cowplot v0.7.0


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by Claus O Wilke

Streamlined Plot Theme and Plot Annotations for 'ggplot2'

Some helpful extensions and modifications to the 'ggplot2' package. In particular, this package makes it easy to combine multiple 'ggplot2' plots into one and label them with letters, e.g. A, B, C, etc., as is often required for scientific publications. The package also provides a streamlined and clean theme that is used in the Wilke lab, hence the package name, which stands for Claus O. Wilke's plot package.


cowplot – An add-on to the ggplot2 plotting package

The cowplot package is meant to provide a publication-ready theme for ggplot2, one that requires a minimum amount of fiddling with sizes of axis labels, plot backgrounds, etc. It meets my personal needs; you may or may not like my style.

The package also fixes a couple of other annoyances that I encountered when trying to use ggplot2 for publication-ready figures, in particular with respect to combining multiple plots into one figure and labeling these plots. It turns out that the easiest way to fix these issues was to implement a general-purpose drawing canvas on top of ggplot2, so as a side effect of this work you can do pretty crazy effects with ggplot2 graphs.


This package is available on CRAN here and can be installed via


You can install the latest development version of this package using the devtools package. In your R console, simply enter:


Note that cowplot is in the early stages of development. While you may find it useful for certain graphing problems you encounter, it may have major problems or undergo substantial changes in the future. In particular, at this point I make no guarantees that the default theme will remain unchanged.


To get a quick introduction to the main features of this package, read the vignettes provided with the package on CRAN.

Functions in cowplot

Name Description
background_grid Add/modify/remove the background grid in a ggplot2 plot
draw_grob Draw a grob.
draw_figure_label Add a label to a figure
cowplot cowplot.
draw_text Draw text.
gtable_remove_grobs Remove named elements from gtable
ggdraw Set up a drawing layer on top of a ggplot
gtable_squash_cols Set the width of given colums to 0.
get_legend Retrieve the legend of a plot
gtable_squash_rows Set the height of given rows to 0.
save_plot Alternative to ggsave, with better support for multi-figure plots.
panel_border Add/remove the panel border in a ggplot2 plot
plot_grid Arrange multiple plots into a grid
ggsave Cowplot reimplementation of ggsave.
theme_cowplot Create the default cowplot theme
theme_nothing Create a completely empty theme
draw_label Draw a text label or mathematical expression.
draw_plot Draw a (sub)plot.
draw_line Draw a line.
align_plots Align multiple plots vertically and/or horizontally
add_sub Add annotation underneath a plot
draw_plot_label Add a label to a plot
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License GPL-2
LazyData true
VignetteBuilder knitr
Collate 'add_sub.R' 'cowplot.R' 'draw.R' 'get_legend.R' 'gtable.R' 'plot_grid.R' 'save.R' 'setup.R' 'switch_axis.R' 'themes.R'
RoxygenNote 5.0.1
NeedsCompilation no
Packaged 2016-10-27 20:33:37 UTC; wilke
Repository CRAN
Date/Publication 2016-10-28 00:02:16

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