Split Character String at Whitespace in R (2 Examples)
In this R tutorial you’ll learn how to split character strings by spaces.
Table of contents:
Let’s just jump right in:
Introduction of Example Data
To start with, we’ll need to create some data that we can use in the examples later on:
my_string <- "aaa b cc ddd e" # Create example character string my_string # Print example character string #  "aaa b cc ddd e"
Have a look at the previous RStudio console output. It shows that our example data is a single character string object containing different alphabetical letters and numerous spaces.
Example 1: Split Character String at Whitespace Using strsplit() Function
Example 1 illustrates how to use the strsplit function to split our character string based on any number of spaces.
For this, we have to specify ” +” as a splitting condition:
my_string_split1 <- strsplit(my_string, " +")[] # Apply strsplit function my_string_split1 # Print split character string vector #  "aaa" "b" "cc" "ddd" "e"
Have a look at the previous output of the RStudio console. As you can see, we have created a character vector where each vector element was defined by the whitespace in our input character string.
Example 2: Split Character String at Whitespace Using scan() Function
Example 2 demonstrates how to apply the scan function to divide our character string into chunks.
Within the scan function, we have to specify the text and what arguments:
my_string_split2 <- scan(text = my_string, what = "") # Apply scan function my_string_split2 # Print split character string vector #  "aaa" "b" "cc" "ddd" "e"
The previous output shows exactly the same character vector as in Example 1. Whether you prefer the strsplit or the scan function to divide your data based on spaces is a matter of taste.
Video, Further Resources & Summary
Have a look at the following video of my YouTube channel. In the video, I’m explaining the topics of this tutorial in a live session.
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In addition, you might want to read some of the related tutorials on this website.
- strsplit Function in R
- Split Character String into Chunks in R
- Split Data Frame Variable into Multiple Columns
- Insert Character Pattern at Particular Position of String
- Introduction to R
In this R programming tutorial you have learned how to split a character string into a vector by any number of spaces. If you have further comments or questions, don’t hesitate to tell me about it in the comments section.
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