In R language, list is an object that consists of an ordered collection of objects known as its components. A list in R Language is a structured data that can have any number of any modes (types) of other structured data. That is, one can put any kind of object (like vector, data frame, character object, matrix and/ or array) into one list object.An example of list is

> x <- list(c(1,2,3,5), c(“a”, “b”, “c”, “d”), c(T, T, F, T, F), matrix(1:9, nr = 3) )

that contains 4 components, three of them are vectors (numeric, string and a logical) and one of them is matrix.

An object can also be converted to list by using as.list( ) function. For vector, the disadvantage is that each element of vector becomes a component of that list. For example,

> as.list (1: 10)

Extract components from a list

The operator [[ ]] (double square bracket) is used to extract the components of a list. To extract the second component of list, one can write at R prompt,

> list[[2]]

Using [ ] operator return a list rather than the structured data (component of the list). The component of the list need not to be of the same mode. The components are always numbered. If x1 is the name of a list with four components, then individual components may be referred to as x1[[1]], x1[[2]], x1[[3]], and x1[[4]].

If component of a list are defined then these component can be extracted by using the name of components. For example, a list with named component is

> x1 <- list(a = c(1,2,3,5), b = c(“a”, “b”, “c”, “d”), c = c(T, T, F, T, F), d = matrix(1:9, nr = 3) )

To extract the component a, one can write

> x1\$a
> x1[“a”]
> x1[[“a”]]

To extract more than one component, one can write

> x[c(1,2)]    #extract component one and two
> x[-1]         #extract all component except 1st
> x[[c(1,2)]] #extract 2nd element of component one
> x[[c(2,2)]] #extract 2nd element of component two
> x[[c(2:4)]] #extract all elements of component 2 to 4