R Graphics: Multiple Graphs and par(mfrow=(A,B))

by David Lillis, Ph.D.

Today we see how to set up multiple graphs on the same page. We use the syntax  par(mfrow=(A,B))

. . . where A refers to the number of rows and B to the number of columns (and where each cell will hold a single graph). This syntax sets up a plotting environment of A rows and B columns.

First we create four vectors, all of the same length.

X <- c(1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7)

Y1 <- c(2, 4, 5, 7, 12, 14, 16)

Y2 <- c(3, 6, 7, 8, 9, 11, 12)

Y3 <- c(1, 7, 3, 2, 2, 7, 9)

Now we set up a plotting environment of two rows and three columns (in order to hold six graphs), using par(mfrow())

par(mfrow=c(2,3))

Now we plot six graphs on the same plotting environment. We use the plot() command six times in succession, each time graphing one of the Y vectors against the X vector.

plot(X,Y1, pch = 1)

plot(X,Y2, pch = 2)

plot(X,Y3, pch = 3)

plot(X,Y1, pch = 4)

plot(X,Y2, pch = 15)

plot(X,Y3, pch = 16)

Out plot looks like this:
image001
To see more of the R is Not So Hard! tutorial series, visit our R Resource page.

About the Author: David Lillis has taught R to many researchers and statisticians. His company, Sigma Statistics and Research Limited, provides both on-line instruction and face-to-face workshops on R, and coding services in R. David holds a doctorate in applied statistics.

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Comments

  1. Shailaja Chadha says

    Hello,
    Is there a way to do this for a very large data set so that you don’t have to type in
    plot(X,Y3, pch = 16)…. and so on.

    I want a way to generate scatter plots for all columns (y=column heading) against the treatments (x=treatments).

    Thanks so much.

  2. Mohammad says

    Thanks.
    Is there any way we can change the margin of the plots? i mean They all have same border and margins atm, I want one of my plots to have less space.

  3. Kul says

    Is there a way to write a name for all plots? E.g. in your example how could one write “Two rows of Y plots” on top of the plot/file?

    • Cindy says

      You want

      par(new=F)

      This will not erase the existing plot before drawing the new one. Note however that it does not attempt to scale the overlaid plot to the existing one – you can either use different y-axes on either side of the plot, or scale the overlaid plot yourself. Otherwise your new plot will be the right shape, but appear to have the wrong y-values.


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