Skip to contents

selection_table converts data frames into an object of classes 'selection_table' or 'extended_selection_table'.


selection_table(X, max.dur = 10, path = NULL, whole.recs = FALSE,
extended = FALSE, confirm.extended = NULL, mar = 0.1, = NULL,
pb = TRUE, parallel = 1, verbose = TRUE, skip.error = FALSE,
file.format = "\\.wav$|\\.wac$|\\.mp3$|\\.flac$", files = NULL, ...)



data frame with the following columns: 1) "sound.files": name of the .wav files, 2) "selec": unique selection identifier (within a sound file), 3) "start": start time and 4) "end": end time of selections. Columns for 'top.freq', 'bottom.freq' and 'channel' are optional. Note that, when 'channel' is not provided the first channel (i.e. left channel) would be used by default. Frequency parameters (including top and bottom frequency) should be provided in kHz. Alternatively, a 'selection_table' class object can be input.


the maximum duration of expected for a selection (ie. end - start). If surpassed then an error message will be generated. Useful for detecting errors in selection tables.


Character string containing the directory path where the sound files are located. If NULL (default) then the current working directory is used.


Logical. If TRUE the function will create a selection table for all sound files in the working directory (or "path") with `start = 0` and `end = duration_wavs()`. Default is if FALSE. Note that this will not create a extended selection table. If provided 'X' is ignored.


Logical. If TRUE, the function will create an object of class 'extended_selection_table' which included the wave objects of the selections as an additional attribute ('wave.objects') to the data set. This is and self-contained format that does not require the original sound files for running most acoustic analysis in warbleR. This can largely facilitate the storing and sharing of (bio)acoustic data. Default is if FALSE. An extended selection table won't be created if there is any issue with the selection. See 'details'.


Logical. If TRUE then the size of the 'extended_selection_table' will be estimated and the user will be asked for confirmation (in the console) before proceeding. Ignored if 'extended' is FALSE. This is used to prevent generating objects too big to be dealt with by R. See 'details' for more information about extended selection table size. THIS ARGUMENT HAS BEEN DEPRECATED.


Numeric vector of length 1 specifying the margins (in seconds) adjacent to the start and end points of the selections when creating extended selection tables. Default is 0.1. Ignored if 'extended' is FALSE.

Character string with the column name containing song labels. If provided a wave object containing for all selection belonging to a single song would be saved in the extended selection table (hence only applicable for extended selection tables). Note that the function assumes that song labels are not repeated within a sound file. If NULL (default), wave objects are created for each selection (e.g. by selection). Ignored if extended = FALSE.


Logical argument to control progress bar and messages. Default is TRUE.


Numeric. Controls whether parallel computing is applied. It specifies the number of cores to be used. Default is 1 (i.e. no parallel computing).


Logical argument to control if summary messages are printed to the console. Default is TRUE.


Logical to control if errors are omitted. If so, files that could not be read will be excluded and their name printed in the console. Default is FALSE, which will return an error if some files are problematic.


Character string with the format of sound files. By default all sound file formats supported by warbleR are included ("\.wav$|\.wac$|\.mp3$|\.flac$"). Note that several formats can be included using regular expression syntax as in grep. For instance "\.wav$|\.mp3$" will only include .wav and .mp3 files. Ignored if whole.recs = FALSE.


character vector indicating the set of files that will be consolidated. File names should not include the full file path. Optional.


Additional arguments to be passed to check_sels for customizing checking routine.


An object of class selection_table which includes the original data frame plus the following additional attributes:

  • 1) A data frame with the output of check_sels run on the input data frame. If a extended selection table is created it will also include the original values in the input data frame for each selections. This are used by downstream warbleR functions to improve efficiency and avoid errors due to missing or mislabeled data, or selection out of the ranges of the original sound files.

  • 2) A list indicating if the selection table has been created by song (see ' argument).

  • 3) If a extended selection table is created a list containing the wave objects for each selection (or song if '').


This function creates and object of class 'selection_table' or 'extended_selection_table' (if extended = TRUE, see below). First, the function checks:

  • 1) if the selections listed in the data frame correspond to .wav files in the working directory

  • 2) if the sound files can be read and if so,

  • 3) if the start and end time of the selections are found within the duration of the sound files

If no errors are found the a selection table or extended selection table will be generated. Note that the sound files should be in the working directory (or the directory provided in 'path'). This is useful for avoiding errors in downstream functions (e.g. spectro_analysis, cross_correlation, catalog, freq_DTW). Note also that corrupt files can be fixed using fix_wavs ('sox' must be installed to be able to run this function). The 'selection_table' class can be input in subsequent functions.

When extended = TRUE the function will generate an object of class 'extended_selection_table' which will also contain the wave objects for each of the selections in the data frame. This transforms selection tables into self-contained objects as they no longer need the original sound files to run acoustic analysis. This can largely facilitate the storing and sharing of (bio)acoustic data. Extended selection table size will be a function of the number of selections nrow(X), sampling rate, selection duration and margin duration. As a guide, a selection table with 1000 selections similar to the ones in 'lbh_selec_table' (mean duration ~0.15 seconds) at 22.5 kHz sampling rate and the default margin (mar = 0.1) will generate a extended selection table of ~31 MB (~310 MB for a 10000 rows selection table). You can check the size of the output extended selection table with the object.size function. Note that extended selection table created '' could be considerable larger.


Araya-Salas, M., & Smith-Vidaurre, G. (2017). warbleR: An R package to streamline analysis of animal acoustic signals. Methods in Ecology and Evolution, 8(2), 184-191.

See also


Marcelo Araya-Salas (


  data(list = c(
    "Phae.long1", "Phae.long2", "Phae.long3", "Phae.long4",
  writeWave(Phae.long1, file.path(tempdir(), "Phae.long1.wav"))
  writeWave(Phae.long2, file.path(tempdir(), "Phae.long2.wav"))
  writeWave(Phae.long3, file.path(tempdir(), "Phae.long3.wav"))
  writeWave(Phae.long4, file.path(tempdir(), "Phae.long4.wav"))

  # make selection table
  st <- selection_table(X = lbh_selec_table, path = tempdir())


  #' # make extended selection table
  st <- selection_table(
    X = lbh_selec_table, extended = TRUE,
    path = tempdir()


  ### make extended selection by song
  # create a song variable
  lbh_selec_table$song <- as.numeric(as.factor(lbh_selec_table$sound.files))

  st <- selection_table(
    X = lbh_selec_table, extended = TRUE, = "song", path = tempdir()
#> checking selections (step 1 of 1):
#> checking selections (step 1 of 2):
#> saving wave objects into extended selection table (step 2 of 2):
#> checking selections (step 1 of 2):
#> saving wave objects into extended selection table (step 2 of 2):