Attach & Detach Data Frame in R (Example)

This page shows how to attach and detach data frames in the R programming language.

Example Data

my_data <- data.frame(x = c(7, 1, 1, 5),         # Create example data
                      y = c(3, 2, 3, 1),
                      z = c(8, 5, 8, 2))
my_data                                          # Show data in console
# x y z
# 7 3 8
# 1 2 5
# 1 3 8
# 5 1 2

Example for the Application of attach() & detach()

If we try to use the first column of our example data without the prefix my_data$, the RStudio console returns an error:

x                                                # Try to access the column x
# Error: object 'x' not found

However, we can attach our data frame as follows:

attach(my_data)                                  # Attach data frame

Now, we can access the column x by simply typing it’s name:

x                                                # Try to access the column x
# 7 1 1 5

Once we are finished working on our data, we can detach the data frame:

detach(my_data)                                  # Detach data frame

The column x can not be accessed without the prefix my_data$ anymore:

x                                                # Try to access the column x
# Error: object 'x' not found

The attach and detach functions are very useful when you want to work for a longer time on the same data object. However, you should be careful, because for inexperienced R users the code might get harder to read.

Further Examples for attach & detach in R

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