How to convert dataframe columns from factors to characters

+1 vote

I have considered a data frame named 'zz'.

head(zz)
                 phenotype                         exclusion
GSM399350 3- 4- 8- 25- 44+ 11b- 11c- 19- NK1.1- Gr1- TER119-
GSM399351 3- 4- 8- 25- 44+ 11b- 11c- 19- NK1.1- Gr1- TER119-
GSM399352 3- 4- 8- 25- 44+ 11b- 11c- 19- NK1.1- Gr1- TER119-
GSM399353 3- 4- 8- 25+ 44+ 11b- 11c- 19- NK1.1- Gr1- TER119-
GSM399354 3- 4- 8- 25+ 44+ 11b- 11c- 19- NK1.1- Gr1- TER119-
GSM399355 3- 4- 8- 25+ 44+ 11b- 11c- 19- NK1.1- Gr1- TER119-

The following command shows the dataframe has factors

class(zz$phenotype)
[1] "factor"

Now to convert I tried the following command

 as.character(head(zz))
[1] "c(3, 3, 3, 6, 6, 6)"       "c(3, 3, 3, 3, 3, 3)"      
[3] "c(29, 29, 29, 30, 30, 30)"

 I guess these are indices into the levels of the factors of the columns. This is not my desired result.

So any suggestions that can help me?

Apr 13, 2018 in Data Analytics by Sahiti
• 6,360 points
18,447 views

1 answer to this question.

0 votes

To replace all the variables to character class you can use the apply statement. Refer below code:

zz <- data.frame(lapply(zz, as.character), stringsAsFactors=FALSE)

You can use the following code to convert only the factor variables to character

i <- sapply(zz, is.factor)
zz[i] <- lapply(zz[i], as.character)

You can also use the dplyr package

library(dplyr)
zz %>% mutate_if(is.factor, as.character) -> 

 Another alternative is to use the purrr package in RStudio:

library(purrr)
library(dplyr)
zz %>% map_if(is.factor, as.character) %>% as_data_frame -> zz
answered Apr 13, 2018 by BHARANI
• 420 points

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