stars {graphics}R Documentation

Star (Spider/Radar) Plots and Segment Diagrams


Draw star plots or segment diagrams of a multivariate data set. With one single location, also draws “spider” (or “radar”) plots.


stars(x, full = TRUE, scale = TRUE, radius = TRUE,
      labels = dimnames(x)[[1]], locations = NULL,
      nrow = NULL, ncol = NULL, len = 1,
      key.loc = NULL, key.labels = dimnames(x)[[2]], key.xpd = TRUE,
      xlim = NULL, ylim = NULL, flip.labels = NULL,
      draw.segments = FALSE, col.segments = 1:n.seg, col.stars = NA,
      axes = FALSE, frame.plot = axes,
      main = NULL, sub = NULL, xlab = "", ylab = "",
      cex = 0.8, lwd = 0.25, lty = par("lty"), xpd = FALSE,
      mar = pmin(par("mar"),
                 1.1+ c(2*axes+ (xlab != ""),
                 2*axes+ (ylab != ""), 1,0)),
      add = FALSE, plot = TRUE, ...)


x matrix or data frame of data. One star or segment plot will be produced for each row of x. Missing values (NA) are allowed, but they are treated as if they were 0 (after scaling, if relevant).
full logical flag: if TRUE, the segment plots will occupy a full circle. Otherwise, they occupy the (upper) semicircle only.
scale logical flag: if TRUE, the columns of the data matrix are scaled independently so that the maximum value in each column is 1 and the minimum is 0. If FALSE, the presumption is that the data have been scaled by some other algorithm to the range [0,1].
radius logical flag: in TRUE, the radii corresponding to each variable in the data will be drawn.
labels vector of character strings for labeling the plots. Unlike the S function stars, no attempt is made to construct labels if labels = NULL.
locations Either two column matrix with the x and y coordinates used to place each of the segment plots; or numeric of length 2 when all plots should be superimposed (for a “spider plot”). By default, locations = NULL, the segment plots will be placed in a rectangular grid.
nrow, ncol integers giving the number of rows and columns to use when locations is NULL. By default, nrow == ncol, a square layout will be used.
len scale factor for the length of radii or segments.
key.loc vector with x and y coordinates of the unit key.
key.labels vector of character strings for labeling the segments of the unit key. If omitted, the second component of dimnames(x) is used, if available.
key.xpd clipping switch for the unit key (drawing and labeling), see par("xpd").
xlim vector with the range of x coordinates to plot.
ylim vector with the range of y coordinates to plot.
flip.labels logical indicating if the label locations should flip up and down from diagram to diagram. Defaults to a somewhat smart heuristic.
draw.segments logical. If TRUE draw a segment diagram.
col.segments color vector (integer or character, see par), each specifying a color for one of the segments (variables). Ignored if draw.segments = FALSE.
col.stars color vector (integer or character, see par), each specifying a color for one of the stars (cases). Ignored if draw.segments = TRUE.
axes logical flag: if TRUE axes are added to the plot.
frame.plot logical flag: if TRUE, the plot region is framed.
main a main title for the plot.
sub a sub title for the plot.
xlab a label for the x axis.
ylab a label for the y axis.
cex character expansion factor for the labels.
lwd line width used for drawing.
lty line type used for drawing.
xpd logical or NA indicating if clipping should be done, see par(xpd = .).
mar argument to par(mar = *), typically choosing smaller margins than by default.
... further arguments, passed to the first call of plot(), see plot.default and to box() if frame.plot is true.
add logical, if TRUE add stars to current plot.
plot logical, if FALSE, nothing is plotted.


Missing values are treated as 0.

Each star plot or segment diagram represents one row of the input x. Variables (columns) start on the right and wind counterclockwise around the circle. The size of the (scaled) column is shown by the distance from the center to the point on the star or the radius of the segment representing the variable.

Only one page of output is produced.


This code started life as spatial star plots by David A. Andrews. See

Prior to 1.4.1, scaling only shifted the maximum to 1, although documented as here.


Thomas S. Dye


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


stars(mtcars[, 1:7], key.loc = c(14, 2),
      main = "Motor Trend Cars : stars(*, full = F)", full = FALSE)
stars(mtcars[, 1:7], key.loc = c(14, 1.5),
      main = "Motor Trend Cars : full stars()",flip.labels=FALSE)

## 'Spider' or 'Radar' plot:
stars(mtcars[, 1:7], locations = c(0,0), radius = FALSE,
      key.loc=c(0,0), main="Motor Trend Cars", lty = 2)

## Segment Diagrams:
palette(rainbow(12, s = 0.6, v = 0.75))
stars(mtcars[, 1:7], len = 0.8, key.loc = c(12, 1.5),
      main = "Motor Trend Cars", draw.segments = TRUE)
stars(mtcars[, 1:7], len = 0.6, key.loc = c(1.5, 0),
      main = "Motor Trend Cars", draw.segments = TRUE,
      frame.plot=TRUE, nrow = 4, cex = .7)

## scale linearly (not affinely) to [0, 1]
USJudge <- apply(USJudgeRatings, 2, function(x) x/max(x))
Jnam <- row.names(USJudgeRatings)
Snam <- abbreviate(substring(Jnam,1,regexpr("[,.]",Jnam) - 1), 7)
stars(USJudge, labels = Jnam, scale = FALSE,
      key.loc = c(13, 1.5), main = "Judge not ...", len = 0.8)
stars(USJudge, labels = Snam, scale = FALSE,
      key.loc = c(13, 1.5), radius = FALSE)

loc <- stars(USJudge, labels = NULL, scale = FALSE,
             radius = FALSE, frame.plot = TRUE,
             key.loc = c(13, 1.5), main = "Judge not ...", len = 1.2)
text(loc, Snam, col = "blue", cex = 0.8, xpd = TRUE)

## 'Segments':
stars(USJudge, draw.segments = TRUE, scale = FALSE, key.loc = c(13,1.5))

## 'Spider':
stars(USJudgeRatings, locations=c(0,0), scale=FALSE,radius = FALSE,
      col.stars=1:10, key.loc = c(0,0), main="US Judges rated")
## 'Radar-Segments'
stars(USJudgeRatings[1:10,], locations = 0:1, scale=FALSE,
      draw.segments = TRUE, col.segments=0, col.stars=1:10,key.loc= 0:1,
       main="US Judges 1-10 ")
      main = "A Joke -- do *not* use symbols on 2D data!")

[Package graphics version 2.5.0 Index]