Move Column to First Position of Data Frame in R (2 Examples)

 

In this R programming tutorial you’ll learn how to shift a variable to the beginning of a data frame.

The tutorial consists of these contents:

So now the part you have been waiting for – the exemplifying R code:

 

Creating Example Data

Let’s first construct some example data in R:

data <- data.frame(x1 = 1:5,    # Create data frame
                   x2 = "xx",
                   x3 = letters[5:1],
                   x4 = 55)
data                            # Print data frame

 

table 1 data frame move column first position data frame r

 

As you can see based on Table 1, our example data is a data frame made of five rows and four columns.

 

Example 1: Shift Column to First Position of Data Frame Using Base R

In Example 1, I’ll show how to move a data frame column at the beginning of the data frame using the basic installation of the R programming language.

For this, we can use the c() and names functions in combination with the != operator:

data_new1 <- data[ , c("x3",    # Reorder data frame
                       names(data)[names(data) != "x3"])]
data_new1                       # Print updated data frame

 

table 2 data frame move column first position data frame r

 

The output of the previous R programming syntax is shown in Table 2: As you can see, we have moved the variable x3 to the beginning of the data frame.

 

Example 2: Shift Column to First Position of Data Frame Using dplyr Package

The following R syntax illustrates how to use the functions of the dplyr environment to set the position of a variable to the beginning of a data frame.

We first have to install and load the dplyr package:

install.packages("dplyr")       # Install dplyr package
library("dplyr")                # Load dplyr

Next, we can use the select and everything functions to move a variable from the middle of our data frame to the first index position as shown below:

data_new2 <- data %>%           # Reorder data frame
  dplyr::select("x3", everything())
data_new2                       # Print updated data frame

 

table 3 data frame move column first position data frame r

 

As shown in Table 3, we have created a reordered version of our input data frame where the variable x3 was set to be at the first position.

 

Video & Further Resources

In case you need further information on the R programming codes of the present article, you may have a look at the following video which I have published on my YouTube channel. I illustrate the R syntax of this article in the video.

 

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Furthermore, you could read the other articles of this website. Some other tutorials on related topics such as vectors, missing data, merging, and lists can be found below.

 

Summary: You have learned in this tutorial how to move data frame columns to different positions in the R programming language. In case you have any further questions, don’t hesitate to let me know in the comments below.

 

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