strsplit in R: How to Split String in R with Delimiter

The string is a collection of combined letters and words. String manipulation is a common operation in R programming. concatenation, splitting, and joining are common operations we need to perform on the string.

strsplit() in R

The strsplit() is a built-in R function that splits the string vector into sub-strings. The strsplit() method returns the list, where each list item resembles the item of input that has been split. It splits a character string or vector of character strings using a regular expression or a literal string and returns the substring list.


strsplit(x, split, fixed=T)


  1. x:  It is a character string or vector stings.
  2. split: It is the character string to split x. It splits the strings into required formats.
  3. fixed: It matches the split or uses the regular expression.

How to split string in R

To split string in R, use the strsplit() method. The strsplit() method accepts the character or vector string and character string to split and return the formatted string.

rs <- ("This is First R String Example")
strsplit(rs, split = " ")


[1] "This" "is" "First" "R" "String" "Example"

In this example, we are using space as a delimiter and splits the string from the space.

Use strsplit() function with delimiter in R

A delimiter in programming is a symbol or a special character or value that separates the words or text in the data.

Let’s use the character as a delimiter and split string from that character.

rs <- ("This&is&First&R&String&Example")
strsplit(rs, split = "&")


[1] "This" "is" "First" "R" "String" "Example"

In this case, the input text has the & as a delimiter. Then, we removed the delimiter and get the text as a list of strings. The strsplit() method removed the delimiter from the input string and returned the strings as a list.

Use strsplit() function with Regular Expression delimiter

Regular expressions are a compact and flexible way of describing patterns in strings. The strsplit() split the elements of a character vector into substrings according to the matches to substring split within them.

rs <- ("This12is3First4R5String6Example")
strsplit(rs, split = "[0-9]+")


[1] "This" "is" "First" "R" "String" "Example"

In this example, our input has the numbers lie between 0-9. We used the regular expression as [0-9]+ to split the data by removing the numbers. The strsplit() function will return the list of strings as output, as shown above.

How to split each character of a string in R

To split each character of a string in R, pass an empty string in delimiter, and it will split each character.

rs <- ("This12is3First4R5String6Example")
strsplit(rs, split = "")


[1] "T" "h" "i" "s" "1" "2" "i" "s" "3" "F" "i" "r" "s" "t" "4" "R" "5" "S" "t"
[20] "r" "i" "n" "g" "6" "E" "x" "a" "m" "p" "l" "e"


The strsplit() function is extensively used and most popular in terms of splitting the strings. In the R language, we use the paste() function to concatenate and the strsplit() function to split the string. Let’s see how to split the string.

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