Mining Association Rules and Frequent Itemsets

Provides the infrastructure for representing, manipulating and analyzing transaction data and patterns (frequent itemsets and association rules). Also provides C implementations of the association mining algorithms Apriori and Eclat.

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The arules package for R provides the infrastructure for representing, manipulating and analyzing transaction data and patterns (frequent itemsets and association rules). Also provides interfaces to C implementations of the association mining algorithms Apriori and Eclat.

arules core packages:

  • arules: arules base package with data structures, mining algorithms (APRIORI and ECLAT), interest measures.
  • arulesViz: Visualization of association rules.
  • arulesCBA: Classification algorithms based on association rules (includes CBA).
  • arulesSequences: Mining frequent sequences (cSPADE).

Other related packages:

Additional mining algorithms

  • arulesNBMiner: Mining NB-frequent itemsets and NB-precise rules.
  • opusminer: OPUS Miner algorithm for filtered top-k association discovery.
  • RKEEL: Interface to KEEL's association rule mining algorithm.
  • RSarules: Mining algorithm which randomly samples association rules with one pre-chosen item as the consequent from a transaction dataset.

In-database analytics

  • ibmdbR: IBM in-database analytics for R can calculate association rules from a database table.
  • rfml: Mine frequent itemsets or association rules using a MarkLogic server.


  • rattle: Provides a graphical user interface for association rule mining.
  • pmml: Generates PMML (predictive model markup language) for association rules.


  • arc: Alternative CBA implementation.
  • rCBA: Alternative CBA implementation.
  • sblr: Scalable Bayesian rule lists algorithm for classification.


  • recommenerlab: Supports creating predictions using association rules.


Stable CRAN version: install from within R with


Current development version: Download package from AppVeyor or install from GitHub (needs devtools).



Load package and mine some association rules.

rules <- apriori(Adult, parameter = list(supp = 0.5, conf = 0.9, target = "rules"))
Parameter specification:
 confidence minval smax arem  aval originalSupport support minlen maxlen target   ext
        0.9    0.1    1 none FALSE            TRUE     0.5      1     10  rules FALSE

Algorithmic control:
 filter tree heap memopt load sort verbose
    0.1 TRUE TRUE  FALSE TRUE    2    TRUE

Absolute minimum support count: 24421 

apriori - find association rules with the apriori algorithm
version 4.21 (2004.05.09)        (c) 1996-2004   Christian Borgelt
set item appearances ...[0 item(s)] done [0.00s].
set transactions ...[115 item(s), 48842 transaction(s)] done [0.03s].
sorting and recoding items ... [9 item(s)] done [0.00s].
creating transaction tree ... done [0.03s].
checking subsets of size 1 2 3 4 done [0.00s].
writing ... [52 rule(s)] done [0.00s].
creating S4 object  ... done [0.01s].

Show basic statistics.

set of 52 rules

rule length distribution (lhs + rhs):
 1  2  3  4 
 2 13 24 13 

   Min. 1st Qu.  Median    Mean 3rd Qu.    Max. 
  1.000   2.000   3.000   2.923   3.250   4.000 

summary of quality measures:
    support         confidence          lift       
 Min.   :0.5084   Min.   :0.9031   Min.   :0.9844  
 1st Qu.:0.5415   1st Qu.:0.9155   1st Qu.:0.9937  
 Median :0.5974   Median :0.9229   Median :0.9997  
 Mean   :0.6436   Mean   :0.9308   Mean   :1.0036  
 3rd Qu.:0.7426   3rd Qu.:0.9494   3rd Qu.:1.0057  
 Max.   :0.9533   Max.   :0.9583   Max.   :1.0586  

mining info:
  data ntransactions support confidence
 Adult         48842     0.5        0.9

Inspect rules with the highest lift.

inspect(head(rules, by = "lift"))
    lhs                               rhs                              support confidence     lift
[1] {sex=Male,                                                                                    
     native-country=United-States} => {race=White}                   0.5415421  0.9051090 1.058554
[2] {sex=Male,                                                                                    
     native-country=United-States} => {race=White}                   0.5113632  0.9032585 1.056390
[3] {race=White}                   => {native-country=United-States} 0.7881127  0.9217231 1.027076
[4] {race=White,                                                                                  
     capital-loss=None}            => {native-country=United-States} 0.7490480  0.9205626 1.025783
[5] {race=White,                                                                                  
     sex=Male}                     => {native-country=United-States} 0.5415421  0.9204803 1.025691
[6] {race=White,                                                                                  
     capital-gain=None}            => {native-country=United-States} 0.7194628  0.9202807 1.025469



arules 1.5-5 (01/09/2018)

New Features

  • Added (absolut support) "count" as an interest measure.
  • itemLabels can now be assigned for rules and itemsets.

Bug Fixes

  • Fixed bug in subset with signature itemMatrix, itemMatrix (reported by rwdvc).

arules 1.5-4 (10/12/2017)

New Features

  • Improved speed for read.transactions with format = "single" significantly.
  • Appearance for apriori now guesses the default parameter automatically and does some more checking, making the specification of templates easier.

Bug Fixes

  • Fixed null pointer in error message code.
  • head does now not result in an error for empty rule sets (bug reported by cornejom).

arules 1.5-3 (08/31/2017)

New Features

  • apriori and eclat return now count (absolute support count) in the quality data.frame.
  • Added %oin% to find transactions/itemsets that ONLY contain certain items.

Bug Fixes

  • Improved PROTECT placement in C source code.
  • itemMeasures for single rules/itemssets now returns a proper data.frame (reported by lordbitin).
  • itemMeasures: Added missing parentheses in kappa calculation and fixed equation for least contradiction (reported by Feng Chen).

arules 1.5-2 (03/12/2017)

New Features

  • apriori: maxtime = 0 disables the time limit.
  • is.subset/is.superset uses now fast and memory efficient C code for sparse computation (contributed by Ian Johnson). sparse = TRUE is now the default. Note that the result is now a sparse matrix.

arules 1.5-1 (01/23/2017)

New Features

  • Added interest measure maxConf.
  • is.significant now supports in addition to Fisher's exact test, the chi-squared test.
  • interest measures Fisher's exact test and chi-squared (using significance = TRUE) can now produce p-values for substitutes (with complements = FALSE).
  • Added function DATAFRAME for more control over coercion to data.frame (e.g., use separate columns for LHS and RHS of rules).

Bug Fixes

  • Error message for sorting with an unknown interest measure.
  • abbreviate works now for rules correctly.

Internal Changes

  • Added registration code for native routines. This requires R 3.3.2.

arules 1.5-0 (09/23/2016)

Major Changes

  • apriori uses now a time limit set in the parameter list with maxtime. The default is 5 seconds. Running out of time or maxlen results in a warning. The warning for low absolute support was removed.

Bug Fixes

  • is.redundant now also marks rules with the same confidence as redundant.
  • plot for associations and transactions produces now a better error/warning message.
  • improved argument check for %pin%. Warns now for multiple patterns (was an error) and give an error for empty pattern.
  • inspect prints now consistently the index of rules/itemsets using brackets and starting from 1.

arules 1.4-2 (08/06/2016)

Bug Fixes

  • is.redundant returned !is.redundant (reported by brisbia)
  • Duplicate items when coercing from list to transactions are now removed with a warning.

arules 1.4-1 (04/10/2016)

New Features

  • added tail method for associations.
  • added/fixed encoding for read.transactions

Bug Fixes

  • Mutual information is now calculated correctly (reported by ddessommes).

arules 1.4-0 (03/18/2016)

New Features

  • The transaction class lost slot transactionInfo (we use the itemsetInfo slot now). Note that you may have to rebuild some transaction sets if you are using transactionInfo.
  • interestMeasure: performance improvement for "improvement" measure.
  • sort: speed up sort by always sorting NAs last.
  • head: added method head for associations for getting the best rules according to an interest measure faster than sorting all the associations first.
  • abbreviate is now a S4 generic with S4 methods.

Bug Fixes

  • combining item matrices with 0 rows (reported by C. Buchta).
  • itemLabel recoding in is.subset (reported by sjain777).
  • NAMESPACE export for %in%
  • is.redundant: fixed and performance improvement.
  • Groceries: fixed typo in dataset.

arules 1.3-1 (12/13/2015)

Major Changes

  • we now require R 3.2.0 so cbind in Matrix works.

New Features

  • is.maximal is now also available for rules.
  • added is.significant for rules (uses Fishers exact test with correction).
  • added is.redundant for rules.
  • added support for multi-level analysis (aggregate).
  • APparameter: confidence shows now NA for frequent itemsets.

arules 1.3-0 (11/11/2015)

New Features

  • removed deprecated WRITE and SORT functions.
  • subset extraction: added checks, handles now NAs and recycles for logical.
  • read.transactions gained arguments skip and quote and some defaults for read and write (uses now quotes and no rownames by default) have changed.
  • itemMatrix: coersion from matrix checks now for 0-1 matrix with a warning.
  • APRIORI and ECLAT report now absolute minimum support.
  • APRIORI: out-of-memory while rule building does now result in an error and not a memory fault.
  • aggregate uses now 'by' instead of 'itemLabels' to conform to aggregate in base.

Bug Fixes

  • ruleInduction: bug fix for missing confidence values and better checking (by C. Buchta).

arules 1.2-1 (09/20/2015)

New Features

  • Added many new interest measures.
  • interestMeasure: the formal argument method is now called measure (method is now deprecated).
  • Added Mushroom dataset.
  • Moved abbreviate from arulesViz to arules.

Bug Fixes

  • fixed undefined behavior for left shift in reclat.c (reported by B. Ripley)

arules 1.2-0 (09/14/2015)

Major Changes

  • added support for weighted association rule mining (by C. Buchta):
    • transactions can store weights a column called "weight" in transactionInfo.
    • support, itemFrequency and itemFrequencyPlot gained a parameter called weighted.
    • weclat extends eclat with transaction weights.
    • hits can be used to calculate weights from transact ions.
  • We are transitioning to internally use consistently data.frames with the correct number of rows for quality, itemInfo, transactionInfo and itemsetInfo. These data.frames possibly have 0 columns.
  • arules uses now testthat (tests are in tests/testthat).

New Features

  • sort can now sort by several columns (used to break ties) in quality. It also gained an order parameter to return a permutation vector (order) instead.
  • inspect gained parameters setStart, setEnd, itemSep, ruleSep and linebreak to control output better.
  • read.transactions now ignores empty items (e.g., caused by trailing commas and leading or trailing white spaces).
  • labels now returns not a list but consistent labels for objects
    (transactions, itemMatrix, rules, itemsets, and tidLists).
  • tidLists has now an inspect method, gained coercion from "list", and has now a replacement method for dimnames().
  • Coercion from itemMatrix to matrix results now in a logical matrix.
  • fixed as(transactions, "data.frame"). The column names do now have no prefix (except if transactionInfo contains an item called "items").
  • transactions has now its own dimnames function which correctly returns transactionID from transactionInfo as rownames.
  • replacement method for dimnames() checks now dimensions.
  • item labels are now internally handled as character using stringAsFactor = FALSE in data.frames and not AsIs with I(character).
  • rules can now have no item in the RHS.

Bug Fixes

  • fixed missing row labels for is.subset().

arules 1.1-9 (7/13/2015)

  • More work on namespace.
  • Fixed tests.

arules 1.1-7 (6/29/2015)

  • itemUnion: fixed bug for large amounts of dense rules.
  • crossTable gained arguments measure and sort.
  • Fixed namespace imports for non-base default packages.

arules 1.1-6 (12/07/2014)

  • dissimilarity method "pearson" is now set to 1 (max) for neg. correlation. Also added phi correlation coefficient.
  • discretize method "cluster" accepts now ... passed on to k-means (e.g., for nstart)
  • merge for itemMatrix checks now for conformity
  • as(..., "transactions"): binary attributes are now translated into items only if TRUE.

arules 1.1-5 (8/19/2014)

  • Import drop0 from Matrix

arules 1.1-4 (7/25/2014)

  • C code: fixed problem in error message generation in apriori and eclat (this fixes the trio library problem under Windows)
  • C code: rapriori uses now STRING_ELT to be compatible with TERR (TIBCO)
  • C code: removed some unused variables.

arules 1.1-3 (6/17/2014)

  • Fixed dependency on XML and pmml
  • the interest measure chi-squared does now also report p-values (with significance=TRUE)
  • interestMeasure calculation checks now better for missing transactions
  • interestMeasure consistently returns now NA if not defined for a certain rule

arules 1.1-2 (2/21/2014)

  • discretize gained the parameter ordered.
  • itemwise set operations itemUnion, itemSetdiff and itemIntersect added.
  • validObject checks now rules more thoroughly
  • aggregate removes duplicate items from the lhs

arules 1.1-1 (1/16/2014)

  • is.superset/is.subset now makes sure that the two arguments conform using recode (number and order of items)
  • is.superset/is.subset returns now a matrix with appropriate dimnames
  • bug fix: fixed dimname bug in as(..., "dgCMatrix") for tidLists
  • image: labels are now passed on correctly.
  • tidLists has now c().

arules 1.1-0 (12/10/2013)

  • bug fix: reuse in now passed on correctly in interestMeasures (bug reported by Ying Leung)
  • direct coercions from and to dgCMatrix is no longer supported use ngCMatrix instead
  • coercion from ngCMatrix to itemMatrix and transactions is now possible
  • C code: fixed misaligned address on 64-bit systems

arules 1.0-15 (9/6/2013)

  • service release

arules 1.0-14 (5/24/2013)

  • discretize handles now NAs correctly
  • bug fix in is.subset

arules 1.0-13 (4/7/2013)

  • transactions: coercion form data.frame now handles logical automatically.
  • discretize replaces categorize and offers several additional methods

arules 1.0-12 (11/28/2012)

  • Added read and write for PMML.
  • 'WRITE' is now deprecated, use 'write' instead
  • C code: Added a copy of the C subscript code from R for better performance and compatibility with arulesSequences

arules 1.0-11 (11/19/2012)

  • Fixed vignette.
  • Internal Changes for dimnames and subsetting

arules 1.0-9 and 1.0-10 (9/3/2012)

  • Added PACKAGE argument to C calls.
  • C code: Added C routine symbols to NAMESPACE for arulesSequence

arules 1.0-8 (8/23/2012)

  • fixed memory problem in eclat with tidLists=TRUE
  • added supportedTransactions()
  • is.subset/is.superset can not return a sparse matrix
  • added support to categorize continuous variables.

arules 1.0-7 (11/4/2011)

  • minor fixes (removed factor in dimnames for itemMatrix, warning in WRITE)
  • read.transactions now accepts column names to specify user and item columns (by F. Leisch)

arules 1.0-0 (3/24/2009)

  • Initial stable release version

arules 0.1-0 (4/15/2005)

  • Alpha and beta versions

Reference manual

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1.6-0 by Michael Hahsler, 16 days ago,

Report a bug at

Browse source code at

Authors: Michael Hahsler [aut, cre, cph], Christian Buchta [aut, cph], Bettina Gruen [aut, cph], Kurt Hornik [aut, cph], Ian Johnson [ctb, cph], Christian Borgelt [ctb, cph]

Documentation:   PDF Manual  

Task views: Machine Learning & Statistical Learning, Model Deployment with R

GPL-3 license

Imports stats, methods, graphics, utils

Depends on Matrix

Suggests pmml, XML, arulesViz, testthat

Imported by Biocomb, TELP, clickstream, fpmoutliers, inTrees, opusminer, preprocomb, sbrl.

Depended on by RSarules, arc, arulesCBA, arulesNBMiner, arulesSequences, arulesViz, ibmdbR, qCBA, rCBA, recommenderlab.

Suggested by nutshell, nutshell.audioscrobbler, pmml, rattle, rfml.

See at CRAN