Manipulating Files in R: Renaming

R is not just for statistics, it provides many other functions that can make life much easier. In this post I provide a solution for renaming different files.


I wanted to remove the substrings ‘TextGrid’ and ‘Sound’ from a list of Praat generated filesnames. The filenames had the following form:



#Using R to Replace FileNames

path_origin <- “C:\\Sounds\\”

files <- list.files(path_origin) # Get a list of files in R.

xfiles <- paste(path_origin, files, sep = “”) # add the full path, (I removed the space inserted between two concatenated strings by using sep=””)

sapply(path_origin, function(path_origin) # sapply(list, function, …, simplify)


file.rename(xfiles, sub(“Sound “, “”, xfiles)) # renaming the files by using the sub() function, the first argument xfiles is the list of files, the second is the new name for each file. It simply removes “Sound “.



You may use this solution to change part of the filename or the file extension by choosing the appropriate sub() parameters.

! Be careful with the choice of the path and the sub() parameters; if you choose the wrong parameters then you may get unexpected results.

More Information

R Library: Advanced functions

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.


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