    $ moderatelyactivedistance: num 0.55 0.69 1.26 0.41 0.78 …
    $ lightactivedistance : num 6.06 4.71 2.83 5.04 2.51 …
    $ sedentaryactivedistance : num 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 …
    $ veryactiveminutes : num 25 21 29 36 38 50 28 19 41 39 …
    $ fairlyactiveminutes : num 13 19 34 10 20 31 12 8 21 5 …
    $ lightlyactiveminutes : num 328 217 209 221 164 264 205 211 262 238 …
    $ sedentaryminutes : num 728 776 726 773 539 775 818 838 732 709 …
    $ calories : num 1985 1797 1745 1863 1728 …
    $ totalsleeprecords : num 1 2 1 2 1 1 1 1 1 1 …
    $ totalminutesasleep : num 327 384 412 340 700 304 360 325 361 430 …
    $ totaltimeinbed : num 346 407 442 367 712 320 377 364 384 449 …
    $ weekday : chr "martes" "miércoles" "viernes" "sábado" …

    “`{r}
    daily_activity_sleep <- daily_activity_sleep
    daily_activity_sleep1$weekday <- c("Monday", "Tuesday", "Wednesday", "Thursday", "Friday", "Saturday", "Sunday")[as.POSIXlt(daily_activity_sleep$date)$wday]
    “`

    Error in `$<-.data.frame`(`*tmp*`, weekday, value = c("Tuesday", "Wednesday", :
    replacement has 355 rows, data has 410

    #Let me know if you need any more details.
    Thank you very much

    Reply
    • Thanks for the further information Ana.

      Do the data frames daily_activity_sleep1 and daily_activity_sleep contain the same number of rows? Why are you not using the same data frame in your last line of code?

      Regards,
      Joachim

      Reply
  • Ana do Amaral
    August 17, 2022 7:18 am

    Hello Joachim, “daily_activity_sleep1” has typing error. The correct is “daily_activity_sleep”.
    And yes, they have the same number of rows.

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    ✔ tibble 3.1.7 ✔ dplyr 1.0.9
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    The following objects are masked from ‘package:base’:

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    Show in New Window
    A tibble:22,099 × 4
    Id

    date

    time

    StepTotal

    1503960366 04/12/2016 12:00:00 AM 373
    1503960366 04/12/2016 01:00:00 AM 160
    1503960366 04/12/2016 02:00:00 AM 151
    1503960366 04/12/2016 03:00:00 AM 0
    1503960366 04/12/2016 04:00:00 AM 0
    1503960366 04/12/2016 05:00:00 AM 0
    1503960366 04/12/2016 06:00:00 AM 0
    1503960366 04/12/2016 07:00:00 AM 0
    1503960366 04/12/2016 08:00:00 AM 250
    1503960366 04/12/2016 09:00:00 AM 1864

    1-10 of 22,099 rows
    Show in New Window
    A tibble:6 × 4
    Id

    date

    time

    StepTotal

    1503960366 04/12/2016 12:00:00 AM 373
    1503960366 04/12/2016 01:00:00 AM 160
    1503960366 04/12/2016 02:00:00 AM 151
    1503960366 04/12/2016 03:00:00 AM 0
    1503960366 04/12/2016 04:00:00 AM 0
    1503960366 04/12/2016 05:00:00 AM 0
    6 rows
    Show in New Window
    ‘data.frame’: 410 obs. of 18 variables:
    $ id : num 1.5e+09 1.5e+09 1.5e+09 1.5e+09 1.5e+09 …
    $ date : Date, format: “2016-04-12” “2016-04-13” …
    $ totalsteps : num 13162 10735 9762 12669 9705 …
    $ totaldistance : num 8.5 6.97 6.28 8.16 6.48 …
    $ trackerdistance : num 8.5 6.97 6.28 8.16 6.48 …
    $ loggedactivitiesdistance: num 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 …
    $ veryactivedistance : num 1.88 1.57 2.14 2.71 3.19 …
    $ moderatelyactivedistance: num 0.55 0.69 1.26 0.41 0.78 …
    $ lightactivedistance : num 6.06 4.71 2.83 5.04 2.51 …
    $ sedentaryactivedistance : num 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 …
    $ veryactiveminutes : num 25 21 29 36 38 50 28 19 41 39 …
    $ fairlyactiveminutes : num 13 19 34 10 20 31 12 8 21 5 …
    $ lightlyactiveminutes : num 328 217 209 221 164 264 205 211 262 238 …
    $ sedentaryminutes : num 728 776 726 773 539 775 818 838 732 709 …
    $ calories : num 1985 1797 1745 1863 1728 …
    $ totalsleeprecords : num 1 2 1 2 1 1 1 1 1 1 …
    $ totalminutesasleep : num 327 384 412 340 700 304 360 325 361 430 …
    $ totaltimeinbed : num 346 407 442 367 712 320 377 364 384 449 …

    Thanks once again.

    Reply
  • Ana do Amaral
    August 17, 2022 7:51 am

    Description:df [6 × 18]

    id

    date

    totalsteps

    totaldistance

    trackerdistance

    1 1503960366 2016-04-12 13162 8.50 8.50
    2 1503960366 2016-04-13 10735 6.97 6.97
    3 1503960366 2016-04-15 9762 6.28 6.28
    4 1503960366 2016-04-16 12669 8.16 8.16
    5 1503960366 2016-04-17 9705 6.48 6.48
    6 1503960366 2016-04-19 15506 9.88 9.88

    Reply
    • Thank you once again for the clarifications Ana! I have noticed that the as.POSIXlt function returns Sunday as the value 0 instead of 7, and for that reason, the code of Example 3 didn’t work properly in your situation.

      I’m very sorry for this. I don’t know whether the output of the as.POSIXlt function has changed over time (the tutorial is quite old), or if I’ve made a mistake when I created the tutorial.

      However, the example code below should work for your data:

      # Create example data
       
      data <- data.frame(id = 1503960366,
                         date = c("2016-04-12",
                                  "2016-04-13",
                                  "2016-04-15",
                                  "2016-04-16",
                                  "2016-04-17",
                                  "2016-04-19"),
                         x1 = 1:6,
                         x2 = 11:16,
                         x3 = 101:106)
      data
      #           id       date x1 x2  x3
      # 1 1503960366 2016-04-12  1 11 101
      # 2 1503960366 2016-04-13  2 12 102
      # 3 1503960366 2016-04-15  3 13 103
      # 4 1503960366 2016-04-16  4 14 104
      # 5 1503960366 2016-04-17  5 15 105
      # 6 1503960366 2016-04-19  6 16 106
       
      # Applying code of example 3
       
      data_new <- data
      data_new$weekday <- c("Sunday", "Monday", "Tuesday",
                            "Wednesday", "Thursday", "Friday",
                            "Saturday")[as.POSIXlt(data_new$date)$wday + 1]
      data_new
      #           id       date x1 x2  x3   weekday
      # 1 1503960366 2016-04-12  1 11 101   Tuesday
      # 2 1503960366 2016-04-13  2 12 102 Wednesday
      # 3 1503960366 2016-04-15  3 13 103    Friday
      # 4 1503960366 2016-04-16  4 14 104  Saturday
      # 5 1503960366 2016-04-17  5 15 105    Sunday
      # 6 1503960366 2016-04-19  6 16 106   Tuesday

      I hope that helps!

      Joachim

      Reply
  • Ana do Amaral
    August 18, 2022 8:19 am

    Hi Joahim, I found a solution!

    “`{r}
    Sys.setlocale(“LC_TIME”, “C”)
    “`

    Now, I am just struggling to change the column of Weekdays from Chr to date!

    Reply
    • Glad you found a solution!

      I don’t know whether it’s possible to convert a weekday character string to the Date class. Is this necessary in your case? What do you want to do with the weekdays column?

      Reply
  • Ana do Amaral
    August 18, 2022 8:55 am

    Hey Joachim, I really appreciate your kindness. I will reference you in my project!

    I need to plot the dataset which contains this weekday column.

    “`{r}
    ggplot(weekday_steps_sleep) +
    geom_col(aes(weekday, daily_steps), fill = “#006699”) +
    geom_hline(yintercept = 7500) +
    labs(title = “Daily steps per weekday”, x= “”, y = “”) +
    theme(axis.text.x = element_text(angle = 45,vjust = 0.5, hjust = 1))
    “`

    Since the weekday column is character string, my graph read the weekdays in alphabetic order and not by weekdays.

    Reply
  • Ana do Amaral
    August 18, 2022 10:03 am

    It worked!!! Vielen vielen dank!!!

    Reply

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