Question

[Solved] Add empty columns to a dataframe with specified names from a vector

I have a dataframe, df, with a a number of columns of data already. I have a vector, namevector, full of strings. I need empty columns added to df with the names of the columns from namevector.

I am trying to add columns with this for loop, iterating over each string in namevector.

for (i in length(namevector)) {
  df[, i] <- NA
}

but am left with this error:

Error in [<-.data.frame(*tmp*, , i, value = NA) :
new columns would leave holes after existing columns

Alternatively, I have thought of creating an empty dataframe with the correct names, then cbind-ing the two dataframes together but am not sure how to go about coding this.

How would I go about resolving this?

Solution #1:

The problem with your code is in the line:

for(i in length(namevector))

You need to ask yourself: what is length(namevector)? It’s one number. So essentially you’re saying:

for(i in 11)
df[,i] <- NA

Or more simply:

df[,11] <- NA

That’s why you’re getting an error. What you want is:

for(i in namevector)
    df[,i] <- NA

Or more simply:

df[,namevector] <- NA
Respondent: Señor O

Solution #2:

set.seed(1)
example <- data.frame(col1 = rnorm(10, 0, 1), col2 = rnorm(10, 2, 3))
namevector <- c("col3", "col4")
example[ , namevector] <- NA

example
#          col1       col2 col3 col4
# 1  -0.6264538  6.5353435   NA   NA
# 2   0.1836433  3.1695297   NA   NA
# 3  -0.8356286  0.1362783   NA   NA
# 4   1.5952808 -4.6440997   NA   NA
# 5   0.3295078  5.3747928   NA   NA
# 6  -0.8204684  1.8651992   NA   NA
# 7   0.4874291  1.9514292   NA   NA
# 8   0.7383247  4.8315086   NA   NA
# 9   0.5757814  4.4636636   NA   NA
# 10 -0.3053884  3.7817040   NA   NA
Respondent: dayne

Solution #3:

The below works for me

dataframe[,"newName"] <- NA

Make sure to add "" for new name string.

Respondent: Shubham

Solution #4:

Maybe

df <- do.call("cbind", list(df, rep(list(NA),length(namevector))))
colnames(df)[-1*(1:(ncol(df) - length(namevector)))] <- namevector
Respondent: James Pringle

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