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Vectors in R Programming - Everything You Need to Know

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What are Vectors in R?

Vectors are the basic R data objects and there are 6 types of atomic vectors. They can be

  • Integer,
  • Logical,
  • Double,
  • Complex,
  • Character and
  • Raw

Creation of Vector in R

There are two types of vector creation:

  • Single Element Vector
  • Multiple Elements Vector

Single Element Vector

Whenever 1 word is written in R, it becomes a vector of length 1 and fits in one of the above vector types.

#Atomic vector of integer type
#Logical type


sol <- nchar("Counting number of
[1] 52      
[1] TRUE

Multiple Elements Vectors in R Programming

  • Using the Colon operator with numeric data

This operator helps in a constant change over the numeric data with limits.


#Creating sequence
a<- 4:10


[1] 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
[1] 2.2 3.2 4.2

Using sequence(Seq.) operator

#Creating vector by incrementing by 0.2
print(seq(2, 3, by = 0.2))


[1]  2.0 2.2 2.4 2.6 2.8 3.0
  • Accessing Vector Elements 

Indexing helps access the elements of a vector. The[ ] brackets are used for indexing.

Indexing starts with the number 1 position. A negative value in the index rejects that element from the output.  0 and 1 or TRUE and FALSE can be used for indexing.

#accessing vector elements
x<- c("letter one", "letter two", "letter three", "four", "five", "six")
b<- x[c(1,3,6)]
#Usage of  logical Index
#Using negative indexing
e<- x[c(-1,-2,-3,-4)]


[1] "letter one" "letter three" "six"
[1] "letter three" "four"
[1] "five" "six"

Vector Manipulation in R

  • Vector Arithmetic

Two vectors having the same length can do arithmetic operations such as addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division to get vector output.

  • Vector Element Recycling

When applying arithmetic operations to two vectors of unequal length, the elements of the shorter vector are recycled to complete the operations.


a <- c(2,4,6,8)
b <- c(3,8)
#b becomes c(3,8,3,8)
add.op <- a+b


[1]  5  12  9  16

Check out the top R Programming Interview Questions to learn what is expected from R Programming professionals!

  • Vector Element Sorting

The sorting of elements in a vector takes place in ascending or descending order. It can be either numbers or characters.


a <- c(2, 5, -6, 0) 
#sorting elements of vector
sort.sol <- sort(a)
#sorting character vectors in decreasing order
b <- c("Blue", "Red", "Green")
revsort.sol <- sort(b, decreasing = TRUE)


[1] -6 0 2 5
[1] "Blue" "Green" "Red"

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About the Author

Principal Data Scientist

Meet Akash, a Principal Data Scientist who worked as a Supply Chain professional with expertise in demand planning, inventory management, and network optimization. With a master’s degree from IIT Kanpur, his areas of interest include machine learning and operations research.