system {base}R Documentation

Invoke a System Command


system invokes the OS command specified by command.


system(command, intern = FALSE, ignore.stderr = FALSE)


command the system command to be invoked, as a string.
intern a logical, indicates whether to make the output of the command an R object.
ignore.stderr a logical indicating whether error messages (written to ‘stderr’) should be ignored.


If intern is TRUE then popen is used to invoke the command and the output collected, line by line, into an R character vector which is returned as the value of system. Output lines of more than 8095 characters will be split.

If intern is FALSE then the C function system is used to invoke the command and the value returned by system is the exit status of this function.

unix is a deprecated alternative, available for backwards compatibility.


If intern=TRUE, a character vector giving the output of the command, one line per character string. If the command could not be run or gives an error a R error is generated.
If intern=FALSE, the return value is an error code.

See Also

.Platform for platform specific variables.


# list all files in the current directory using the -F flag
## Not run: system("ls -F")

# t1 is a character vector, each one
# representing a separate line of output from who
t1 <- system("who", TRUE)

system("ls fizzlipuzzli", TRUE, TRUE)# empty since file doesn't exist

[Package base version 2.2.1 Index]