How to Add an Empty Column to a Data Frame in R


You can use the following basic syntax to add one or more empty columns to a data frame in R:

#add one empty column called 'column1' to data frame
df[ , 'column1'] <- NA

#add several empty columns to data frame
empty_cols <- c('column1', 'column2', 'column3')
df[ , empty_cols] <- NA

The following examples show how to use this syntax in practice.

Example 1: Add One Empty Column to Data Frame

The following code shows how to add one empty column to a data frame in R:

#create data frame
df <- data.frame(team=c('Mavs', 'Mavs', 'Spurs', 'Nets'),
                 points=c(99, 90, 84, 96),
                 assists=c(22, 19, 16, 20))

#view data frame
df

   team points assists
1  Mavs     99      22
2  Mavs     90      19
3 Spurs     84      16
4  Nets     96      20

#add new empty column
df[ , 'blocks'] <- NA

#view updated data frame
df

   team points assists blocks
1  Mavs     99      22     NA
2  Mavs     90      19     NA
3 Spurs     84      16     NA
4  Nets     96      20     NA

Example 2: Add Multiple Empty Columns to Data Frame

The following code shows how to add multiple empty columns to a data frame in R:

#create data frame
df <- data.frame(team=c('Mavs', 'Mavs', 'Spurs', 'Nets'),
                 points=c(99, 90, 84, 96),
                 assists=c(22, 19, 16, 20))

#view data frame
df

   team points assists
1  Mavs     99      22
2  Mavs     90      19
3 Spurs     84      16
4  Nets     96      20

#define names of empty columns to add
empty_cols <- c('blocks', 'rebounds', 'steals')

#add multiple empty columns
df[ , empty_cols] <- NA

#view updated data frame
df

   team points assists blocks rebounds steals
1  Mavs     99      22     NA       NA     NA
2  Mavs     90      19     NA       NA     NA
3 Spurs     84      16     NA       NA     NA
4  Nets     96      20     NA       NA     NA

Additional Resources

The following tutorials explain how to create other empty objects in R:

How to Create an Empty Data Frame in R
How to Create an Empty Matrix in R
How to Create an Empty Vector in R
How to Create an Empty List in R (With Examples)

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