Manipulate File Paths

basename removes all of the path up to and including the last path separator (if any).

dirname returns the part of the path up to but excluding the last path separator, or "." if there is no path separator.

basename(path) dirname(path)
character vector, containing path names.

For dirname tilde expansion of the path is done.

Trailing path separators are removed before dissecting the path, and for dirname any trailing file separators are removed from the result.


A character vector of the same length as path. A zero-length input will give a zero-length output with no error.Paths not containing any separators are taken to be in the current directory, so dirname returns ".".If an element of path is NA, so is the result."" is not a valid pathname, but is returned unchanged.


These are not wrappers for the POSIX system functions of the same names: in particular they do not have the special handling of the path "/" and of returning "." for empty strings.

Behaviour on Windows

On Windows this will accept either \ or / as the path separator, but dirname will return a path using / (except if on a network share, when the leading \\ will be preserved). Expect these only to be able to handle complete paths, and not for example just a network share or a drive. UTF-8-encoded path names not valid in the current locale can be used.

See Also

file.path, path.expand.

  • basename
  • dirname
library(base) basename(file.path("","p1","p2","p3", c("file1", "file2"))) dirname(file.path("","p1","p2","p3","filename"))
Documentation reproduced from package base, version 3.0.3, License: Part of R 3.0.3

Community examples

Looks like there are no examples yet.