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Replace Spaces in Column Names in R DataFrame

  • Last Updated : 23 Sep, 2021

In this article, we will replace spaces in column names of a dataframe in R Programming Language.

Let’s create a Dataframe with 4 columns with 3 rows:


# create  a dataframe with 4 columns and 3 rows
data = data.frame("web technologies" = c("php","html","js"),
                  "backend  tech" = c("sql","oracle","mongodb"),
                  "middle ware technology" = c("java",".net","python"))
# display


In the above example, we can see that there are blank spaces in column names, so we will replace that blank spaces

Method 1: Using gsub() Function

In this methods we will use gsub function, gsub() function in R Language is used to replace all the matches of a pattern from a string. If the pattern is not found the string will be returned as it is.

Syntax: gsub(” “, “replace”, colnames(dataframe))


  • first parameter takes space
  • second parameter takes replacing character that replaces blank space
  • third parameter takes column names of the dataframe by using colnames() function

Example: R program to create a dataframe and replace dataframe columns with different synbols


# create  a dataframe with 4 columns and 3 rows
data=data.frame("web technologies"=c("php","html","js"), 
                "backend  tech"=c("sql","oracle","mongodb"),
                "middle ware technology"= c("java",".net","python"),
# replace blank with underscore             
print( gsub(" ", "_", colnames(data)))
# replace blank with dot operator             
print( gsub(" ", ".", colnames(data)))
# replace blank with * operator             
print( gsub(" ", "*", colnames(data)))


[1] “web_technologies”       “backend__tech”          “middle_ware_technology”

[1] “web.technologies”       “”          “”

[1] “web*technologies”       “backend**tech”          “middle*ware*technology”

Method 2: Using make.names() function

We can do this by using make.names() function.

Syntax: make.names(colnames(dataframe))

Where, dataframe is the input dataframe

Example: R program to replace dataframe column names using make.names


# create  a dataframe with 4 columns and 3 rows
data = data.frame("web technologies" = c("php","html","js"), 
                  "backend  tech" = c("sql","oracle","mongodb"),
                  "middle ware technology" = c("java",".net","python"),
                  check.names = FALSE)
# replace blank by using make.names             
print( make.names(colnames(data)))


[1] “web.technologies”       “”          “”

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