How to Create an Empty Vector in R (With Examples)


You can use one of the following methods to create an empty vector in R:

#create empty vector with length zero and no specific class
empty_vec <- vector()

#create empty vector with length zero and a specific class
empty_vec <- character()

#create empty vector with specific length
empty_vec <- rep(NA, times=10)

The following examples show how to use each of these methods in practice.

Method 1: Create Empty Vector with Length Zero

The following code shows how to create a vector with a length of zero and no specific class:

#create empty vector with length zero and no specific class
empty_vec <- vector()

#display length of vector
length(empty_vec)

[1] 0

We can then fill the vector with values if we’d like:

#add values 1 through 10 to empty vector
empty_vec <- c(empty_vec, 1:10)

#view updated vector
empty_vec

[1]  1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9 10

Method 2: Create Empty Vector of Specific Class

The following code shows how to create empty vectors of specific classes:

#create empty vector of class 'character'
empty_vec <- character()

class(empty_vec)

[1] "character"

#create empty vector of class 'numeric'
empty_vec <- numeric()

class(empty_vec)

numeric(0)

#create empty vector of class 'logical'
empty_vec <- logical()

class(empty_vec)

logical(0)

Method 3: Create Empty Vector with Specific Length

The following code shows how to create a vector with a specific length in R:

#create empty vector with length 10
empty_vec <- rep(NA, times=10)

#display empty vector
empty_vec

[1] NA NA NA NA NA NA NA NA NA NA

If you know the length of the vector at the outset, this is the most memory-efficient solution in R.

Additional Resources

How to Create an Empty List in R
How to Create an Empty Data Frame in R
How to Convert List to Vector in R
How to Convert Data Frame Column to Vector in R

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