Convert Date to Numeric Time Object in R (Example)


In this tutorial, I’ll explain how to transform a date to a time object in R programming. Furthermore, I’ll show how to extract the hours, minutes, and seconds of this date object.

Table of contents:

Let’s dive right into the examples!


Creation of Example Data

Let’s first create some data that we can use in the following example:

x <- strptime("10:45:15", format = "%H:%M:%S")           # Create date object
x                                                        # Print date object
# "2019-08-13 10:45:15 CEST"

Our example data is a simple date object (i.e. the 13th of August 2019, 10:45:15 am).

Now, let’s convert this date object to a numeric object representing the hours, minutes, and seconds of our date…


Example: Convert Date to Time in R & Extract Time Only

For this task, we need to install and load the lubridate R add-on package:

install.packages("lubridate")                            # Install lubridate package
library("lubridate")                                     # Load lubridate package

The lubridate package contains functions to extract the hours…

hour(x)                                                  # Basic application of hour function
# 10


minute(x)                                                # Basic application of minute function
# 45

…or seconds of a date object:

second(x)                                                # Basic application of second function
# 15

In case we want to convert our date object to a numeric time value, we can use the following code for a conversion to hours…

x_hours <- hour(x) + minute(x) / 60 + second(x) / 3600   # Convert date object to hours
x_hours                                                  # Print hours to RStudio console
# 10.75417

…the following R code for a transformation to minutes…

x_minutes <- hour(x) * 60 + minute(x) + second(x) / 60   # Convert date object to minutes
x_minutes                                                # Print minutes to RStudio console
# 645.25

…and the following R syntax for a conversion to seconds:

x_seconds <- hour(x) * 3600 + minute(x) * 60 + second(x) # Convert date object to seconds
x_seconds                                                # Print seconds to RStudio console
# 38715

Easy going!


Video, Further Resources & Summary

Would you like to know more about the conversion of dates to time in R? Then I can recommend to watch the following video of my YouTube channel. I explain the R programming codes of this article in the video:


The YouTube video will be added soon.


Furthermore, you could read the related tutorials which I have published on my homepage:


In this tutorial, I explained how to change the format of a date object in order to extract the time in R programming. In case you have additional questions, don’t hesitate to let me know in the comments section. Furthermore, please subscribe to my email newsletter to get updates on new tutorials.


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