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Order DataFrame rows according to vector with specific order in R
  • Last Updated : 26 Mar, 2021

In this article, we will see how to sort data frame rows based on the values of a vector with a specific order. There are two functions by which we can sort data frame rows based on the values of a vector. 

  • match() function
  • left_join() function

Example dataset:

data <- data.frame(x1 = 1:5,               
                  x2 = letters[1:5],
                  x3 = 6:10)
                                                     
data
  x1 x2 x3
1  1  a  6
2  2  b  7
3  3  c  8
4  4  d  9
5  5  e 10

Vector with specific ordering:

vec <- c("b", "e", "a", "c", "d")               
vec                                           
# "b" "e" "a" "c" "d"

Method 1: Using match() function to Sort Data Frame According to Vector.

Match returns a vector of the positions of (first) matches of its first argument in its second.



Syntax: match(x, table, nomatch = NA_integer_, incomparables = NULL)

Parameters:

  • X: Vector or NULL: the values to be matched. Long vectors are supported.
  • table: vector or NULL: the values to be matched against. Long vectors are not supported.
  • nomatch: the value to be returned in the case when no match is found. Note that it is coerced to integer.
  • incomparables: A vector of values that cannot be matched. Any value in x matching a value in this vector is assigned the nomatch value. For historical reasons, FALSE is equivalent to NULL.

Code:

R




data <- data.frame(x1 = 1:5,               
                   x2 = letters[1:5],
                   x3 = 6:10)
vec <- c("b", "e", "a", "c", "d"
  
new_dataset <- data[match(vec, data$x2), ]       
new_dataset                                      

Output:

  x1 x2 x3
2  2  b  7
5  5  e 10
1  1  a  6
3  3  c  8
4  4  d  9

As we can see from the above output the new data frame is sorted based on the values of the vector.

Method 2: Using left_join() Function of dplyr Package:

First, we have to install and load the dplyr package: now we can use left_join() method to sort the data frame based on the values on the vector.

Syntax: left_join(x, y, by = NULL, copy = FALSE, suffix = c(“.x”, “.y”), …)

Parameters:

  • x, y: tbls to join
  • by: a character vector of variables to join by. If NULL, the default, *_join() will do a natural join, using all variables with common names across the two tables. A message lists the variables so that you can check they’re right (to suppress the message, simply explicitly list the variables that you want to join).
  • copy: If x and y are not from the same data source, and copy is TRUE, then y will be copied into the same src as x. This allows you to join tables across srcs, but it is a potentially expensive operation so you must opt into it.
  • suffix: If there are non-joined duplicate variables in x and y, these suffixes will be added to the output to disambiguate them. Should be a character vector of length 2.

Code:

R




install.packages("dplyr")                  
library("dplyr")
data <- data.frame(x1 = 1:5,               
                   x2 = letters[ 1 : 5] ,
                   x3 = 6:10)
  
vec <- c("b", "e", "a", "c", "d")  
  
new_dataset <- left_join(data.frame(x2 = vec),  
                     data,
                     by = "x2")
print(new_dataset)                                      

Output:

 x2 x1 x3
1  b  2  7
2  e  5 10
3  a  1  6
4  c  3  8
5  d  4  9
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