Write Lines of Text to TXT File in R (3 Examples)


This article explains how to export text lines to an external TXT file in the R programming language.

The content of the tutorial is structured as follows:

Let’s start right away.


Creation of Exemplifying Data

Have a look at the following example data:

text_lines <- c("This is my first line of text.",      # Create example data
                "Another line of text.",
                "What a beautiful sentence created in R!")
text_lines                                             # Print example data
# [1] "This is my first line of text." 
# [2] "Another line of text."
# [3] "What a beautiful sentence created in R!"

The previously shown output of the RStudio console illustrates the structure of our example data – We have created a vector of character strings containing different lines of text.

Let’s write these lines of text to a TXT file!


Example 1: Write Lines of Text to TXT File Using writeLines() Function

Example 1 illustrates how to save our text lines to a TXT file using the writeLines function in R.

Within the writeLines function we have to specify the data object containing our lines of text (i.e. text_lines) and the name of the TXT file we want to create:

writeLines(text_lines, "my_file1.txt")                 # Apply writeLines function

After running the previous R code, you should find a text file in your current working directory that looks as in the screenshot below:


TXT file exported from R


Example 2: Write Lines of Text to TXT File Using sink() & cat() Functions

In Example 2, I’ll illustrate how to apply the sink and cat functions to create a new text file line by line.

Have a look at the following R code:

sink("my_file2.txt")                                   # Apply sink & cat functions

After running this R syntax, you should find another TXT file called my_file2 in your current working directory that contains exactly the same data as the first file that we have exported in Example 1.


Example 3: Write Lines of Text to TXT File Using cat() Function & append Argument

As a third alternative, I’ll explain in this example how to use the cat function in combination with the append argument to write text lines to a text file.

As you can see in the following R code, we first have to initialize our file without specifying the append argument.

Afterwards, we can add our text line by line using the append argument:

cat(text_lines[1], file = "my_file3.txt", sep = "\n")  # Apply cat & append
cat(text_lines[2], file = "my_file3.txt", sep = "\n", append = TRUE)
cat(text_lines[3], file = "my_file3.txt", sep = "\n", append = TRUE)

At this point, you should find another text file called my_file3 containing the same sentences as in the previous examples.

The advantage of the previously shown code is that you can also add text lines at a later point.


Video, Further Resources & Summary

Do you want to know more about exporting TXT files? Then I can recommend having a look at the following video of my YouTube channel. I show the R programming codes of this article in the video:


The YouTube video will be added soon.


In addition to the video, you could have a look at the related tutorials that I have published on my website.


In summary: In this R programming tutorial you have learned how to write text to TXT files. In case you have any further questions or comments, let me know in the comments below.


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2 Comments. Leave new

  • Buena tu pagina, pero la cantidad de propaganda que tiene, apareciendo una y otra vez, videos que se inician a cada rato… hacen imposible leer el contenido, este se desplaza, desparece, etc, etc,,

    • Hey,

      Thank you for the comment! I don’t speak Spanish, but based on Google Translate I assume that you complain about the number of ads on this website?

      Please note that ads are (currently) the only way I monetize this website. All the content is freely available and this is only possible due to the ads on the site.

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