R How to Find Column Name with Highest Value in Each Row (Example Code)

On this page, I’ll show how to identify the highest numbers within each line of a data frame in the R programming language.

Creation of Example Data

data(iris)                                                            # Load data
iris_updated <- iris[ , 1:4]                                          # Remove factor variables from data
head(iris_updated)                                                    # Head of data
#   Sepal.Length Sepal.Width Petal.Length Petal.Width Species
# 1          5.1         3.5          1.4         0.2  setosa
# 2          4.9         3.0          1.4         0.2  setosa
# 3          4.7         3.2          1.3         0.2  setosa
# 4          4.6         3.1          1.5         0.2  setosa
# 5          5.0         3.6          1.4         0.2  setosa
# 6          5.4         3.9          1.7         0.4  setosa

Example: Applying colnames & max.col Functions to Find Colnames with Highest Values in Row

colnames(iris_updated)[max.col(iris_updated, ties.method = "first")]  # Using colnames & max.col
# [1] "Sepal.Length" "Sepal.Length" "Sepal.Length" "Sepal.Length" "Sepal.Length" "Sepal.Length"...

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