data.frame {base}R Documentation

Data Frames


This function creates data frames, tightly coupled collections of variables which share many of the properties of matrices and of lists, used as the fundamental data structure by most of R's modeling software.


data.frame(..., row.names = NULL, check.rows = FALSE,
           check.names = TRUE)


... these arguments are of either the form value or tag=value. Component names are created based on the tag (if present) or the deparsed argument itself.
row.names NULL or an integer or character string specifying a column to be used as row names, or a character vector giving the row names for the data frame.
check.rows if TRUE then the rows are checked for consistency of length and names.
check.names logical. If TRUE then the names of the variables in the data frame are checked to ensure that they are syntactically valid variable names and are not duplicated. If necessary they are adjusted (by make.names) so that they are.


A data frame is a list of variables of the same length with unique row names, given class "data.frame".

data.frame converts each of its arguments to a data frame by calling As that is a generic function, methods can be written to change the behaviour of arguments according to their classes: R comes with many such methods. Character variables passed to data.frame are converted to factor columns unless protected by I. If a list or data frame or matrix is passed to data.frame it is as if each component or column had been passed as a separate argument.

Objects passed to data.frame should have the same number of rows, but atomic vectors, factors and character vectors protected by I will be recycled a whole number of times if necessary.

If row names are not supplied in the call to data.frame, the row names are taken from the first component that has suitable names, for example a named vector or a matrix with rownames or a data frame. (If that component is subsequently recycled, the names are discarded with a warning.) If row.names was supplied as NULL or no suitable component was found the row names are the integer sequence starting at one.

If row names are supplied of length one and the data frame has a single row, the row.names is taken to specify the row names and not a column (by name or number).

Names are removed from vector inputs not protected by I.


A data frame, a matrix-like structure whose columns may be of differing types (numeric, logical, factor and character and so on).


In versions of R prior to 1.4.0 logical columns were converted to factors (as in S3 but not S4).


Chambers, J. M. (1992) Data for models. Chapter 3 of Statistical Models in S eds J. M. Chambers and T. J. Hastie, Wadsworth & Brooks/Cole.

See Also

I,,, row.names, [.data.frame for subsetting methods, etc, about Group methods for data.frames; read.table, make.names.


L3 <- LETTERS[1:3]
(d <- data.frame(cbind(x=1, y=1:10), fac=sample(L3, 10, repl=TRUE)))

## The same with automatic column names:
data.frame(cbind(  1,   1:10),     sample(L3, 10, repl=TRUE))

## do not convert to factor, using I() :
(dd <- cbind(d, char = I(letters[1:10])))
rbind(class=sapply(dd, class), mode=sapply(dd, mode))

stopifnot(1:10 == row.names(d))# {coercion}

(d0  <- d[, FALSE]) # NULL data frame with 10 rows
(d.0 <- d[FALSE, ]) # <0 rows> data frame  (3 cols)
(d00 <- d0[FALSE,])  # NULL data frame with 0 rows

[Package base version 2.1.0 Index]