Cleveland's Dot Plots

Draw a Cleveland dot plot.

dotchart(x, labels = NULL, groups = NULL, gdata = NULL,
         ann = par("ann"), xaxt = par("xaxt"), frame.plot = TRUE, log = "",
         cex = par("cex"), pt.cex = 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, …)

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. Inputs which satisfy is.numeric(x) but not is.vector(x) || is.matrix(x) are coerced by as.numeric, with a warning.


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]].


an optional factor indicating how the elements of x are grouped. If x is a matrix, groups will default to the columns of x.


data values for the groups. This is typically a summary such as the median or mean of each group.


a logical value indicating whether the default annotation (title and x and y axis labels) should appear on the plot.


a string indicating the x-axis style; use "n" to suppress and see also par("xaxt").


a logical indicating whether a box should be drawn around the plot.


a character string indicating if one or the other axis should be logarithmic, see plot.default.


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").


the cex to be applied to plotting symbols. This behaves like cex in plot().


the plotting character or symbol to be used.


the plotting character or symbol to be used for group values.


the background color of plotting characters or symbols to be used; use par(bg= *) to set the background color of the whole plot.


the color(s) to be used for points and labels.


the single color to be used for group labels and values.


the color(s) to be used for the horizontal lines.


horizontal range for the plot, see plot.window, for example.


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
library(graphics) # NOT RUN { dotchart(VADeaths, main = "Death Rates in Virginia - 1940") op <- par(xaxs = "i") # 0 -- 100% dotchart(t(VADeaths), xlim = c(0,100), bg = "skyblue", main = "Death Rates in Virginia - 1940") par(op) # }
Documentation reproduced from package graphics, version 3.6.2, License: Part of R 3.6.2

Community examples at Feb 6, 2019 graphics v3.5.2

[Example file for LinkedIn Learning video]( ```r # dotchart works with matrix or vector (not dataframe) # Dotplot for vectors ---- vectorToPlot <- c(1:6) names(vectorToPlot) <- c(LETTERS[1:6]) dotchart(vectorToPlot, cex = .7) myGroup <- factor(c("group1","group3","group2","group1","group3","group2")) dotchart(vectorToPlot, groups = myGroup) dotchart(vectorToPlot, gcolor = "red", groups = myGroup, gdata = c(median(vectorToPlot[myGroup == "group1"]), median(vectorToPlot[myGroup == "group2"]), median(vectorToPlot[myGroup == "group3"])), cex = .7, main = "Groups of Things", xlab = "Things") # dotplot for matrix ---- View(WorldPhones) str(WorldPhones) # worldphones is a matrix - not a dataframe # Major labels (Groups) are matrix columns. Minor labels are matrix rows dotchart(WorldPhones) # works, but it's messy dotchart(WorldPhones, gcolor = "Blue", cex = .5, gdata = colMeans(WorldPhones), gpch = 15, main = "World Phones by Country") ```