kaos1511 kaos1511 - 1 month ago 9
R Question

Subset data to contain only columns whose names match a condition

Is there a way for me to subset data based on column names starting with a particular string? I have some columns which are like

ABC_1 ABC_2 ABC_3
and some like
XYZ_1, XYZ_2,XYZ_3
let's say.

How can I subset my
df
based only on columns containing the above portions of text (lets say,
ABC
or
XYZ
)? I can use indices, but the columns are too scattered in data and it becomes too much of hard coding.

Also, I want to only include rows from each of these columns where any of their value is
>0
so if either of the
6
columns above has a
1
in the row, it makes a cut into my final data frame.

Answer

Try grepl on the names of your data.frame. grepl matches a regular expression to a target and returns TRUE if a match is found and FALSE otherwise. The function is vectorised so you can pass a vector of strings to match and you will get a vector of boolean values returned.

Example

#  Data
df <- data.frame( ABC_1 = runif(3),
            ABC_2 = runif(3),
            XYZ_1 = runif(3),
            XYZ_2 = runif(3) )

#      ABC_1     ABC_2     XYZ_1     XYZ_2
#1 0.3792645 0.3614199 0.9793573 0.7139381
#2 0.1313246 0.9746691 0.7276705 0.0126057
#3 0.7282680 0.6518444 0.9531389 0.9673290

#  Use grepl
df[ , grepl( "ABC" , names( df ) ) ]
#      ABC_1     ABC_2
#1 0.3792645 0.3614199
#2 0.1313246 0.9746691
#3 0.7282680 0.6518444

#  grepl returns logical vector like this which is what we use to subset columns
grepl( "ABC" , names( df ) )
#[1]  TRUE  TRUE FALSE FALSE

To answer the second part, I'd make the subset data.frame and then make a vector that indexes the rows to keep (a logical vector) like this...

set.seed(1)
df <- data.frame( ABC_1 = sample(0:1,3,repl = TRUE),
            ABC_2 = sample(0:1,3,repl = TRUE),
            XYZ_1 = sample(0:1,3,repl = TRUE),
            XYZ_2 = sample(0:1,3,repl = TRUE) )

# We will want to discard the second row because 'all' ABC values are 0:
#  ABC_1 ABC_2 XYZ_1 XYZ_2
#1     0     1     1     0
#2     0     0     1     0
#3     1     1     1     0


df1 <- df[ , grepl( "ABC" , names( df ) ) ]

ind <- apply( df1 , 1 , function(x) any( x > 0 ) )

df1[ ind , ]
#  ABC_1 ABC_2
#1     0     1
#3     1     1