[R] read.spss (package foreign) and character columns

RINNER Heinrich H.RINNER at tirol.gv.at
Wed Aug 27 18:06:16 CEST 2003

Dear R users!

I am using R Version 1.7.1, Windows XP, package "foreign" (Version: 0.6-1),
SPSS 11.5.1.

There is one thing I noticed with "read.spss", and I'd like to ask if this
is considered to be a feature, or possibly a bug:
When reading character columns, character strings seem to get filled with
blanks at the end.

Simple example:
In SPSS, create a file with one variable called "xchar" of type "A5"
(character of length 5), and  3 values ("a", "ab", "abcde"), save it as

In R:
> library(foreign)
> test <- read.spss("test.sav", to.data.frame=T)
> test
1 a    
2 ab   
3 abcde
> levels(test$XCHAR)
[1] "a    " "ab   " "abcde"

Shouldn't it rather be "a" "ab" "abcde" (no blanks)?


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