plotly (version 4.10.4)

plot_ly: Initiate a plotly visualization


This function maps R objects to plotly.js, an (MIT licensed) web-based interactive charting library. It provides abstractions for doing common things (e.g. mapping data values to fill colors (via color) or creating animations (via frame)) and sets some different defaults to make the interface feel more 'R-like' (i.e., closer to plot() and ggplot2::qplot()).


  data = data.frame(),
  type = NULL,
  colors = NULL,
  alpha = NULL,
  strokes = NULL,
  alpha_stroke = 1,
  sizes = c(10, 100),
  spans = c(1, 20),
  symbols = NULL,
  linetypes = NULL,
  width = NULL,
  height = NULL,
  source = "A"



A data frame (optional) or crosstalk::SharedData object.


Arguments (i.e., attributes) passed along to the trace type. See schema() for a list of acceptable attributes for a given trace type (by going to traces -> type -> attributes). Note that attributes provided at this level may override other arguments (e.g. plot_ly(x = 1:10, y = 1:10, color = I("red"), marker = list(color = "blue"))).


A character string specifying the trace type (e.g. "scatter", "bar", "box", etc). If specified, it always creates a trace, otherwise


Values mapped to the trace's name attribute. Since a trace can only have one name, this argument acts very much like split in that it creates one trace for every unique value.


Values mapped to relevant 'fill-color' attribute(s) (e.g. fillcolor, marker.color, textfont.color, etc.). The mapping from data values to color codes may be controlled using colors and alpha, or avoided altogether via I() (e.g., color = I("red")). Any color understood by grDevices::col2rgb() may be used in this way.


Either a palette name (e.g. "YlOrRd" or "Blues"), or a vector of colors to interpolate in hexadecimal "#RRGGBB" format, or a color interpolation function like colorRamp().


A number between 0 and 1 specifying the alpha channel applied to color. Defaults to 0.5 when mapping to fillcolor and 1 otherwise.


Similar to color, but values are mapped to relevant 'stroke-color' attribute(s) (e.g., marker.line.color and line.color for filled polygons). If not specified, stroke inherits from color.


Similar to colors, but controls the stroke mapping.


Similar to alpha, but applied to stroke.


(Numeric) values mapped to relevant 'fill-size' attribute(s) (e.g., marker.size, textfont.size, and error_x.width). The mapping from data values to symbols may be controlled using sizes, or avoided altogether via I() (e.g., size = I(30)).


A numeric vector of length 2 used to scale size to pixels.


(Numeric) values mapped to relevant 'stroke-size' attribute(s) (e.g., marker.line.width, line.width for filled polygons, and error_x.thickness) The mapping from data values to symbols may be controlled using spans, or avoided altogether via I() (e.g., span = I(30)).


A numeric vector of length 2 used to scale span to pixels.


(Discrete) values mapped to marker.symbol. The mapping from data values to symbols may be controlled using symbols, or avoided altogether via I() (e.g., symbol = I("pentagon")). Any pch value or symbol name may be used in this way.


A character vector of pch values or symbol names.


(Discrete) values mapped to line.dash. The mapping from data values to symbols may be controlled using linetypes, or avoided altogether via I() (e.g., linetype = I("dash")). Any lty (see par) value or dash name may be used in this way.


A character vector of lty values or dash names


(Discrete) values used to create multiple traces (one trace per value).


(Discrete) values used to create animation frames.


Width in pixels (optional, defaults to automatic sizing).


Height in pixels (optional, defaults to automatic sizing).


a character string of length 1. Match the value of this string with the source argument in event_data() to retrieve the event data corresponding to a specific plot (shiny apps can have multiple plots).


Carson Sievert


Unless type is specified, this function just initiates a plotly object with 'global' attributes that are passed onto downstream uses of add_trace() (or similar). A formula must always be used when referencing column name(s) in data (e.g. plot_ly(mtcars, x = ~wt)). Formulas are optional when supplying values directly, but they do help inform default axis/scale titles (e.g., plot_ly(x = mtcars$wt) vs plot_ly(x = ~mtcars$wt))


See Also

  • For initializing a plotly-geo object: plot_geo()

  • For initializing a plotly-mapbox object: plot_mapbox()

  • For translating a ggplot2 object to a plotly object: ggplotly()

  • For modifying any plotly object: layout(), add_trace(), style()

  • For linked brushing: highlight()

  • For arranging multiple plots: subplot(), crosstalk::bscols()

  • For inspecting plotly objects: plotly_json()

  • For quick, accurate, and searchable plotly.js reference: schema()


Run this code
if (FALSE) {

# plot_ly() tries to create a sensible plot based on the information you 
# give it. If you don't provide a trace type, plot_ly() will infer one.
plot_ly(economics, x = ~pop)
plot_ly(economics, x = ~date, y = ~pop)
# plot_ly() doesn't require data frame(s), which allows one to take 
# advantage of trace type(s) designed specifically for numeric matrices
plot_ly(z = ~volcano)
plot_ly(z = ~volcano, type = "surface")

# plotly has a functional interface: every plotly function takes a plotly
# object as it's first input argument and returns a modified plotly object
add_lines(plot_ly(economics, x = ~date, y = ~unemploy/pop))

# To make code more readable, plotly imports the pipe operator from magrittr
economics %>% plot_ly(x = ~date, y = ~unemploy/pop) %>% add_lines()

# Attributes defined via plot_ly() set 'global' attributes that 
# are carried onto subsequent traces, but those may be over-written
plot_ly(economics, x = ~date, color = I("black")) %>%
 add_lines(y = ~uempmed) %>%
 add_lines(y = ~psavert, color = I("red"))

# Attributes are documented in the figure reference ->
# You might notice plot_ly() has named arguments that aren't in this figure
# reference. These arguments make it easier to map abstract data values to
# visual attributes.
p <- plot_ly(palmerpenguins::penguins, x = ~bill_length_mm, y = ~body_mass_g)
add_markers(p, color = ~bill_depth_mm, size = ~bill_depth_mm)
add_markers(p, color = ~species)
add_markers(p, color = ~species, colors = "Set1")
add_markers(p, symbol = ~species)
add_paths(p, linetype = ~species)


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