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R – Get Element by Index in a Vector

Vectors are a common data structure in R. We generally use vectors to store a sequence of values of the same type. In this tutorial, we will look at how to get an element by its index in a vector in R with the help of some examples.

How to get an element by index in a vector?

Elements in a vector are indexed starting from 1. Use the [] notation to get a vector element by its index in R. The following is the syntax –

# get element at index i in a vector

It returns the element present in the vector at the ith index.


Let’s look at some examples of extracting elements using their respective index in R. First, we will create a vector that we will be using throughout this tutorial.

# create a vector
vec <- c(10, 20, 30, 40, 50)
# display the vector


[1] 10 20 30 40 50

Get the value at an index in a vector

Let’s use the above syntax to get the value at the index 2 in the vec vector.

# get element in vector at index 2


[1] 20

We get 20 as the output, which is the value at the second index in the vector, vec. Let’s now look at some more specific use-cases.

Get the first element in a vector

Let’s get the first value in the above vector. We know that a vector is indexed starting from 1 in R. So, the first value is present at index 1. Let’s use the above syntax to get the first value.

# get the first element in the vector


[1] 10

We get the first value in the above vector as 10.

Get the last element in a vector

You can similarly get the last value in a vector. The last value will present at the index which is equal to the length of the vector. You can use the length() function in R to get the length of a vector.

# get the last element in the vector


[1] 50

Here, we first use the length() function to find the length of the vector (which is the same as the index of the last element) and then use the [] notation to get the value at that index. We get 50 as the last element in the above vector.

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  • Piyush is a data scientist passionate about using data to understand things better and make informed decisions. In the past, he's worked as a Data Scientist for ZS and holds an engineering degree from IIT Roorkee. His hobbies include watching cricket, reading, and working on side projects.