[Rd] Problem exporting table with many columns to dbf

Roger Bivand Roger.bivand at nhh.no
Wed Aug 31 12:35:24 CEST 2011

Nacho Uve <nachouve <at> gmail.com> writes:

> Hello,
> I'm newbie in R and I have a problem exporting a table with many columns to
> a dbf file.

In many sources, the maximum number of fields is said to be 128 or 255. I have
seen a reference to 1024. It varies a great deal with the software being used.
DBF is certainly not a good choice for writing objects with many columns. The
page refered to on ?write.dbf:


gives 128 fields; on googling for "DBF maximum number of fields", I see that:


gets to 1023/4, but there are reports of very varying behaviour across different
applications. Anything over 128 may be tempting fate.

> I found an error when I open the result DBF file on other software and also
> importing it on R again.
> Here a example snippet of the problem (on a GNU/Linux OS):
> http://pastebin.com/0SMJqqwb
> Is it a bug?

No, more an infelicity of a legacy format with unspecified extensions.

Hope this clarifies,


> Thank you,
> Nacho V

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