[R] dates() is a great date function in R

Jeffrey J. Hallman jhallman at frb.gov
Thu Jul 26 15:55:13 CEST 2007

Mr Natural <drstrong at ucdavis.edu> writes:

Just save the spreadsheet as a csv file and use tisFromCsv() in the fame
package.  One of the arguments tisFromCsv() takes is a dateFormat, so you can
tell it what format the date column is in.  You can also tell it the name of
the date column if it isn't some variation of DATE, Date, or date.

tisFromCsv() looks at the dates coming in and automatically figures out what
frequency the data are (quarterly, monthly, weekly, daily, etc.) and creates a
univariate or multivariate (if the spreadsheet has more than one data column)
'tis' (Time Indexed Series) object. 


> Proper calendar dates in R are great for plotting and calculating. 
> However for the non-wonks among us, they can be very frustrating.
> I have recently discussed the pains that people in my lab have had 
> with dates in R. Especially the frustration of bringing date data into R 
> from Excel, which we have to do a lot. 
> Please find below a simple analgesic for R date importation that I
> discovered 
> over the last 1.5 days (Learning new stuff in R is calculated in 1/2 days).
> The function    dates()    gives the simplest way to get calendar dates into
> R from Excel that I can find.
> But straight importation of Excel dates, via a csv or txt file, can be a a
> huge pain (I'll give details for anyone who cares to know). 
> My pain killer is:
> Consider that you have Excel columns in month, day, year format. Note that R
> hates date data that does not lead with the year. 
> a. Load the chron library by typing   library(chron)   in the console.
> You know that you need this library from information revealed by 
> performing the query,
> ?dates()"    in the Console window. This gives the R documentation 
> help file for this and related time, date functions.  In the upper left 
> of the documentation, one sees "dates(chron)". This tells you that you
> need the library chron. 
> b. Change the format "dates" in Excel to format "general", which gives 
> 5 digit Julian dates. Import the csv file (I use    read.csv()  with the 
> Julian dates and other data of interest.
> c.  Now, change the Julian dates that came in with the csv file into 
> calendar dates with the    dates() function. Below is my code for performing 
> this activity, concerning an R data file called ss,
> ss holds the Julian dates, illustrated below from the column MPdate,
> >ss$MPdate[1:5]
> [1] 34252 34425 34547 34759 34773
> The dates() function makes calendar dates from Julian dates,
> >dmp<-dates(ss$MPdate,origin=c(month = 1, day = 1, year = 1900))
> > dmp[1:5]
> [1] 10/12/93 04/03/94 08/03/94 03/03/95 03/17/95
> I would appreciate the comments of more sophisticated programmers who
> can suggest streamlining or shortcutting this operation.
> regards, Don
> -- 
> View this message in context: http://www.nabble.com/dates%28%29-is-a-great-date-function-in-R-tf4105322.html#a11675205
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