How to Create Side-by-Side Plots in ggplot2


Often you may want to create two plots side-by-side using the ggplot2 package in R. Fortunately this is easy to do with the help of the patchwork package.

#install ggplot2 and patchwork packages
install.packages('ggplot2')
install.packages('patchwork')

#load the packages 
library(ggplot2)
library(patchwork)

This tutorial shows several examples of how to use these packages to create side-by-side plots.

Example 1: Two Side-by-Side Plots

The following code shows how to create two side-by-side plots using the R built-in iris dataset:

#create box plot
plot1 <- ggplot(iris, aes(x = Species, y = Sepal.Length)) +
  geom_boxplot()

#create density plot
plot2 <- ggplot(iris, aes(x = Sepal.Length, fill = Species)) +
  geom_density(alpha = 0.8)

#display plots side by side
plot1 + plot2 

Side-by-side plots in ggplot2 in R

Example 2: Three Side-by-Side Plots

The following code shows how to create three side-by-side plots using the R built-in iris dataset:

#create box plot
plot1 <- ggplot(iris, aes(x = Species, y = Sepal.Length)) +
  geom_boxplot()

#create density plot
plot2 <- ggplot(iris, aes(x = Sepal.Length, fill = Species)) +
  geom_density(alpha = 0.7)

#create scatterplot 
plot3 <- ggplot(iris, aes(x = Sepal.Length, y = Sepal.Width)) +
  geom_point()

#display three plots side by side
plot1 + plot2 + plot3

Three side-by-side plots in ggplot2

Example 3: Two Stacked Plots

The following code shows how to create two stacked plots, one on top of the other:

#create box plot
plot1 <- ggplot(iris, aes(x = Species, y = Sepal.Length)) +
  geom_boxplot()

#create density plot
plot2 <- ggplot(iris, aes(x = Sepal.Length, fill = Species)) +
  geom_density(alpha = 0.7)

#display plots stacked on top of each other
plot1 / plot2 

Two stacked plots in ggplot2

Example 4: Add Titles, Subtitles, and Captions

The following code shows how to add titles, subtitles, and captions to the plots:

#create box plot
plot1 <- ggplot(iris, aes(x = Species, y = Sepal.Length)) +
  geom_boxplot() +
  ggtitle('Boxplot')

#create density plot
plot2 <- ggplot(iris, aes(x = Sepal.Length, fill = Species)) +
  geom_density(alpha = 0.7) +
  ggtitle('Density Plot')

#display plots side by side with title, subtitle, and captions
patchwork <- plot1 + plot2 

patchwork + plot_annotation(
  title = 'This is a title',
  subtitle = 'This is a subtitle that describes more information about the plots',
  caption = 'This is a caption'
)

Side by side plots in ggplot2 with titles and subtitles

You can find more R tutorials here.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.