tempfile {base}R Documentation

Create Names for Temporary Files


tempfile returns a vector of character strings which can be used as names for temporary files.


tempfile(pattern = "file", tmpdir = tempdir())


pattern a non-empty character vector giving the initial part of the name.
tmpdir a non-empty character vector giving the directory name


If pattern has length greater than one then the result is of the same length giving a temporary file name for each component of pattern.

The names are very likely to be unique among calls to tempfile in an R session and across simultaneous R sessions. The filenames are guaranteed not to be currently in use.

The file name is made of the pattern and a random suffix in hex. By default, the filenames will be in the directory given by tempdir(). This will be a subdirectory of the temporary directory found by the following rule. The environment variables TMPDIR, TMP and TEMP are checked in turn and the first found which points to a writable directory is used: if none succeeds ‘/tmp’ is used.


For tempfile a character vector giving the names of possible (temporary) files. Note that no files are generated by tempfile.
For tempdir, the path of the per-session temporary directory.


Becker, R. A., Chambers, J. M. and Wilks, A. R. (1988) The New S Language. Wadsworth & Brooks/Cole.

See Also

unlink for deleting files.


tempfile(c("ab", "a b c"))   # give file name with spaces in!

tempdir() # working on all platforms with quite platform dependent result

[Package base version 2.5.0 Index]