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How to Make Chord Diagrams in R

Show connections in the circular layout for a more compact presentation.

Chord diagrams are compact and often visual pleasing. Because circles. The outer track shows totals for in and out links, and the width of links represent the subtotals for each category.

The diagram carries with it similar challenges to other network graphs, namely a lot of lines crossing makes for a bowl of spaghetti. But in the event that you need a chord diagram, here’s how to do it.

I cover two methods. One uses a built-in function and the other draws a diagram piece-by-piece. As is usually the case, the former provides convenience while sacrificing flexibility. The latter offers flexibility, but takes a bit more effort.

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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.