[R] Summary tables of large datasets including character and numerical variables

John Kane jrkrideau at yahoo.ca
Tue Dec 27 00:01:41 CET 2011

It would be  very helpful to have an actual sample of your data.

As usual in R there are probably several different ways to approach the problem
but a small sample of the data or a mock-up would be most helpful.

Probably the easiest way to supply some data would be something like

df1 <- mydata[, 100]


and paste the resulting output into a message.  

Sorry I'm not more helpful but seeing real data makes life a lot easier.

----- Original Message -----
From: sparandekar <sparandekar at yahoo.com.ar>
To: r-help at r-project.org
Sent: Monday, December 26, 2011 5:44:53 AM
Subject: [R] Summary tables of large datasets including character and numerical variables

Hello !

I am attempting to switch from being a long time SAS user to R, and would
really appreciate a bit of help ! The first thing I do in getting a large
dataset (thousands of obervations and hundreds of variables) is to run a SAS
command PROC CONTENTS VARNUM command - this provides me a table with the
name of each variable, its type and length;  then I run a PROC MEANS - for
numerical variables it gives me a table with the number of non-missing
values, min, max, mean and std. dev.  My data usually has errors and this
first step helps me to spot the errors and 'clean' the dataset.

The 'summary' function in R and other function as part of Hmisc or Psych
package do not work for me. 

How can I get a table from an R data.frame that has the following structure
(header row and example).

Rowname  Character/Integer  Length   Non-Missing    Minimum          
Maximum              Mean                   SD

HHID            Integer                       12            32,344              
114455007701   514756007812       2.345 x 10^10    1.456 x 10^10
Head            Character                   38            24,566                      
-                                   -                         -                          

Thank you very much. 

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