Export DataFrame to Text File in R

Use R base function wirte.table() to export the data from R DataFrame to a text file. Besides this, R also provides a third-party package to write the text file. In this article, I will explain different ways to export data from a DataFrame to a text file.

1. Quick Examples of Export to Text File

Following are quick examples.


# Quick Examples

# Write tab delimiter text file
write.table(df,"/Users/admin/fileOut.txt")

# Write comma delimiter text file
write.table(df,"/Users/admin/fileOut.txt", sep=",")

# Ignore row names/numbers
write.table(df,"/Users/admin/fileOut.txt", row.names=FALSE)

# Replaces NA with specified string.
write.table(df,"/Users/admin/fileOut.txt", na='')

# Write with UTF-8 encoding
write.table(df,"/Users/admin/fileOut.txt", fileEncoding='UTF-8')

Let’s create an R DataFrame and run these examples.


# Create DataFrame
df <- data.frame(
  id = c(10,11,12,13),
  name = c('sai','ram','deepika','sahithi'),
  gender = c('M','M',NA,'F'),
  dob = as.Date(c('1990-10-02','1981-3-24','1987-6-14','1985-8-16')),
  state = c('CA','NY',NA,NA)
)
df

Yields below output.


# Output
  id    name gender        dob state
1 10     sai      M 1990-10-02    CA
2 11     ram      M 1981-03-24    NY
3 12 deepika   <NA> 1987-06-14  <NA>
4 13 sahithi      F 1985-08-16  <NA>

2. Usage of write.table()

R base function has a write.table() function which is used to export the data frame data into a text file. This function takes several arguments that can be used to specify what and how you wanted to write. For example use sep to specify the delimiter, use quote=FALSE to ignore quotes for the values, use row.names=FALSE to ignore row names.

Note that using write.table() you can’t ignore column names while writing.

2.1 Syntax of write.table()

The following is the syntax of write.table() function.


# Syntax of write.table()
write.table(x, file = "", append = FALSE, quote = TRUE, sep = " ",
            eol = "\n", na = "NA", dec = ".", row.names = TRUE,
            col.names = TRUE, qmethod = c("escape", "double"),
            fileEncoding = "")

2.2 Export to Text File in R using write.table()

By using the above specified write.table() syntax export the data from DataFrame to a text file. This by default exports tab delimiter fields.


# Write tab delimiter text file
write.table(df,"/Users/admin/fileOut.txt")

This writes the fileOut.txt at the specified path.

r export text file

2.3 Export with comma Separator

By default write.table() writes data with tab-separated fields, if you wanted to use a custom delimiter use sep argument.


# Write comma delimiter text file
write.table(df,"/Users/admin/fileOut.txt", sep=",")

This creates a text file with comma-separated columns.

r export text files

2.4 Ignore Row Names/Numbers

Use row.names=FALSE argument to not to export row names/numbers to a file.


# Ignore row names/numbers
write.table(df,"/Users/admin/fileOut.txt", row.names=FALSE)

Writes below content.

r write text file

2.5 Replace NA Missing Values

If you have NA values on DataFrame, you can specify how you wanted to write these NA values on text file by using na argument. The following example replaces all NA values with empty string.


# Replaces NA with specified string.
write.table(df,"/Users/admin/fileOut.txt", na='')

3. Use readr Package to Export Text File

If you are working with larger data, you should use the write_csv() function readr package. readr is a third-party library hence, in order to use readr library, you need to first install it by using install.packages('readr'). Once installation completes, load the readr library in order to use this write_csv() method. To load a library in R use library("readr").

This by default exports fields separated by comma delimiter and you can’t change it.


# Load readr package
library(readr)

# Write to CSV file
write_csv(df, "/Users/admin/new_file.csv")

4. Conclusion

In this article, you have learned write.table() is used to export the text file in R. This function by default exports fields in the tab separator, you can change this by using sep argument.

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References

r export text

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