R – How to convert data.frame column from Factor to numeric

r

I have a data.frame whose class column is Factor. I'd like to convert it to numeric so that I can use correlation matrix.

> str(breast)
'data.frame':   699 obs. of  10 variables:
 ....
 $ class                   : Factor w/ 2 levels "2","4": 1 1 1 1 1 2 1 1 1 1 ...
> table(breast$class)
  2   4 
458 241
> cor(breast)
Error in cor(breast) : 'x' must be numeric

How can I convert a Factor column to a numeric column?

Best Solution

breast$class <- as.numeric(as.character(breast$class))

If you have many columns to convert to numeric

indx <- sapply(breast, is.factor)
breast[indx] <- lapply(breast[indx], function(x) as.numeric(as.character(x)))

Another option is to use stringsAsFactors=FALSE while reading the file using read.table or read.csv

Just in case, other options to create/change columns

 breast[,'class'] <- as.numeric(as.character(breast[,'class']))

or

 breast <- transform(breast, class=as.numeric(as.character(breast)))