[R] converting character strings to numbers

From: Andrew J Tyre <atyre2_at_unlnotes.unl.edu>
Date: Thu, 14 Jun 2007 20:59:33 -0500


I have a comma delimited text file in which many columns of numbers are also quoted and have commas as well as decimals. I was surprised to find read.csv() didn't import this seamlessly, even after messing around with the colClasses argument. I did find a solution to convert the character strings after reading them in, but wonder if there isn't a better one I overlooked.

test = c("10,522.5","11,768.9","11,354.3") as.numeric(test) # fails
as.numeric(gsub(",","",test)) # works

Any suggestions? Or is this as good as it gets? I'm not complaining ... just curious!

Drew Tyre

School of Natural Resources
University of Nebraska-Lincoln
416 Hardin Hall, East Campus
Lincoln, NE 68583-0974
phone: +1 402 472 4054 fax: +1 402 472 2946 email: atyre2_at_unl.edu
http://snr.unl.edu/tyre

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