Plotting in R

Plotting for R is a major selling point o fthe whole platform. And thanks to projects like shiny it is not only for your own computer but can even be used to backend webapps.


More tidyverse! Probably the favourite plotting system for R these days.

Kieran Healy advises the following set up for visualisation in the tidyverse style :

my_packages <- c("tidyverse", "broom", "coefplot", "cowplot",
    "gapminder", "GGally", "ggrepel", "ggridges",X "gridExtra",
    "interplot", "margins", "maps", "mapproj", "mapdata",
    "MASS", "quantreg", "scales", "survey", "srvyr",
    "viridis", "viridisLite", "devtools")

    repos = "")


Browser-backed option Plotly has R support.

Other plotting systems

R Graphical Manual visualization of all CRAN R package example plots, and is searchable by topic.

Other image wrangling

meme produces image macros from inside R. hexSticker does hexStickers.

cairo errors

Do you get an error like this when plotting SVGs?

unable to load shared object '/usr/local/Cellar/r/3.5.0_1/lib/R/library/grDevices/libs//':
dlopen(/usr/local/Cellar/r/3.5.0_1/lib/R/library/grDevices/libs//, 6): image not found

Or this?

Error in dev.control(displaylist = if (record) "enable" else "inhibit") :
  dev.control() called without an open graphics device
Calls: local ... call_block -> block_exec -> chunk_device -> dev.control
In addition: Warning messages:
1: In (function (filename = if (onefile) "Rplots.svg" else "Rplot%03d.svg",  :
  unable to load shared object 'SOMETHING/r/3.6.2/lib/R/library/grDevices/libs//':
  dlopen(SOMETHING/r/3.6.2/lib/R/library/grDevices/libs//, 6): image not found

Cairo is finicky.

One problem can be that homebrew R doesn’t support the cairo library. Yihui recommends:

brew install --cask r

or you can install svglite as an alternative.


and use the device option dev = "svglite". Mind you, svglite can have its own problems. I needed to do the following, on one Kubuntu workstation,


Or if you are using anaconda R:

This seems to help:

conda update conda
conda update --all
conda install -c r r-essentials=1.7.0

Generally anaconda R is a nightmare though, and all sorts of things fail to compile for me, so I do not recommend it.