Data Challenge Lab Home

Separate and unite [wrangle]

(Builds on: Tidy data, Regular expressions)

tidyr::separate() is a useful tool for handling another common type of messiness: when multiple variables are crammed into a single column. Here you’ll learn how to use separate() to pull them out into their own columns.

The sep argument to separate() is a regular expression, which gives you a lot of power. extract() is similar. str_split() is to separate() as str_match() is to extract().

The inverse of separate() is unite(). You use it when you have a variable that is spread across multiple columns. This happens much less commonly.