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I find myself counting characters on my screen more often than I feel comfortable doing it. Isn’t it weird to count things by hand when you have the power of R right in front of you? Well, I decided to but a little helper function into my .Rprofile file (i.e. the function is defined with every startup of R and available throughout the session) that cares care of that (and is less error-prone at the same time).

.charind <- function (char) {
lapply(char, FUN = function (x) {
spl <- strsplit(x, "")[[1]]
ret <- 1:length(spl)
names(ret) <- spl
ret
})
}

By the way: Whenever the name of an R object starts with a dot . this object is invisible - so, this little helper will not clutter your RStudio “Environment” pane. Let’s test it:

.charind(c("2020-12-26", "Klärschlammentsorgungsrichtlinie"))
## [[1]]
##  2  0  2  0  -  1  2  -  2  6
##  1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9 10
##
## [[2]]
##  K  l  ä  r  s  c  h  l  a  m  m  e  n  t  s  o  r  g  u  n  g  s  r  i  c  h
##  1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26
##  t  l  i  n  i  e
## 27 28 29 30 31 32

No counting with fingers on the screen anymore…