Display All X-Axis Labels of Barplot in R (2 Examples)


In this tutorial, I’ll show how to show every x-axis label of a barplot in R programming.

The article consists of these topics:

Let’s dive into it…


Example Data & Default Graphic

We’ll use the data below as basement for this R programming tutorial:

data <- data.frame(value = 11:30,    # Create example data
                   group = paste0("Group_", LETTERS[1:20]))
head(data)                           # Head of example data


table 1 data frame display all x axis labels barplot r


Have a look at the table that got returned by the previous syntax. It shows that our example data has 20 rows and two columns. Each row represents a different bar of our barplot.

As next step, we can draw our data with default specifications:

barplot(data$value ~ data$group)     # Default barchart in Base R


r graph figure 1 display all x axis labels barplot r


As shown in Figure 1, we have managed to create a bargraph by executing the previous code. However, since our graphic contains too many bars, not all axis labels are shown.

Let’s change that!


Example 1: Show All Barchart Axis Labels of Base R Plot

Example 1 explains how to display all barchart labels in a Base R plot.

There are basically two major tricks, when we want to show all axis labels:

Let’s do both in R:

barplot(data$value ~ data$group,     # Modify x-axis labels
        las = 2,
        cex.names = 0.7)


r graph figure 2 display all x axis labels barplot r


In Figure 2 you can see that we have created a barplot with 90-degree angle and a smaller font size of the axis labels. All text labels are shown.


Example 2: Show All Barchart Axis Labels of ggplot2 Plot

In this example, I’ll show how to display all axis text labels of a ggplot2 graph.

In order to use the functions of the ggplot2 package, we first have to install and load ggplot2:

install.packages("ggplot2")          # Install & load ggplot2 package

Next, we can use the theme function and the axis.text.x argument to change the angle and decrease the font size of the axis labels:

ggplot(data, aes(group, value)) +    # ggplot2 plot with modified x-axis labels
  geom_bar(stat = "identity") +
  theme(axis.text.x = element_text(angle = 90, size = 5))


r graph figure 3 display all x axis labels barplot r


As shown in Figure 3, the previous syntax has drawn a ggplot2 barplot in which all axis labels are displayed.


Video & Further Resources

Do you need more explanations on the R programming code of this tutorial? Then you may want to have a look at the following video of my YouTube channel. I illustrate the R code of this post in the video.


The YouTube video will be added soon.


Furthermore, you may want to have a look at the other tutorials on my homepage. A selection of articles about graphics in R is shown below.


To summarize: At this point you should know how to display all text labels of a barchart axis in the R programming language. Don’t hesitate to let me know in the comments, in case you have additional questions and/or comments. Besides that, please subscribe to my email newsletter to get updates on new tutorials.


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