vroom_fwf: Read a fixed width file into a tibble

View source: R/vroom_fwf.R

vroom_fwfR Documentation

Read a fixed width file into a tibble


Read a fixed width file into a tibble


  col_positions = fwf_empty(file, skip, n = guess_max),
  col_types = NULL,
  col_select = NULL,
  id = NULL,
  locale = default_locale(),
  na = c("", "NA"),
  comment = "",
  skip_empty_rows = TRUE,
  trim_ws = TRUE,
  skip = 0,
  n_max = Inf,
  guess_max = 100,
  altrep = TRUE,
  altrep_opts = deprecated(),
  num_threads = vroom_threads(),
  progress = vroom_progress(),
  show_col_types = NULL,
  .name_repair = "unique"

fwf_empty(file, skip = 0, col_names = NULL, comment = "", n = 100L)

fwf_widths(widths, col_names = NULL)

fwf_positions(start, end = NULL, col_names = NULL)




Either a path to a file, a connection, or literal data (either a single string or a raw vector).

Files ending in .gz, .bz2, .xz, or .zip will be automatically uncompressed. Files starting with ⁠http://⁠, ⁠https://⁠, ⁠ftp://⁠, or ⁠ftps://⁠ will be automatically downloaded. Remote gz files can also be automatically downloaded and decompressed.

Literal data is most useful for examples and tests. To be recognised as literal data, the input must be either wrapped with I(), be a string containing at least one new line, or be a vector containing at least one string with a new line.

Using a value of clipboard() will read from the system clipboard.


Column positions, as created by fwf_empty(), fwf_widths() or fwf_positions(). To read in only selected fields, use fwf_positions(). If the width of the last column is variable (a ragged fwf file), supply the last end position as NA.


One of NULL, a cols() specification, or a string. See vignette("readr") for more details.

If NULL, all column types will be inferred from guess_max rows of the input, interspersed throughout the file. This is convenient (and fast), but not robust. If the guessed types are wrong, you'll need to increase guess_max or supply the correct types yourself.

Column specifications created by list() or cols() must contain one column specification for each column. If you only want to read a subset of the columns, use cols_only().

Alternatively, you can use a compact string representation where each character represents one column:

  • c = character

  • i = integer

  • n = number

  • d = double

  • l = logical

  • f = factor

  • D = date

  • T = date time

  • t = time

  • ? = guess

  • _ or - = skip

By default, reading a file without a column specification will print a message showing what readr guessed they were. To remove this message, set show_col_types = FALSE or set 'options(readr.show_col_types = FALSE).


Columns to include in the results. You can use the same mini-language as dplyr::select() to refer to the columns by name. Use c() to use more than one selection expression. Although this usage is less common, col_select also accepts a numeric column index. See ?tidyselect::language for full details on the selection language.


The name of a column in which to store the file path. This is useful when reading multiple input files and there is data in the file paths, such as the data collection date. If NULL (the default) no extra column is created.


The locale controls defaults that vary from place to place. The default locale is US-centric (like R), but you can use locale() to create your own locale that controls things like the default time zone, encoding, decimal mark, big mark, and day/month names.


Character vector of strings to interpret as missing values. Set this option to character() to indicate no missing values.


A string used to identify comments. Any text after the comment characters will be silently ignored.


Should blank rows be ignored altogether? i.e. If this option is TRUE then blank rows will not be represented at all. If it is FALSE then they will be represented by NA values in all the columns.


Should leading and trailing whitespace (ASCII spaces and tabs) be trimmed from each field before parsing it?


Number of lines to skip before reading data.


Maximum number of lines to read.


Maximum number of lines to use for guessing column types. Will never use more than the number of lines read. See vignette("column-types", package = "readr") for more details.


Control which column types use Altrep representations, either a character vector of types, TRUE or FALSE. See vroom_altrep() for for full details.

altrep_opts \Sexpr[results=rd, stage=render]{lifecycle::badge("deprecated")}

The number of processing threads to use for initial parsing and lazy reading of data. If your data contains newlines within fields the parser should automatically detect this and fall back to using one thread only. However if you know your file has newlines within quoted fields it is safest to set num_threads = 1 explicitly.


Display a progress bar? By default it will only display in an interactive session and not while knitting a document. The automatic progress bar can be disabled by setting option readr.show_progress to FALSE.


If FALSE, do not show the guessed column types. If TRUE always show the column types, even if they are supplied. If NULL (the default) only show the column types if they are not explicitly supplied by the col_types argument.


Handling of column names. The default behaviour is to ensure column names are "unique". Various repair strategies are supported:

  • "minimal": No name repair or checks, beyond basic existence of names.

  • "unique" (default value): Make sure names are unique and not empty.

  • "check_unique": No name repair, but check they are unique.

  • "unique_quiet": Repair with the unique strategy, quietly.

  • "universal": Make the names unique and syntactic.

  • "universal_quiet": Repair with the universal strategy, quietly.

  • A function: Apply custom name repair (e.g., name_repair = make.names for names in the style of base R).

  • A purrr-style anonymous function, see rlang::as_function().

This argument is passed on as repair to vctrs::vec_as_names(). See there for more details on these terms and the strategies used to enforce them.


Either NULL, or a character vector column names.


Number of lines the tokenizer will read to determine file structure. By default it is set to 100.


Width of each field. Use NA as width of last field when reading a ragged fwf file.

start, end

Starting and ending (inclusive) positions of each field. Use NA as last end field when reading a ragged fwf file.


If the first element is a data frame, then it must have all numeric columns and either one or two rows. The column names are the variable names. The column values are the variable widths if a length one vector, and if length two, variable start and end positions. The elements of ... are used to construct a data frame with or or two rows as above.


Note: fwf_empty() cannot take a R connection such as a URL as input, as this would result in reading from the connection twice. In these cases it is better to download the file first before reading.


fwf_sample <- vroom_example("fwf-sample.txt")

# You can specify column positions in several ways:
# 1. Guess based on position of empty columns
vroom_fwf(fwf_sample, fwf_empty(fwf_sample, col_names = c("first", "last", "state", "ssn")))
# 2. A vector of field widths
vroom_fwf(fwf_sample, fwf_widths(c(20, 10, 12), c("name", "state", "ssn")))
# 3. Paired vectors of start and end positions
vroom_fwf(fwf_sample, fwf_positions(c(1, 30), c(20, 42), c("name", "ssn")))
# 4. Named arguments with start and end positions
vroom_fwf(fwf_sample, fwf_cols(name = c(1, 20), ssn = c(30, 42)))
# 5. Named arguments with column widths
vroom_fwf(fwf_sample, fwf_cols(name = 20, state = 10, ssn = 12))

vroom documentation built on Oct. 2, 2023, 5:07 p.m.