How to Make Better-Looking, More Readable Charts in R
Defaults are generalized settings to work with many datasets. This is fine for analysis, but data graphics for presentation benefit from context-specific design.
Charts generated in R often look like they came from R, because the easiest thing to do is to just to use default settings. However, just because you make the charts in R doesn’t mean they have to look that way.
My preferred method is to export charts as PDF files and edit in Adobe Illustrator, but this workflow isn’t for everyone. Sometimes it’s useful to keep everything in R.
This tutorial starts you with a default chart and changes parameters step-by-step to improve readability.
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:
More Tutorials See All →
Symbols-based Unit Charts to Show Counts in R
Add visual weight by using individual items to show counts.
How to Customize Axes in R
For presentation purposes, it can be useful to adjust the style of your axes and reference lines for readability. It’s all about the details.
Transitioning Map, Part 2: Refining the Format and Layout
How to make a more readable and more visually accurate map, before you dive into the big transitions.