[R] Reference variables by string in for loop

Kenn Konstabel lebatsnok at gmail.com
Fri Apr 29 13:01:00 CEST 2011

On Fri, Apr 29, 2011 at 1:03 PM, Michael Bach <phaebz at gmail.com> wrote:
> Dear R Users,
> I am trying to get the following to work better:
> namevec <- c("one", "two", "three")
> for (name in namevec) {
>    namedf <- eval(parse(text=paste(name, "_df", sep="")))
>    ...
>    ...
> }
> The rationale behind it being that I created variables with names
> one_df, two_df and three_df earlier in the same script which I want to
> reference inside the for loop.  Is there a more elegant way to do this?

Yes, one elegant way to do it would be using a named list instead of
separate variables.

X <- list()
X$one_df <- "something"
X[["two_df"]] <- "something else"
NAME <- "one_df"
NAME <- "two_df"

# the for loop could then be: for(name in names(X)) ... or for(element in X)

Another way (not elegant but better and shorter than the eval-parse
way) is to use get. ?get

Best regards,


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