Position scales for continuous data (x & y)

scale_x_continuous() and scale_y_continuous() are the default scales for continuous x and y aesthetics. There are three variants that set the trans argument for commonly used transformations: scale_*_log10(), scale_*_sqrt() and scale_*_reverse().

scale_x_continuous(name = waiver(), breaks = waiver(),
  minor_breaks = waiver(), labels = waiver(), limits = NULL,
  expand = waiver(), oob = censor, na.value = NA_real_,
  trans = "identity", position = "bottom", sec.axis = waiver())

scale_y_continuous(name = waiver(), breaks = waiver(), minor_breaks = waiver(), labels = waiver(), limits = NULL, expand = waiver(), oob = censor, na.value = NA_real_, trans = "identity", position = "left", sec.axis = waiver())








The name of the scale. Used as the axis or legend title. If waiver(), the default, the name of the scale is taken from the first mapping used for that aesthetic. If NULL, the legend title will be omitted.


One of:

  • NULL for no breaks

  • waiver() for the default breaks computed by the transformation object

  • A numeric vector of positions

  • A function that takes the limits as input and returns breaks as output


One of:

  • NULL for no minor breaks

  • waiver() for the default breaks (one minor break between each major break)

  • A numeric vector of positions

  • A function that given the limits returns a vector of minor breaks.


One of:

  • NULL for no labels

  • waiver() for the default labels computed by the transformation object

  • A character vector giving labels (must be same length as breaks)

  • A function that takes the breaks as input and returns labels as output


One of:

  • NULL to use the default scale range

  • A numeric vector of length two providing limits of the scale. Use NA to refer to the existing minimum or maximum

  • A function that accepts the existing (automatic) limits and returns new limits


Vector of range expansion constants used to add some padding around the data, to ensure that they are placed some distance away from the axes. Use the convenience function expand_scale() to generate the values for the expand argument. The defaults are to expand the scale by 5% on each side for continuous variables, and by 0.6 units on each side for discrete variables.


Function that handles limits outside of the scale limits (out of bounds). The default replaces out of bounds values with NA.


Missing values will be replaced with this value.


Either the name of a transformation object, or the object itself. Built-in transformations include "asn", "atanh", "boxcox", "date", "exp", "hms", "identity", "log", "log10", "log1p", "log2", "logit", "modulus", "probability", "probit", "pseudo_log", "reciprocal", "reverse", "sqrt" and "time".

A transformation object bundles together a transform, its inverse, and methods for generating breaks and labels. Transformation objects are defined in the scales package, and are called name_trans, e.g. scales::boxcox_trans(). You can create your own transformation with scales::trans_new().


The position of the axis. "left" or "right" for vertical scales, "top" or "bottom" for horizontal scales


specify a secondary axis


Other arguments passed on to scale_(x|y)_continuous()


For simple manipulation of labels and limits, you may wish to use labs() and lims() instead.

See Also

sec_axis() for how to specify secondary axes

Other position scales: scale_x_date, scale_x_discrete

  • scale_x_continuous
  • scale_y_continuous
  • scale_x_log10
  • scale_y_log10
  • scale_x_reverse
  • scale_y_reverse
  • scale_x_sqrt
  • scale_y_sqrt
p1 <- ggplot(mpg, aes(displ, hwy)) +

# Manipulating the default position scales lets you:
#  * change the axis labels
p1 +
  scale_x_continuous("Engine displacement (L)") +
  scale_y_continuous("Highway MPG")

# You can also use the short-cut labs().
# Use NULL to suppress axis labels
p1 + labs(x = NULL, y = NULL)

#  * modify the axis limits
p1 + scale_x_continuous(limits = c(2, 6))
p1 + scale_x_continuous(limits = c(0, 10))

# you can also use the short hand functions `xlim()` and `ylim()`
p1 + xlim(2, 6)

#  * choose where the ticks appear
p1 + scale_x_continuous(breaks = c(2, 4, 6))

#  * choose your own labels
p1 + scale_x_continuous(
  breaks = c(2, 4, 6),
  label = c("two", "four", "six")

# Typically you'll pass a function to the `labels` argument.
# Some common formats are built into the scales package:
df <- data.frame(
  x = rnorm(10) * 100000,
  y = seq(0, 1, length.out = 10)
p2 <- ggplot(df, aes(x, y)) + geom_point()
p2 + scale_y_continuous(labels = scales::percent)
p2 + scale_y_continuous(labels = scales::dollar)
p2 + scale_x_continuous(labels = scales::comma)

# You can also override the default linear mapping by using a
# transformation. There are three shortcuts:
p1 + scale_y_log10()
p1 + scale_y_sqrt()
p1 + scale_y_reverse()

# Or you can supply a transformation in the `trans` argument:
p1 + scale_y_continuous(trans = scales::reciprocal_trans())

# You can also create your own. See ?scales::trans_new

# }
Documentation reproduced from package ggplot2, version 3.2.0, License: GPL-2 | file LICENSE

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