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How to Untangle a Spaghetti Line Chart (with R Examples)

Put multiple time series lines on the same plot, and you quickly end up with a mess. Here are practical ways to clean it up.

Line charts are good for showing trends over time. Put two lines on a single chart and you can compare trends for two categories. Keep adding lines, and the chart becomes hard to read in a hurry.

In this tutorial, we look at four possible solutions and alternatives to the resulting spaghetti plot.

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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.