Google Sankey Chart with R sankey gvisSankey

A sankey diagram is a visualization used to depict a flow from one set of values to another. The things being connected are called nodes and the connections are called links. They're named after Captain Sankey, who created a diagram of steam engine efficiency that used arrows having widths proportional to heat loss.

gvisSankey(data, from = "", to = "", weight = "", options = list(), chartid)
data.frame that contains the data to be visualised
a string that referes to the column name in data for the source nodes to be used
a string that referes to the column name in data for the destination nodes to be used
name of the column with the numerical weight of the connections
list of configuration options. The options are documented in detail by Google online: https://developers.google.com/chart/interactive/docs/gallery/sankey#Configuration_Options The parameters can be set via a named list. The parameters have to map those of the Google documentation.
  • Boolean arguments are set to either TRUE or FALSE, using the R syntax.
  • Google API parameters with a single value and with names that don't include a "." are set like one would do in R, that is options=list(width=200, height=300). Exceptions to this rule are the width and height options for gvisAnnotatedTimeLine and gvisAnnotationChart. For those two functions, width and height must be character strings of the format "Xpx", where X is a number, or "automatic". For example, options=list(width="200px", height="300px").
  • Google API parameters with names that don't include a ".", but require multivalues are set as a character, wrapped in "[ ]" and separated by commas, e.g. options=list(colors="['#cbb69d', '#603913', '#c69c6e']")
  • Google API parameters with names that do include a "." present parameters with several sub-options and have to be set as a character wrapped in " ". The values of those sub-options are set via parameter:value. Boolean values have to be stated as 'true' or 'false'. For example the Google documentaion states the formating options for the vertical axis and states the parameter as vAxis.format. Then this paramter can be set in R as: options=list(vAxis="{format:'#,###%'}").
  • If several sub-options have to be set, e.g. titleTextStyle.color, titleTextStyle.fontName and titleTextStyle.fontSize, then those can be combined in one list item such as: options=list(titleTextStyle="{color:'red', fontName:'Courier', fontSize:16}")
  • paramters that can have more than one value per sub-options are wrapped in "[ ]". For example to set the labels for left and right axes use: options=list(vAxes="[{title:'val1'}, {title:'val2'}]")
  • gvis.editor a character label for an on-page button that opens an in-page dialog box enabling users to edit, change and customise the chart. By default no value is given and therefore no button is displayed.
For more details see the Google API documentation and the R examples below.
character. If missing (default) a random chart id will be generated based on chart type and tempfile

gvisSankey returns list of class "gvis" and "list". An object of class "gvis" is a list containing at least the following components:
Google visualisation type
character id of the chart object. Unique chart ids are required to place several charts on the same page.
a list with the building blocks for a page
a character string of a html page header: ...,
a named character vector of the chart's building blocks:
Opening .
Call of the jsDisplayChart function.
container to embed the chart into the page.
character string of a standard caption, including data name and chart id.
character string of a html page footer: ..., including the used R and googleVis version and link to Google's Terms of Use.


The sankey chart may be undergoing substantial revisions in future Google Charts releases.


Google Chart Tools API: http://developers.google.com/chart/interactive/docs/gallery/sankey

  • gvisSankey
dat <- data.frame(From=c(rep("A",3), rep("B", 3)), 
                  To=c(rep(c("X", "Y", "Z"),2)), 

sk1 <- gvisSankey(dat, from="From", to="To", weight="Weight")

sk2 <- gvisSankey(dat, from="From", to="To", weight="Weight",
                options=list(sankey="{link: {color: { fill: '#d799ae' } },
                                     node: { color: { fill: '#a61d4c' },
                                     label: { color: '#871b47' } }}"))

Documentation reproduced from package googleVis, version 0.6.0, License: GPL (>= 2)

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