dotchart {graphics}R Documentation

Cleveland Dot Plots


Draw a Cleveland dot plot.


dotchart(x, labels = NULL, groups = NULL, gdata = NULL,
         cex = par("cex"), pch = 21, gpch = 21, bg = par("bg"),
         color = par("fg"), gcolor = par("fg"), lcolor = "gray",
         xlim = range(x[is.finite(x)]),
         main = NULL, xlab = NULL, ylab = NULL, ...)


x either a vector or matrix of numeric values (NAs are allowed). If x is a matrix the overall plot consists of juxtaposed dotplots for each row.
labels a vector of labels for each point. For vectors the default is to use names(x) and for matrices the row labels dimnames(x)[[1]].
groups an optional factor indicating how the elements of x are grouped. If x is a matrix, groups will default to the columns of x.
gdata data values for the groups. This is typically a summary such as the median or mean of each group.
cex the character size to be used. Setting cex to a value smaller than one can be a useful way of avoiding label overlap. Unlike many other graphics functions, this sets the actual size, not a multiple of par("cex").
pch the plotting character or symbol to be used.
gpch the plotting character or symbol to be used for group values.
bg the background color of plotting characters or symbols to be used; use par(bg= *) to set the background color of the whole plot.
color the color(s) to be used for points and labels.
gcolor the single color to be used for group labels and values.
lcolor the color(s) to be used for the horizontal lines.
xlim horizontal range for the plot, see plot.window, e.g.
main overall title for the plot, see title.
xlab, ylab axis annotations as in title.
... graphical parameters can also be specified as arguments.


This function is invoked for its side effect, which is to produce two variants of dotplots as described in Cleveland (1985).
Dot plots are a reasonable substitute for bar plots.


Becker, R. A., Chambers, J. M. and Wilks, A. R. (1988) The New S Language. Wadsworth & Brooks/Cole.

Cleveland, W. S. (1985) The Elements of Graphing Data. Monterey, CA: Wadsworth.

Murrell, P. (2005) R Graphics. Chapman & Hall/CRC Press.


dotchart(VADeaths, main = "Death Rates in Virginia - 1940")
op <- par(xaxs="i")# 0 -- 100%
dotchart(t(VADeaths), xlim = c(0,100),
         main = "Death Rates in Virginia - 1940")

[Package graphics version 2.5.0 Index]