# format Function in R (2 Examples)

This article shows how to **encode data objects in a common format using the format() function** in the R programming language.

Table of contents:

So now the part you have been waiting for – the examples!

## Definition & Basic R Syntax of format Function
##

**Definition:** The format R function encodes data objects into common formats.

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

format(values) # Basic R syntax of format function |

format(values) # Basic R syntax of format function

In the remaining post, I’ll show two examples for the application of the format function in R. So keep on reading…

## Creation of Example Data

First, we’ll have to create some data that we can use in the examples below:

set.seed(243266) # Set seed x <- rnorm(5) # Random values x # Print example vector # -1.5894026 -0.9007914 0.8997223 -0.4310145 1.5865680 |

set.seed(243266) # Set seed x <- rnorm(5) # Random values x # Print example vector # -1.5894026 -0.9007914 0.8997223 -0.4310145 1.5865680

Have a look at the previous output of the RStudio console. It shows that the example data is a numeric vector containing five vector elements.

## Example 1: Specify Exact Number of Digits Using format() Function

Example 1 illustrates how to use the format command to define the exact number of digits our vector should show. Have a look at the following R code:

format(x, digits = 3) # Using digits argument # "-1.589" "-0.901" " 0.900" "-0.431" " 1.587" |

format(x, digits = 3) # Using digits argument # "-1.589" "-0.901" " 0.900" "-0.431" " 1.587"

As you can see, the amount of digits was reduced. Note that the format function converts numerics to the character class.

## Example 2: Specify Minimum Number of Digits Using format() Function

The following code illustrates how to use the format function to set a minimum number of digits by specifying the nsmall argument. First, let’s set the nsmall argument to 3:

format(x, nsmall = 3) # Using nsmall argument # "-1.5894026" "-0.9007914" " 0.8997223" "-0.4310145" " 1.5865680" |

format(x, nsmall = 3) # Using nsmall argument # "-1.5894026" "-0.9007914" " 0.8997223" "-0.4310145" " 1.5865680"

The previous R code didn’t change the way how our numbers are shown.

However, if we increase the nsmall argument, the number of shown digits is increased:

format(x, nsmall = 15) # Larger nsmall # "-1.589402633173374" "-0.900791358067172" " 0.899722298111224" "-0.431014512150872" " 1.586568038530366" |

format(x, nsmall = 15) # Larger nsmall # "-1.589402633173374" "-0.900791358067172" " 0.899722298111224" "-0.431014512150872" " 1.586568038530366"

## Video, Further Resources & Summary

In case you need more explanations on the R programming syntax of this tutorial, I can recommend to watch the following video of my YouTube channel. In the video instruction, I explain the R code of this article:

*The YouTube video will be added soon.*

Furthermore, you might want to read some of the related articles on this website.

- Format Number as Percentage in R
- Format Number of Decimal Places
- R Functions List (+ Examples)
- The R Programming Language

To summarize: This article showed how to **apply the format() function** in R. If you have further questions, let me know in the comments.

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