In this tutorial, we will look at how to get the absolute value for a variable (or values in a vector) in R with the help of some examples.
How to get the absolute value of a number in R?
You can use the built-in math function
abs() to get the absolute value (magnitude without the sign) of a number in R. Pass the number for which you want to get the absolute value as an argument to the
abs() function. The following is the syntax –
It returns the number without any sign. That is, if you pass a negative number, it will return the number without the negative sign and if you pass a positive number, it will return the same number.
Note that you can apply the
abs() function to a vector, array, matrix, and a dataframe as well.
Let’s look at some examples of using the
abs() function in R.
abs() function to a number
Let’s apply the
abs() function directly to a positive and a negative number of the same magnitude, for example, 5 and -5, and compare the output.
# absolute value of a positive number print(abs(5)) # absolute value of a negative number print(abs(-5))
 5  5
We get the absolute value (5, in this example) without any sign in both cases.
abs() function to a numeric vector
You can similarly apply the
abs() function to a vector in R. Note that individual values in R can be regarded as a vector of length one. If you apply the
abs() function to a numeric vector, it will compute the absolute value for each value in the vector.
Let’s look at an example.
# absolute value of a vector vec <- c(1, -2, 3, -4, -5) print(abs(vec))
 1 2 3 4 5
You can see that we get a vector with absolute values for each value in the passed vector. The positive values are unchanged whereas for the negative values we get the corresponding absolute value (without the sign).
You might also be interested in –
- Calculate Median of a Vector in R
- Get the Maximum value in an R Vector
- Get the Minimum Value in an R Vector
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