Compact Ways to Visualize Distributions in R

For when you want to show or compare several distributions but don’t have a lot of space.

Most of the time, the distribution visualization basics get you where you need to go.As we’ve seen, there are a number of ways to visualize distributions in R, each method with its pros and cons. A good portion of the time, the standard plot types, such as a histogram or box plot, will provide what you need, but sometimes you need to look to other methods.

One such case is when you’re looking for more detail than a box plot provides but also have limited space. In this tutorial, you look at three alternatives.

To access this full tutorial and download the source code you must be a member. (If you are already a member, log in here.)


Gain instant access to step-by-step visualization courses and tutorials for insight and presentation — all while supporting an independent site. Source code and data is included so that you can more easily apply what you learn in your own work.

Members also recieve a weekly newsletter, The Process, which looks more closely at the tools, the rules, and the guidelines and how they work in practice.

See samples of everything you gain access to:

About the Author

Nathan Yau is a statistician who works primarily with visualization. He earned his PhD in statistics from UCLA, is the author of two best-selling books — Data Points and Visualize This — and runs FlowingData. Introvert. Likes food. Likes beer.