[R] not supressing leading zeros when reading a table?

Duncan Murdoch murdoch at stats.uwo.ca
Sun Jul 10 22:20:23 CEST 2005

Adrian Dusa wrote:
> Dear R list,
> I have a dataset with a column which should be read as character, like this:
>   name surname answer
> 1 xx   yyy     "00100"
> 2 rrr  hhh     "01"
> When reading this dataset with read.table, I get
> 1 xx   yyy     100
> 2 rrr  hhh     1
> The string column consists in answers to multiple choice questions, not all 
> having the same number of answers. I could format the answers using formatC but 
> there are over a hundred different questions in there.
> I tried with quote="\"'" without any luck. Googling after this take me nowhere 
> either. It should be simple but I seem to miss it...
> Can anybody point me to the right direction?

By default, read.table guesses about the column type. Yours looks 
numeric, even though it is not.

Use the colClasses argument of read.table to specify the column type. 
If you only have the 3 columns above, colClasses="character" should work.

Duncan Murdoch

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