Re: [R] Error in fromchar(as.character(x)) : character string is not in a standard unambiguous format

From: Bob Green <>
Date: Fri, 11 Apr 2008 20:47:57 +1000


Thanks for your reply. The data I have was downloaded from a government database so it now seems that the problem is how to convert all the records in the format '1-Apr-08' to the format 2008-04-11.

I can ask the person working on the new version of this database whether they will use this standard, it certainly isn't in common use.

Your explanation did make the help files, which I typically struggle with, clearer.


At 07:03 PM 11/04/2008, you wrote:
>You need to give the format -- might mean 2008-04-01 or 2001-04-08,
>and R refuses to guess.
>Please *do* read the help file (e.g. as.Date) before posting: the
>international standard format is , and Australia has adopted that standard.
>On Fri, 11 Apr 2008, Bob Green wrote:
>>I was hoping for advice regarding resolving the above error.
>Telling R what you intend is the usual way to resolve user errors
>caused by ambiguous input.
>>I have a csv file that contains the following variable:
>> $ Order.Made.Date : Factor w/ 299 levels
>>"1-Apr-08","1-Aug-05",..: 278 285 91 286 159 132 108 261 282 147 ...
>>I want to calculate a variable named F.length, which is today's date
>>minus the values contained in the variable: April$Order.Made.Date)
>>I tried altering the date format but continued to receive the same error.

>> > F.length <- difftime ("11/04/2008", April$Order.Made.Date)
>> > Error in fromchar(as.character(x)) : character string is not in
>>a standard unambiguous format
>> > <- as.Date (April$Order.Made.Date)
>> > Error in fromchar(x) : character string is not in a standard
>>unambiguous format
>> > <- 'as.POSIXlt' (April$Order.Made.Date)
>>Error in fromchar(as.character(x)) : character string is not in a
>>standard unambiguous format
>>Any suggestions are appreciated,
>Brian D. Ripley,
>Professor of Applied Statistics,
>University of Oxford, Tel: +44 1865 272861 (self)
>1 South Parks Road, +44 1865 272866 (PA)
>Oxford OX1 3TG, UK Fax: +44 1865 272595 mailing list PLEASE do read the posting guide and provide commented, minimal, self-contained, reproducible code. Received on Fri 11 Apr 2008 - 10:54:48 GMT

Archive maintained by Robert King, hosted by the discipline of statistics at the University of Newcastle, Australia.
Archive generated by hypermail 2.2.0, at Fri 11 Apr 2008 - 11:30:27 GMT.

Mailing list information is available at Please read the posting guide before posting to the list.

list of date sections of archive