detach {base}R Documentation

Detach Objects from the Search Path


Detach a database, i.e., remove it from the search() path of available R objects. Usually, this is either a data.frame which has been attached or a package which was required previously.


detach(name, pos = 2, version)


name The object to detach. Defaults to search()[pos]. This can be an unquoted name or a character string but not a character vector. If a number is supplied this is taken as pos.
pos Index position in search() of database to detach. When name is a number, pos = name is used.
version A character string denoting a version number of the package to be removed. This should be used only with a versioned installation of the package: see library.


This most commonly used with a single number argument referring to a position on the search list, and can also be used with a unquoted or quoted name of an item on the search list such as package:tools.

When a package have been loaded with an explicit version number it can be detached using the name shown by search or by supplying name and version: see the examples.


The attached database is returned invisibly, either as data.frame or as list.


You cannot detach either the workspace (position 1) or the base package (the last item in the search list).


Becker, R. A., Chambers, J. M. and Wilks, A. R. (1988) The New S Language. Wadsworth & Brooks/Cole.

See Also

attach, library, search, objects.


## could equally well use detach("package:splines")
## but NOT  pkg <- "package:splines"; detach(pkg)
## Instead, use
pkg <- "package:splines"
detach(pos = match(pkg, search()))

## careful: do not do this unless 'splines' is not already loaded.
detach(2)# 'pos' used for 'name'

## an example of the name argument to attach
## and of detaching a database named by a character vector
attach_and_detach <- function(db, pos=2)
   name <- deparse(substitute(db))
   attach(db, pos=pos, name=name)
   eval(substitute(detach(n), list(n=name)))
attach_and_detach(women, pos=3)

## Not run: 
## Using a versioned install
library(ash, version="1.0-9")  # or perhaps just library(ash)
# then one of
detach("package:ash", version="1.0-9")
# or
## End(Not run)

[Package base version 2.2.1 Index]