[R] Reading a tab delimted file of varying length using read.table

Rolf Fankhauser rolf.fankhauser at gepdata.ch
Sun Jan 17 22:42:43 CET 2016

Hello Pradeep

I downloaded divorce.dat but I could not find tabs between the columns.
You defined tab as separator, so your columns should be separated by tabs.
Therefore read.table reads the whole first line and wants to save the 
result as numeric because you defined the first column as numeric.

That's my interpretation
So, use tab, comma or semicolon as delimiter then it should work.


Pradeep Bisht wrote:
> Hello Experts  ,
> Being a SAS developer I am finding it difficult to perform some of data
> cleaning in R that are quite easy to perform in SAS .
> I have been trying to read a .dat file and after a lot of attempts have
> failed to find a solution . Maybe R doesn't have the functionality right
> now or I am not looking in the right place . Here is my code .
> f5=read.table("http://data.princeton.edu/wws509/datasets/divorce.dat
> <http://www.linkedin.com/redir/redirect?url=http%3A%2F%2Fdata%2Eprinceton%2Eedu%2Fwws509%2Fdatasets%2Fdivorce%2Edat&urlhash=GVbR&_t=tracking_anet>
> ",
> header=T,
> sep="\t",
> colClasses = c("numeric", "character", "character","character", "double",
> "character" ) )
> The error i get i
> ​s​
> this .
> Error in scan(file, what, nmax, sep, dec, quote, skip, nlines, na.strings,
> :
> scan() expected 'a real', got '912-15yearsNoNo10.546No'
> Also does read.table always calls scan in background to do its job . If so
> why use read.table in first place .
> Pradeep​

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