Rename Columns | R

October 13, 2019
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[This article was first published on Data Science Using R – FinderDing, and kindly contributed to R-bloggers]. (You can report issue about the content on this page here)
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Often data you’re working with has abstract column names, such as (x1, x2, x3…). Typically, the first step I take when renaming columns with r is opening my web browser. 

For some reason no matter the amount of times doing this it’s just one of those things. (Hoping that writing about it will change that)

The dataset cars is data from the 1920s on “Speed and Stopping Distances of Cars”. There is only 2 columns shown below.

colnames(datasets::cars)
[1] "speed" "dist" 

If we wanted to rename the column “dist” to make it easier to know what the data is/means we can do so in a few different ways.

Using dplyr:

cars %>% 
  rename("Stopping Distance (ft)" = dist) %>% 
  colnames()

[1] "speed"             "Stopping Distance"
cars %>%
  rename("Stopping Distance (ft)" = dist, "Speed (mph)" = speed) %>%
  colnames()

[1] "Speed (mph)"            "Stopping Distance (ft)"

Using Base r:

colnames(cars)[2] <-"Stopping Distance (ft)"

[1] "speed"                  "Stopping Distance (ft)"

colnames(cars)[1:2] <-c("Speed (mph)","Stopping Distance (ft)")

[1] "Speed (mph)"            "Stopping Distance (ft)"

Using GREP:

colnames(cars)[grep("dist", colnames(cars))] <-"Stopping Distance (ft)"

"speed"                  "Stopping Distance (ft)"

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