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Reading from a file
4. Reading a delimiter-separated file
Reading from an Excel file


Good job! Our managers send their production reports in different formats, but we can handle it.

R has a general function, read.table(), that we can use with a number of different file formats. This function has many arguments. The most important argument is sep, which stands for "separator". This tells R which field separator character is being used. When we're using this command to read a CSV file, sep is set to ",". If we use it to read a tab-delimited file, sep is set to \t (which signifies "tab").

Both tab- and comma-separated formats are common, but sometimes we get data separated by another character, such as a semicolon (;). To read this type of file, we'd write:

df_report_thunderrock <- read.table("data/thunderrock_industries.csv", sep = ";")

Note: The read.csv() function is just read.table() with the argument sep = "," built in. The CSV format is so common it has its own reading function in R. Likewise, the read.delim() function is just the read.table() function with the sep argument set to \t (i.e., a tab).


Load the report from the Iron Mountain Mineshaft into memory. Use the file data/iron_mountain_mineshaft.csv and the read.table() function. Set the separator to the semicolon (";"). Assign this to the iron_mountain_mineshaft variable and use the head() function to see how it looks.