Remove Characters Before or After Point in String in R (Example)
This article shows how to delete characters in a character string before or after a point in the R programming language.
The page is structured as follows:
Let’s start right away!
Creation of Example Data
The following data will be used as basement for this R tutorial:
x <- "aaaa.bbbbbb" # Create example data x # Print example data #  "aaaa.bbbbbb"
The previous output of the RStudio console shows the structure of the example data – It’s a single character string containing the letters a and b and a point or dot (i.e. “.”) in the middle.
Example 1: Remove Part After . Using gsub() Function and \\
This example explains how to extract only the part of a character string before or after a point.
Let’s first apply the gsub function as we usually would, in case we want to remove the part of a string before or after a pattern:
gsub("..*", "", x) # Apply gsub without \\ #  ""
As you can see, the RStudio console returns an empty character after running the previous R code.
The reason for this is that the symbol . is considered as a special character. For that reason, we have to use a double backslash in front of the point (i.e. \\).
gsub("\\..*", "", x) # Apply gsub with \\ #  "aaaa"
This works as expected!
Example 2: Remove Part Before . Using gsub() Function and \\
It is also possible to remove all characters in front of a point using the gsub function.
For this task, we can use the R code below:
gsub(".*\\.", "", x) # Apply gsub with \\ #  "bbbbbb"
Video, Further Resources & Summary
In case you need more info on the R programming codes of this article, you may watch the following video which I have published on my YouTube channel. In the video, I’m explaining the R programming code of this article.
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Besides the video, you may want to have a look at the other tutorials of this homepage. I have released numerous tutorials already:
- Extract Substring Before or After Pattern
- Extract First or Last n Characters from String
- Remove All Special Characters from String in R
- The R Programming Language
Summary: In this tutorial, I have explained how to remove characters before or after points in the R programming language. Let me know in the comments, if you have additional questions.
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You forgot to tell us how to remove the characters before a point.
Thanks a lot for the hint, it seems like I have forgotten to do this when I created the tutorial.
I have just added another example, which explains how to delete all characters before a point.
what if data is aaa.bbbb.cccc, and want to extract bbbb?
This is probably not the most efficient solution, but it should work:
hi dear .. your classes are amazing .
if i have the below data frame ,,, how can i run the same command to remove FY from the Year column ? thank you
Identifier Company Name Country Year
ELSE.OQ Electro-Sensors Inc USA FY2021
ELSE.OQ Electro-Sensors Inc USA FY2020
ELSE.OQ Electro-Sensors Inc USA FY2019
ELSE.OQ Electro-Sensors Inc USA FY2018
ELSE.OQ Electro-Sensors Inc USA FY2017
ELSE.OQ Electro-Sensors Inc USA FY2016
ELSE.OQ Electro-Sensors Inc USA FY2015
ELSE.OQ Electro-Sensors Inc USA FY2014
ELSE.OQ Electro-Sensors Inc USA FY2013
ELSE.OQ Electro-Sensors Inc USA FY2012
ELSE.OQ Electro-Sensors Inc USA FY2011
ELSE.OQ Electro-Sensors Inc USA FY2010
ELSE.OQ Electro-Sensors Inc USA FY2009
ELSE.OQ Electro-Sensors Inc USA FY2008
ELSE.OQ Electro-Sensors Inc USA FY2007
ELSE.OQ Electro-Sensors Inc USA FY2006
ELSE.OQ Electro-Sensors Inc USA FY2005
ELSE.OQ Electro-Sensors Inc USA FY2004
ELSE.OQ Electro-Sensors Inc USA FY2003
Thank you for such a nice feedback. You can check the code below.
For more detailed information, you can check our tutorial, Replace Specific Characters in String in R.