Moving R objects (July 28, 2005)

I regularly work from home on my laptop, and when I need to re-run some analyses in R, I usually just re-create the original data sets. But there are several ways you can transfer objects from one R system to another.

The dump function creates a text file with the R commands needed to re-create the objects.

> a <- sample(letters,10)
> a
[1] "y" "f" "r" "k" "t" "x" "u" "a" "q" "v"
> b <- sample(1:100,10)
> b
[1] 51 78 68 13 55 76 90 32 30 43
> dump(c("a","b"),file="d:/Data/dump.txt")

Here's what the file looks like:

"a" <-
c("y", "f", "r", "k", "t", "x", "u", "a", "q", "v")
"b" <-
as.integer(c(51, 78, 68, 13, 55, 76, 90, 32, 30, 43))

You could then use the source function in R to re-create the objects. Note that you have to put the object names in quotes. If I had said


the system would have looked for objects names y, f, etc. producing either an error, when the objects were not found or an unexpected list of objects.

The save command creates a binary file (typically, this uses the extension .Rdata). You can't look at a binary file to see what is inside, but a binary file allows more efficient and more accurate storage of the objects. You would use the load function or possibly the attach function in R to re-create the data.

To save everything, use the function


and then use


to re-create the data.

Creative Commons License This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 United States License. It was written by Steve Simon.

This page was written by Steve Simon while working at Children's Mercy Hospital. Although I do not hold the copyright for this material, I am reproducing it here as a service, as it is no longer available on the Children's Mercy Hospital website. Need more information? I have a page with general help resources. You can also browse for pages similar to this one at Category: Data management or Category: R software.