Find Objects by (Partial) Name

apropos() returns a character vector giving the names of objects in the search list matching (as a regular expression) what.

find() returns where objects of a given name can be found.

data, environment, documentation
apropos(what, where = FALSE, ignore.case = TRUE, mode = "any")

find(what, mode = "any", numeric = FALSE, simple.words = TRUE)


character string. For simple.words = FALSE the name of an object; otherwise a regular expression to match object names against.

where, numeric

a logical indicating whether positions in the search list should also be returned


logical indicating if the search should be case-insensitive, TRUE by default.


character; if not "any", only objects whose mode equals mode are searched.


logical; if TRUE, the what argument is only searched as a whole word.


If mode != "any" only those objects which are of mode mode are considered.

find is a different user interface for a similar task to apropos. By default (simple.words == TRUE), only whole names are matched. Unlike apropos, matching is always case-sensitive.

Unlike the default behaviour of ls, names which begin with a . are included (and these are often ‘internal’ objects --- as from R 3.4.0 most such are excluded).


For apropos, a character vector sorted by name. For where = TRUE this has names giving the (numerical) positions on the search path.

For find, either a character vector of environment names or (for numeric = TRUE) a numerical vector of positions on the search path with names the names of the corresponding environments.

See Also

glob2rx to convert wildcard patterns to regular expressions.

objects for listing objects from one place, help.search for searching the help system, search for the search path.

  • apropos
  • find
library(utils) # NOT RUN { require(stats) # } # NOT RUN { <!-- %% some of these have enormous output that varies a lot by version --> # } # NOT RUN { apropos("lm") # } # NOT RUN { apropos("GLM") # several apropos("GLM", ignore.case = FALSE) # not one apropos("lq") cor <- 1:pi find("cor") #> ".GlobalEnv" "package:stats" find("cor", numeric = TRUE) # numbers with these names find("cor", numeric = TRUE, mode = "function") # only the second one rm(cor) # } # NOT RUN { apropos(".", mode="list") # a long list # } # NOT RUN { # need a DOUBLE backslash '\\' (in case you don't see it anymore) apropos("\\[") # } # NOT RUN { # everything % not diff-able length(apropos(".")) # those starting with 'pr' apropos("^pr") # the 1-letter things apropos("^.$") # the 1-2-letter things apropos("^..?$") # the 2-to-4 letter things apropos("^.{2,4}$") # the 8-and-more letter things apropos("^.{8,}$") table(nchar(apropos("^.{8,}$"))) # }
Documentation reproduced from package utils, version 3.6.2, License: Part of R 3.6.2

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