Position geom_text Labels in Grouped ggplot2 Barplot in R (Example)

 

In this article, I’ll demonstrate how to properly add text labels to a dodged ggplot2 barchart in R.

The article consists of these contents:

Let’s take a look at some R codes in action…

 

Example Data, Packages & Basic Graphic

We’ll use the following data as basement for this R tutorial.

data <- data.frame(height = 1:6,      # Create example data
                   group = rep(LETTERS[1:3], each = 2),
                   subgroup = letters[1:2])
data                                  # Print example data

 

table 1 data frame r position geom_text labels grouped ggplot2 barplot

 

Table 1 illustrates the output of the RStudio console returned by the previous syntax and shows that our example data is composed of six rows and three variables.

The variable height defines the heights of our bars and the variables group and subgroup define our different bars.

For the example of this tutorial, we’ll also need to install and load the ggplot2 package:

install.packages("ggplot2")           # Install ggplot2 package
library("ggplot2")                    # Load ggplot2

Next, we can draw the data in a grouped ggplot2 barplot:

ggp <- ggplot(data, aes(x = group,    # Create ggplot2 plot without labels
                        y = height,
                        fill = subgroup)) +
  geom_bar(stat = "identity",
           position = "dodge")
ggp                                   # Draw ggplot2 plot without labels

 

r graph figure 1 r position geom_text labels grouped ggplot2 barplot

 

In Figure 1 it is shown that we have plotted a grouped ggplot2 barchart with dodged positions by executing the previous syntax.

Next, we may add text labels on top of the bars using the geom_text function:

ggp +                                 # Add text labels at wrong positions
  geom_text(aes(group, label = height))

 

r graph figure 2 r position geom_text labels grouped ggplot2 barplot

 

After running the previous R programming syntax the bargraph illustrated in Figure 2 has been plotted. As you can see, the text labels on top of the bars are not aligned properly.

So how can we change the positioning of our text labels? That’s what I’ll explain in the following example!

 

Example: Specify Correct Text Label Positions of Dodged Barplot

This example illustrates how to add geom_text labels at the top of each bar of our grouped barplot.

For this, we have to specify the position argument within the geom_text function to be equal to position_dodge(width = 1).

Have a look at the following R code:

ggp +                                 # Add text labels at correct positions
  geom_text(aes(group, label = height),
            position = position_dodge(width = 1))

 

r graph figure 3 r position geom_text labels grouped ggplot2 barplot

 

In Figure 3 you can see that we have plotted a grouped barplot with properly located text counts on the of the bars using the previous code.

 

Video & Further Resources

Have a look at the following video of my YouTube channel. In the video, I demonstrate the R code of this article:

 

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Furthermore, you may read some of the other tutorials on my website. I have published numerous tutorials already.

 

In summary: In this article, I have demonstrated how to use the geom_text function to draw text labels on top of the bars of a grouped barplot in the R programming language. Don’t hesitate to tell me about it in the comments section, if you have additional questions.

 

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8 Comments. Leave new

  • Hi Joachim,

    Thank you so much for the great tutorials! I wanted to ask if it is possible to use geom_text to add labels on bars that have a different width.
    The bars of my histogram each have a completely different width and I would still like to add a label in the middle of each bar.

    Thank you and best!

    Reply
    • Hey Marta,

      Thanks a lot for the very kind feedback!

      Regarding your question: The following code works fine for me.

      data <- data.frame(height = 1:6,      # Create example data
                         group = LETTERS[1:6])
      data                                  # Print example data
       
      ggp &lt;- ggplot(data, aes(x = group,    # Create ggplot2 plot without labels
                              y = height)) +
        geom_bar(stat = "identity",
                 position = "dodge",
                 width = seq(0.1, 0.6, 0.1))
      ggp                                   # Draw ggplot2 plot without labels
       
      ggp +                                 # Add text labels at correct positions
        geom_text(aes(group, label = height),
                  position = position_dodge(width = 1))

      Is this solving your problem or is your plot looking differently?

      Regards,
      Joachim

      Reply
  • Thanks for this helpful tutorial. I have included error bars on my plot, so it makes the plotting the text hard to read and messy. Is there a way to shift the text so it sits above the error bars?

    Reply
    • Hey Will,

      Thank you for the kind comment, glad the tutorial was helpful!

      Regarding your question: You may use the vjust argument for this. Have a look at the example code below:

      ggp +
        geom_text(aes(group, label = height),
                  position = position_dodge(width = 1),
                  vjust = - 2)

      Regards,
      Joachim

      Reply
  • Thank you very much, your tutorial described exactly the problem I had with my grouped Barplot. Is there a way to place these labels at the bottom of the bars, probably on y=0.5?

    Reply
  • Hi this is very useful! I was just wondering if there was a way to add the text to say all the blue bars, but not the pink ones. In need of adding n= to grouped bar plot but just for one bar for each group if that makes sense!

    Reply
    • Hey Bethany,

      Thanks for the kind comment, glad you find the tutorial helpful!

      You could define the labels manually as shown below:

      my_height <- data$height
      my_height[c(1, 3, 5)] <- ""
       
      ggp +
        geom_text(aes(group, label = my_height),
                  position = position_dodge(width = 1))

      barplot with some labels

      Regards,
      Joachim

      Reply

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