[R] Replacing tabs with appropriate number of spaces

Dennis Fisher fisher at plessthan.com
Tue Dec 9 17:39:56 CET 2008


Platform: OS X (but issue applies to all platforms)
Version: 2.8.0

I have a mixture of text and data that I am outputting via R to a pdf  
document (using a fixed-width font).  The text contains tabs that  
align columns properly with a fixed-width font in a terminal window.   
However, when the PDF document is created, the concept of a tab is not  
invoked properly and columns do not align.

I could use brute force as follows:
1.  identify lines of text containing tabs
2.  strsplit on tabs
3.  count characters preceding the tab, then replace the tab with the  
appropriate number of spaces (e.g., if the string preceding the tab  
has 29 characters, add 3 spaces), then paste(..., sep="")

However, I am sure a more elegant approach exists.  Can anyone offer  


Dennis Fisher MD
P < (The "P Less Than" Company)
Phone: 1-866-PLessThan (1-866-753-7784)
Fax: 1-415-564-2220

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