Read a DBF File
The function reads a DBF file into a data frame, converting character fields to factors, and trying to respect NULL fields.
The DBF format is documented but not much adhered to. There is is no guarantee this will read all DBF files.
read.dbf(file, as.is = FALSE)
- name of input file
- should character vectors not be converted to factors?
DBF is the extension used for files written for the XBASE family of database languages, covering the dBase, Clipper, FoxPro, and their Windows equivalents Visual dBase, Visual Objects, and Visual FoxPro, plus some older products (http://www.clicketyclick.dk/databases/xbase/format/). Most of these follow the file structure used by Ashton-Tate's dBase II, III or 4 (later owned by Borland).
read.dbf is based on C code from
http://shapelib.maptools.org/ which implements the
XBASE specification. It can convert fields of type
"F" (numeric and float)
"D" (dates): all other field types are read as-is as
character vectors. A numeric field is read as an R integer vector if
it is encoded to have no decimals, otherwise as a numeric vector. However,
if the numbers are too large to fit into an integer vector, it is
changed to numeric. Note that is possible to read integers that cannot be
represented exactly even as doubles: this sometimes occurs if IDs are
incorrectly coded as numeric.
A data frame of data from the DBF file; note that the field names are
adjusted to use in R using
make.names(unique=TRUE).There is an attribute
"data_type"giving the single-character dBase types for each field.
Not to be able to read a particular DBF file is not a bug: this is a convenience function especially for shapefiles.
x <- read.dbf(system.file("files/sids.dbf", package="foreign")) str(x) summary(x)