Apply-style commands in R

March 14, 2013

(This article was first published on The Data Monkey, and kindly contributed to R-bloggers)

Here’s a quick table of what I think are the most useful apply-style commands in R:

Function Input Output Best for
apply Rectangular Rectangular or vector Applying function to rows or columns
lapply Anything List Non-trivial operations on almost any data type
sapply Anything Simplified (if possible) or list Same as lapply, but with simplified output
plyr::ddply data.frame data.frame Applying function to groupings defined by variables

For alternatives to plyr, see this post on StackOverflow.

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