The aim of this article is to show how to modify the title of graphs (main title and axis titles) in R software. There are two possible ways to do that :
- Directly by specifying the titles to the plotting function (ex :
plot()). In this case titles are modified during the creation of plot.
- the title() function can also be used. It adds titles on an existing plot.
Change main title and axis labels
The following arguments can be used :
- main: the text for the main title
- xlab: the text for the x axis label
- ylab: the text for y axis title
- sub: sub-title; It’s placed at the bottom of x-axis
# Simple graph barplot(c(2,5)) # Add titles barplot(c(2,5), main="Main title", xlab="X axis title", ylab="Y axis title", sub="Sub-title")
The following parameters can be used to change the colors :
- col.main: color the main title
- col.lab: color of the axis titles (x and y axis)
- col.sub: color of the sub-title
barplot(c(2,5), main="Main title", xlab="X axis title", ylab="Y axis title", sub="Sub-title", col.main="red", col.lab="blue", col.sub="black")
Note that, the different colors available in R software are described here.
The font style for the text of the titles
The graphical parameters to use for customizing the font of the titles are :
- font.main: font style for the main title
- font.lab: font style for the axis titles
- font.sub: font style for the sub-title
The value of these arguments should be an integer.
The possible values for the font style are :
- 1: normal text
- 2: bold
- 3: italic
- 4: bold and italic
- 5 : Symbol font
Use the R code below to create a plot title with bold and italic font style.
# Titles in bold and italic barplot(c(2,5), main="Main title", xlab="X axis title", ylab="Y axis title", sub="Sub-title", font.main=4, font.lab=4, font.sub=4)
Change the font size
font size can be modified using the graphical parameter : cex. The default value is 1. If cex value is inferior to 1, then the text size is decreased. Conversely, any value of cex greater than 1 can increase the font size.
The following arguments can be used to change the font size :
- cex.main : text size for main title
- cex.lab : text size for axis title
- cex.sub : text size of the sub-title
An example is shown below :
# Increase the size barplot(c(2,5), main="Main title", xlab="X axis title", ylab="Y axis title", sub="Sub-title", cex.main=2, cex.lab=1.7, cex.sub=1.2)
Use the title() function
title() can be also used to add titles to a graph.
A simplified format is :
title(main = NULL, sub = NULL, xlab = NULL, ylab = NULL, ...)
Example of usage
x<-1:10; y<-x*x plot(x,y, main = "", xlab="", ylab="", col.axis="blue") title(main = "Main title", sub = "Sub-title", xlab = "X axis", ylab = "Y axis", cex.main = 2, font.main= 4, col.main= "red", cex.sub = 0.75, font.sub = 3, col.sub = "green", col.lab ="darkblue" )
Customize the titles using par() function
Note that, the R par() function can be used to change the color, font style and size for the graph titles. The modifications done by the par() function are called ‘permanent modification’ because they are applied to all the plots generated under the current R session.
Read more on par() by clicking here.
par( # Change the colors col.main="red", col.lab="blue", col.sub="black", # Titles in italic and bold font.main=4, font.lab=4, font.sub=4, # Change font size cex.main=2, cex.lab=1.7, cex.sub=1.2 ) barplot(c(2,5), main="TMain title", xlab="X axis title", ylab="Y axis title", sub="Sub title")
This analysis has been performed using R statistical software (ver. 3.1.0).
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