subset {base}R Documentation

Subsetting Vectors, Matrices and Data Frames


Return subsets of vectors, matrices or data frames which meet conditions.


subset(x, ...)

## Default S3 method:
subset(x, subset, ...)

## S3 method for class 'matrix':
subset(x, subset, select, drop = FALSE, ...)

## S3 method for class 'data.frame':
subset(x, subset, select, drop = FALSE, ...)


x object to be subsetted.
subset logical expression indicating elements or rows to keep: missing values are taken as false.
select expression, indicating columns to select from a data frame.
drop passed on to [ indexing operator.
... further arguments to be passed to or from other methods.


This is a generic function, with methods supplied for matrices, data frames and vectors (including lists). Packages and users can add further methods.

For ordinary vectors, the result is simply x[subset & !].

For data frames, the subset argument works on the rows. Note that subset will be evaluated in the data frame, so columns can be referred to (by name) as variables in the expression (see the examples).

The select argument exists only for the methods for data frames and matrices. It works by first replacing column names in the selection expression with the corresponding column numbers in the data frame and then using the resulting integer vector to index the columns. This allows the use of the standard indexing conventions so that for example ranges of columns can be specified easily, or single columns can be dropped (see the examples).

The drop argument is passed on to the indexing method for matrices and data frames: note that the default for matrices is different from that for indexing.


An object similar to x contain just the selected elements (for a vector), rows and columns (for a matrix or data frame), and so on.


Peter Dalgaard and Brian Ripley

See Also

[, transform


subset(airquality, Temp > 80, select = c(Ozone, Temp))
subset(airquality, Day == 1, select = -Temp)
subset(airquality, select = Ozone:Wind)

with(airquality, subset(Ozone, Temp > 80))

## sometimes requiring a logical 'subset' argument is a nuisance
nm <- rownames(state.x77)
start_with_M <- nm %in% grep("^M", nm, value=TRUE)
subset(state.x77, start_with_M, Illiteracy:Murder)

[Package base version 2.5.0 Index]