strwrap {base}R Documentation

Wrap Character Strings to Format Paragraphs


Each character string in the input is first split into paragraphs (or lines containing whitespace only). The paragraphs are then formatted by breaking lines at word boundaries. The target columns for wrapping lines and the indentation of the first and all subsequent lines of a paragraph can be controlled independently.


strwrap(x, width = 0.9 * getOption("width"), indent = 0,
        exdent = 0, prefix = "", simplify = TRUE, initial = prefix)



a character vector, or an object which can be converted to a character vector by as.character.


a positive integer giving the target column for wrapping lines in the output.


a non-negative integer giving the indentation of the first line in a paragraph.


a non-negative integer specifying the indentation of subsequent lines in paragraphs.

prefix, initial

a character string to be used as prefix for each line except the first, for which initial is used.


a logical. If TRUE, the result is a single character vector of line text; otherwise, it is a list of the same length as x the elements of which are character vectors of line text obtained from the corresponding element of x. (Hence, the result in the former case is obtained by unlisting that of the latter.)


Whitespace (space, tab or newline characters) in the input is destroyed. Double spaces after periods, question and explanation marks (thought as representing sentence ends) are preserved. Currently, possible sentence ends at line breaks are not considered specially.

Indentation is relative to the number of characters in the prefix string.


A character vector in the current locale's encoding (if simplify is TRUE), or a list of such character vectors.


## Read in file 'THANKS'.
x <- paste(readLines(file.path(R.home("doc"), "THANKS")), collapse = "\n")
## Split into paragraphs and remove the first three ones
x <- unlist(strsplit(x, "\n[ \t\n]*\n"))[-(1:3)]
## Join the rest
x <- paste(x, collapse = "\n\n")
## Now for some fun:
writeLines(strwrap(x, width = 60))
writeLines(strwrap(x, width = 60, indent = 5))
writeLines(strwrap(x, width = 60, exdent = 5))
writeLines(strwrap(x, prefix = "THANKS> "))

## Note that messages are wrapped AT the target column indicated by
## 'width' (and not beyond it).
## From an R-devel posting by J. Hosking <>.
x <- paste(sapply(sample(10, 100, replace = TRUE),
           function(x) substring("aaaaaaaaaa", 1, x)), collapse = " ")
       c(target = m, actual = max(nchar(strwrap(x, m)))))

[Package base version 2.15.3 Index]