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Merging Two Data Frames in R Programming

R programming is ideally used for graphical presentation and statistical computing to observe data as well as visualize it. Developers and programmers all over the world use R programming as it allows them to code well when it comes to handling data. Despite being an old programming language, it still rules the world because of the simplicity of code and compiling the code in R. It is the same reason beginners are trying mini projects to learn R programming as no hard and fast coding rule needs any prior coding experience to learn it. Among many programs, newbies want to know the tips for merging two data frames in R programming.

I still remember when I was working on it, I got stuck now and then, which sometimes frustrated me. When I was combining R data frames, I didn’t know the basics, and that was the reason I had a tough time. To merge R data frames, there are a few ways. Check out the ways:

Ways to Merge Two Data Frames

There are many ways to merge two or more data frames, but three are the most commonly used. So, if you want to start with merging data frames, you can try the following ways:

1. Using cbind()

It is one of the most common approaches to merging two data frames. It is a function in R, which is the easiest way to combine data frames where rows and number of records should be the same. The cbind() is the function that combines the data frame’s column side by side. There must be no remaining column left out of place once you merge the data frames as the right and left data frames to have similar key variable names without any specified column with an NA value.

The syntax of the cbind() is simpler. Let’s assume you have two data frames; apple and grapes. When it comes to combining both you can pass both in the cbind parameter like cbind(apple, grapes).  There is no issue at all if two data frames have a different number of rows, though it is recommended to have the same number of rows, it is not required. When one data frame is shorter, then smaller data frame values are recycled to bridge the missing gap.

2. Using rbind()

This is a function that is popularly used when it comes to appending data on top of each other. To make it simpler, the rbind() is best used when you want to merge two data frames on top of each other. This is a common function like cbind. This way is simpler to help you combine data frames. It appends rows as well as columns. When merging, it makes the second data frame to the first, this is how it appends.

The most important thing that you need to know is that when you use the rbind(), you need to have the same column names and number of columns to make the function work.

3. Using merge()

As the name suggests, it merges data frames in R. It is a function that works well, and that’s the reason it is commonly used. It combines two data frames that are different but related to each other. It is known for joining data frames utilizing common columns. Suppose you have a data frame having eggs’ nutritional analysis of different formulas like weight, tested in labs, vitamins, protein, and size. All you want is to merge this with any id (protein) as a common key.


To merge R data frames, the most common approaches you can try out include cbind(), rbind(), and merge(). All three are effective when it comes to merging two data frames in R programming. You can use the tool R compiler online on Learnshareit to run R code

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