Rotate Axis Labels of Base R Plot (3 Examples)


In this article, I’ll explain how to rotate axis labels of a Base R plot in the R programming language.

The content of the post is structured as follows:

Let’s get started…


Example Data

In the examples of this R tutorial, we’ll use the following example data:

set.seed(77777)        # Create example data
x <- rnorm(1000)
y <- rnorm(1000)

The default plot looks as follows:

plot(x, y)             # Default plot - parallel to the axis


figure 1 default plot labels in R

Figure 1: Base R Plot with Default Specifications.


The axis labels of the x-axis have a horizontal orientation and the y-axis labels have a vertical orientation.


Example 1: Rotate Axis Labels Horizontally

In order to change the angle of the axis labels of a Base R plot, we can use the las argument of the plot function. If we want to rotate our axis labels to a horizontal position, we have to specify las = 1:

plot(x, y, las = 1)    # Horizontal labels


horizontal base r plot axis labels

Figure 2: Horizontal Angle of Axis Labels.

Note that we can modify the las argument in any kind plot of Base R. In this example, we illustrated the las argument based on a scatterplot. However, we could also apply this R syntax for a barplot, histogram, boxplot, and so on…


Example 2: Rotate Axis Labels Perpendicular to the Axis

If we want to show our axis labels in a perpendicular angle to the Axis, we have to specify las = 2:

plot(x, y, las = 2)    # Perpendicular to the axis


both axis labels different angle base r plot axis labels

Figure 3: Labels Perpendicular to the Axis.


Example 3: Rotate Axis Labels Vertically

For vertical axis labels, we need to specify las = 3:

plot(x, y, las = 3)    # Vertical labels


vertical base r plot axis labels

Figure 4: Vertical Angle of Axis Labels.


Video, Further Resources & Summary

Have a look at the following video of my YouTube channel. In the video, I explain the R programming syntax of this article in R:


Please accept YouTube cookies to play this video. By accepting you will be accessing content from YouTube, a service provided by an external third party.

YouTube Content Consent Button Thumbnail

YouTube privacy policy

If you accept this notice, your choice will be saved and the page will refresh.


In addition to the video, you could read the related articles on


In this post you learned how to adjust the angles of axis text in R programming. Don’t hesitate to let me know in the comments, if you have any further questions.


Subscribe to my free statistics newsletter

Get regular updates on the latest tutorials, offers & news at Statistics Globe.
I hate spam & you may opt out anytime: Privacy Policy.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Fill out this field
Fill out this field
Please enter a valid email address.