stri_sub: Extract a Substring From or Replace a Substring In a Character Vector


stri_sub extracts particular substrings at code point-based index ranges provided. Its replacement version allows to substitute (in-place) parts of a string with given replacement strings. stri_sub_replace is its forward pipe operator-friendly variant that returns a copy of the input vector.

For extracting/replacing multiple substrings from/within each string, see stri_sub_all.


  from = 1L,
  to = -1L,
  use_matrix = TRUE,
  ignore_negative_length = FALSE

stri_sub(str, from = 1L, to = -1L, length, omit_na = FALSE, use_matrix = TRUE) <- value

stri_sub_replace(..., replacement, value = replacement)



character vector


integer vector giving the start indexes; alternatively, if use_matrix=TRUE, a two-column matrix of type cbind(from, to) (unnamed columns or the 2nd column named other than length) or cbind(from, length=length) (2nd column named length)


integer vector giving the end indexes; mutually exclusive with length and from being a matrix


integer vector giving the substring lengths; mutually exclusive with to and from being a matrix


single logical value; see from


single logical value; whether negative lengths should be ignored or result in missing values


single logical value; indicates whether missing values in any of the indexes or in value leave the corresponding input string unchanged [replacement function only]


a character vector defining the replacement strings [replacement function only]


arguments to be passed to stri_sub<-


alias of value [wherever applicable]


Vectorized over str, [value], from and (to or length). Parameters to and length are mutually exclusive.

Indexes are 1-based, i.e., the start of a string is at index 1. For negative indexes in from or to, counting starts at the end of the string. For instance, index -1 denotes the last code point in the string. Non-positive length gives an empty string.

Argument from gives the start of a substring to extract. Argument to defines the last index of a substring, inclusive. Alternatively, its length may be provided.

If from is a two-column matrix, then these two columns are used as from and to, respectively, unless the second column is named length. In such a case anything passed explicitly as to or length is ignored. Such types of index matrices are generated by stri_locate_first and stri_locate_last. If extraction based on stri_locate_all is needed, see stri_sub_all.

In stri_sub, out-of-bound indexes are silently corrected. If from > to, then an empty string is returned. By default, negative length results in the corresponding output being NA, see ignore_negative_length, though.

In stri_sub<-, some configurations of indexes may work as substring ‘injection’ at the front, back, or in middle. Negative length does not alter the corresponding input string.

If both to and length are provided, length has priority over to.

Note that for some Unicode strings, the extracted substrings might not be well-formed, especially if input strings are not normalized (see stri_trans_nfc), include byte order marks, Bidirectional text marks, and so on. Handle with care.


stri_sub and stri_sub_replace return a character vector. stri_sub<- changes the str object ‘in-place’.


Marek Gagolewski and other contributors

See Also

The official online manual of stringi at

Gagolewski M., stringi: Fast and portable character string processing in R, Journal of Statistical Software 103(2), 2022, 1-59, doi:10.18637/jss.v103.i02

Other indexing: stri_locate_all(), stri_locate_all_boundaries(), stri_sub_all()


s <- c("spam, spam, bacon, and spam", "eggs and spam")
stri_sub(s, from=-4)
## [1] "spam" "spam"
stri_sub(s, from=1, length=c(10, 4))
## [1] "spam, spam" "eggs"
(stri_sub(s, 1, 4) <- 'stringi')
## [1] "stringi"
x <- c('12 3456 789', 'abc', '', NA, '667')
stri_sub(x, stri_locate_first_regex(x, '[0-9]+')) # see stri_extract_first
## [1] "12"  NA    NA    NA    "667"
stri_sub(x, stri_locate_last_regex(x, '[0-9]+'))  # see stri_extract_last
## [1] "789" NA    NA    NA    "667"
stri_sub_replace(x, stri_locate_first_regex(x, '[0-9]+'),
    omit_na=TRUE, replacement='***') # see stri_replace_first
## [1] "*** 3456 789" "abc"          ""             NA             "***"
stri_sub_replace(x, stri_locate_last_regex(x, '[0-9]+'),
    omit_na=TRUE, replacement='***') # see stri_replace_last
## [1] "12 3456 ***" "abc"         ""            NA            "***"
## Not run: x |> stri_sub_replace(1, 5, replacement='new_substring')