# Useful R snippets

March 18, 2012
By

(photo credit) In this post we collect several R one- or few-liners that we consider useful. As our minds tend to forget these little fragments we jot them down here so we will find them again.

### Indexing in nested loops

Every once in a while I run a nested loop like the following one.

```for (i in 1:3)
for (j in 1:4)
print(paste(i, j))
```

Now if I want to save all the subsequent values in a vector I might do it like this.

```res for (i in 1:3)
for (j in 1:4)
res[(i-1)*4 + j]  ```

This is pretty tedious especially when more than two loops are nested. A simple though less efficient alternative is to use the append function.

```res for (i in 1:3)
for (j in 1:4)
res ```

### Subsequently re-calling a function that takes two arguments

Suppose we wanted to call a function that takes two arguments and use the results as a argument to the same function again. For example may want to sum up the values 1 to 5 Of course the function sum will do this for us, but what if this function didn’t exist? We might of course write:

```1 + 2 + 3 + 4 + 5
```

But how do that in a single function call? Using do.call or the like will not work, as the function "+" takes two arguments.

```do.call("+", list(1:5))
```

The trick is to use the function Reduce.

```Reduce("+", 1:5)
> 15
```

### Evaluating an R command stored in a character string

From time to time, you may encounter situations where you have to evaluate a command which is stored in a character string. For example, let’s assume that we have the following variables:

```name1 <- "Steve"
name2 <- "Bill"
value1 value2 ```

Now, what would you do if you have to create a vector with entries whose value is stored in the variables value1 and value2 and entry names whose value is stored in the variables name1 and name2? You can write:

```command command
eval(parse(text=command))
```

### Creating an empty dataframe with zero rows

Sometimes I want to fill up a dataframe from the frist row on. It might be useful do start off with a dataframe with zero rows for that purpose. The function numeric or character do the job. In case we wanted to specify a factor with predefined levels also factor may be useful.

```data.frame(a=numeric(), b=numeric())
data.frame(a=numeric(), b=character(), c=factor(levels=1:10), stringsAsFactors=F)
```

… to be continued.

Tamas and Mark

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