How to Delete Data Frames in R (With Examples)


The R programming language offers two helpful functions for viewing and removing objects within an R workspace:

  • ls(): List all objects in current workspace
  • rm(): Remove one or more objects from current workspace

This tutorial explains how to use the rm() function to delete data frames in R and the ls() function to confirm that a data frame has been deleted.

Delete a Single Data Frame

The following code shows how to delete a single data frame from your current R workspace:

#list all objects in current R workspace
ls()

[1] "df1" "df2" "df3" "x"

#remove df1
rm(df1)

#list all objects in workspace
ls()

[1] "df2" "df3" "x"  

Delete Multiple Data Frames

The following code shows how to delete multiple data frames from your current R workspace:

#list all objects in current R workspace
ls()

[1] "df1" "df2" "df3" "x"

#remove df1 and df2
rm("df1", "df2")

#list all objects in workspace
ls()

[1] "df3" "x"  

Delete All Data Frames

The following code shows how to delete all objects that are of type “data.frame” in your current R workspace:

#list all objects in current R workspace
ls()

[1] "df1" "df2" "df3" "x"

#remove all objects of type "data.frame"
rm(list=ls(all=TRUE)[sapply(mget(ls(all=TRUE)), class) == "data.frame"])

#list all objects in workspace
ls()

[1] "x" 

You can also use the grepl() function to delete all objects in the workspace that contain the phrase “df”:

#list all objects in current R workspace
ls()

[1] "df1" "df2" "df3" "x"

#remove all objects that contain "df"
rm(list = ls()[grepl("df", ls())])

#list all objects in workspace
ls()

[1] "x" 

Additional Resources

How to Create an Empty Data Frame in R
How to Append Rows to a Data Frame in R

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