Drawing graphs



Drawing graphs

The common bits of the three plotting functions plot.igraph, tkplot and rglplot are discussed in this manual page


There are currently three different functions in the igraph package which can draw graph in various ways:

plot.igraph does simple non-interactive 2D plotting to R devices. Actually it is an implementation of the plot generic function, so you can write plot(graph) instead of plot.igraph(graph). As it used the standard R devices it supports every output format for which R has an output device. The list is quite impressing: PostScript, PDF files, XFig files, SVG files, JPG, PNG and of course you can plot to the screen as well using the default devices, or the good-looking anti-aliased Cairo device. See plot.igraph for some more information.

tkplot does interactive 2D plotting using the tcltk package. It can only handle graphs of moderate size, a thousend vertices is probably already too many. Some parameters of the plotted graph can be changed interactively after issuing the tkplot command: the position, color and size of the vertices and the color and width of the edges. See tkplot for details. rglplot is an experimental function to draw graphs in 3D using OpenGL. See rglplot for some more information.

Please also check the examples below.



How to specify graphical parameters

There are three ways to give values to the parameters described below, in section 'Parameters'. We give these three ways here in the order of their precedence.

The first method is to supply named arguments to the plotting commands: plot.igraph, tkplot or rglplot. Parameters for vertices start with prefix vertex., parameters for edges have prefix edge., and global parameters have no prefix. Eg. the color of the vertices can be given via argument vertex.color, whereas edge.color sets the color of the edges. layout gives the layout of the graphs.

The second way is to assign vertex, edge and graph attributes to the graph. These attributes have now prefix, ie. the color of the vertices is taken from the color vertex attribute and the color of the edges from the color edge attribute. The layout of the graph is given by the layout graph attribute. (Always assuming that the corresponding command argument is not present.) Setting vertex and edge attributes are handy if you want to assign a given look to a graph, attributes are saved with the graph is you save it with save or in GraphML format with write.graph, so the graph will have the same look after loading it again.

If a parameter is not given in the command line, and the corresponding vertex/edge/graph attribute is also missing then the general igraph parameters handled by igraph.options are also checked. Vertex parameters have prefix vertex., edge parameters are prefixed with edge., general parameters like layout are prefixed with plot. These parameters are useful if you want all or most of your graphs to have the same look, vertex size, vertex color, etc. Then you don't need to set these at every plotting, and you also don't need to assign vertex/edge attributes to every graph.

If the value of a parameter is not specified by any of the three ways described here, its default valued is used, as given in the source code.

Different parameters can have different type, eg. vertex colors can be given as a character vector with color names, or as an integer vector with the color numbers from the current palette. Different types are valid for different parameters, this is discussed in detail in the next section. It is however always true that the parameter can always be a function object in which it will be called with the graph as its single argument to get the proper value of the parameter. (If the function returns another function object that will not be called again...)

  • igraph.plotting
Documentation reproduced from package igraph, version 0.6.5-2, License: GPL (>= 2)

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