[R] Variable labels

Nutter, Benjamin NutterB at ccf.org
Wed Jul 18 14:21:03 CEST 2012

I have my own function for doing this that is similar to the one presented below.  Others may have other ideas that work better.  As a general rule, I would caution against writing out just the label without the variable name.  The only reason I see to separate the labels and names is if you are generating a report (and using write.table wouldn't be my first choice for doing that).  However, the function below at least allows you to decide when you call it.  If you want to exclude the names, just set names=FALSE.

#*** possibly buggy.  I didn't do much testing on this function.
write.table.with.labels <- function(data, file, names=TRUE, labels=TRUE, append=FALSE, ...){
  if (names) write.table(t(names(data)), file, col.names=FALSE, ...)
  if (labels) write.table(t(label(data)), file, col.names=FALSE, append=any(c(names, append)), ...)
  write.table(data, file, col.names=FALSE, append=TRUE, any(c(names, labels, append)), ...)

label(mtcars$mpg) <- "Miles per gallon"

write.table.with.labels(mtcars, "test.csv", sep=",")

  Benjamin Nutter |  Biostatistician     |  Quantitative Health Sciences
  Cleveland Clinic    |  9500 Euclid Ave.  |  Cleveland, OH 44195  | (216) 445-1365

-----Original Message-----
From: r-help-bounces at r-project.org [mailto:r-help-bounces at r-project.org] On Behalf Of Francois Maurice
Sent: Tuesday, July 17, 2012 4:36 PM
To: r-help at r-project.org
Subject: [R] Variable labels

I'm using write.table() to export dataframe to Excel. All works fine except that I want to export the variable labels instead of variable names.

 I can see the labels in the R consol using attr(), but I just don't know how to use the labels instead of the names.


François Maurice
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