tmap (version 2.1-1)

tm_fill: Draw polygons


Creates a tmap-element that draws the polygons. tm_fill fills the polygons. Either a fixed color is used, or a color palette is mapped to a data variable. tm_borders draws the borders of the polygons. tm_polygons fills the polygons and draws the polygon borders.


tm_fill(col = NA, alpha = NA, palette = NULL, convert2density = FALSE,
  area = NULL, n = 5, style = ifelse(is.null(breaks), "pretty", "fixed"),
  breaks = NULL, interval.closure = "left", labels = NULL,
  midpoint = NULL, stretch.palette = TRUE, contrast = NA, colorNA = NA,
  textNA = "Missing", showNA = NA, colorNULL = NA, thres.poly = 0,
  title = NA, = TRUE, legend.format = list(), = TRUE, legend.reverse = FALSE, legend.hist = FALSE,
  legend.hist.title = NA, legend.z = NA, legend.hist.z = NA, id = NA,
  popup.vars = NA, popup.format = list(), group = NA,
  auto.palette.mapping = NULL, max.categories = NULL, ...)

tm_borders(col = NA, lwd = 1, lty = "solid", alpha = NA, group = NA)

tm_polygons(col = NA, alpha = NA, border.col = NA, border.alpha = NA, group = NA, ...)



For tm_fill, it is one of

  • a single color value

  • the name of a data variable that is contained in shp. Either the data variable contains color values, or values (numeric or categorical) that will be depicted by a color palette (see palette. In the latter case, a choropleth is drawn.

  • "MAP_COLORS". In this case polygons will be colored such that adjacent polygons do not get the same color. See the underlying function map_coloring for details.

For tm_borders, it is a single color value that specifies the border line color. If multiple values are specified, small multiples are drawn (see details).


transparency number between 0 (totally transparent) and 1 (not transparent). By default, the alpha value of the col is used (normally 1).


a palette name or a vector of colors. See tmaptools::palette_explorer() for the named palettes. Use a "-" as prefix to reverse the palette. The default palette is taken from tm_layout's argument aes.palette, which typically depends on the style. The type of palette from aes.palette is automatically determined, but can be overwritten: use "seq" for sequential, "div" for diverging, and "cat" for categorical.


boolean that determines whether col is converted to a density variable. Should be TRUE when col consists of absolute numbers. The area size is either approximated from the shape object, or given by the argument area.


Name of the data variable that contains the area sizes in squared kilometer.


preferred number of classes (in case col is a numeric variable).


method to process the color scale when col is a numeric variable. Discrete options are "cat", "fixed", "sd", "equal", "pretty", "quantile", "kmeans", "hclust", "bclust", "fisher", and "jenks". A numeric variable is processed as a categorical variable when using "cat", i.e. each unique value will correspond to a distinct category. For the other discrete options, see the details in classIntervals. Continuous options are "cont" and "order". The former maps the values of col to a smooth gradient, whereas the latter maps the order of values of col to a smooth gradient. They are the continuous variants of respectively the discrete methods "equal" and quantile".


in case style=="fixed", breaks should be specified. The breaks argument can also be used when style="cont". In that case, the breaks are mapped evenly to the sequential or diverging color palette.


value that determines whether where the intervals are closed: "left" or "right". Only applicable if col is a numeric variable.


labels of the classes.


The value mapped to the middle color of a diverging palette. By default it is set to 0 if negative and positive values are present. In that case, the two sides of the color palette are assigned to negative respectively positive values. If all values are positive or all values are negative, then the midpoint is set to NA, which means that the value that corresponds to the middle color class (see style) is mapped to the middle color. Only applies when col is a numeric variable. If it is specified for sequential color palettes (e.g. "Blues"), then this color palette will be treated as a diverging color palette.


Logical that determines whether the categorical color palette should be stretched if there are more categories than colors. If TRUE (default), interpolated colors are used (like a rainbow). If FALSE, the palette is repeated.


vector of two numbers that determine the range that is used for sequential and diverging palettes (applicable when auto.palette.mapping=TRUE). Both numbers should be between 0 and 1. The first number determines where the palette begins, and the second number where it ends. For sequential palettes, 0 means the brightest color, and 1 the darkest color. For diverging palettes, 0 means the middle color, and 1 both extremes. If only one number is provided, this number is interpreted as the endpoint (with 0 taken as the start).


color used for missing values. Use NULL for transparency.


text used for missing values.


logical that determines whether missing values are named in the legend. By default (NA), this depends on the presence of missing values.


colour for polygons that are shown on the map that are out of scope


number that specifies the threshold at which polygons are taken into account. The number itself corresponds to the proportion of the area sizes of the polygons to the total polygon size. By default, all polygons are drawn. To ignore polygons that are not visible in a normal plot, a value like 1e-05 is recommended.


title of the legend element

logical that determines whether the legend is shown


list of formatting options for the legend numbers. Only applicable if labels is undefined. Parameters are:


Function to specify the labels. It should take a numeric vector, and should return a character vector of the same size. By default it is not specified. If specified, the list items scientific, format, and digits (see below) are not used.


Should the labels be formatted scientifically? If so, square brackets are used, and the format of the numbers is "g". Otherwise, format="f", and text.separator, text.less.than, and text.or.more are used. Also, the numbers are automatically rounded to millions or billions if applicable.


By default, "f", i.e. the standard notation, is used. If scientific=TRUE then "g", which means that numbers are formatted scientifically, i.e. n.dddE+nn if needed to save space.


Number of digits after the decimal point if format="f", and the number of significant digits otherwise.


Character string to use to separate numbers in the legend (default: "to").


Character value(s) to use to translate "Less than". When a character vector of length 2 is specified, one for each word, these words are aligned when = TRUE


Character value(s) to use to translate "or more". When a character vector of length 2 is specified, one for each word, these words are aligned when = TRUE


Value that determines how the numbers are aligned, "left", "center" or "right"

. By default "left" for legends in portrait format ( = TRUE), and "center" otherwise.

Logical that determines whether the text is aligned to three columns (from, text.separator, to). By default FALSE.


Other arguments passed on to formatC

logical that determines whether the legend is in portrait mode (TRUE) or landscape (FALSE)


logical that determines whether the items are shown in reverse order, i.e. from bottom to top when = TRUE and from right to left when = FALSE


logical that determines whether a histogram is shown


title for the histogram. By default, one title is used for both the histogram and the normal legend.


index value that determines the position of the legend element with respect to other legend elements. The legend elements are stacked according to their z values. The legend element with the lowest z value is placed on top.


index value that determines the position of the histogram legend element


name of the data variable that specifies the indices of the polygons. Only used for "view" mode (see tmap_mode).


names of data variables that are shown in the popups in "view" mode. If convert2density=TRUE, the derived density variable name is suffixed with _density. If NA (default), only aesthetic variables (i.e. specified by col and lwd) are shown). If they are not specified, all variables are shown. Set popup.vars to FALSE to disable popups. When a vector of variable names is provided, the names (if specified) are printed in the popups.


list of formatting options for the popup values. See the argument legend.format for options. Only applicable for numeric data variables. If one list of formatting options is provided, it is applied to all numeric variables of popup.vars. Also, a (named) list of lists can be provided. In that case, each list of formatting options is applied to the named variable.


name of the group to which this layer belongs in view mode. Each group can be selected or deselected in the layer control item. Groups can either be specified as base or overlay groups in tm_view (arguments base.groups and overlay.groups).


deprecated. It has been replaced by midpoint for numeric variables and stretch.palette for categorical variables.


deprecated. It has moved to tmap_options.


for tm_polygons, these arguments passed to either tm_fill or tm_borders. For tm_fill, these arguments are passed on to map_coloring.


border line width (see par)


border line type (see par)


border line color


transparency number between 0 (totally transparent) and 1 (not transparent). By default, the alpha value of the col is used (normally 1).




Small multiples can be drawn in two ways: either by specifying the by argument in tm_facets, or by defining multiple variables in the aesthetic arguments. The aesthetic argument of tm_fill (and tm_polygons) is col. In the latter case, the arguments, except for thres.poly, and the ones starting with legend., can be specified for small multiples as follows. If the argument normally only takes a single value, such as n, then a vector of those values can be specified, one for each small multiple. If the argument normally can take a vector, such as palette, then a list of those vectors (or values) can be specified, one for each small multiple.


Tennekes, M., 2018, tmap: Thematic Maps in R, Journal of Statistical Software, 84(6), 1-39, DOI

See Also



Run this code

# Constant fill
tm_shape(World) + tm_fill("darkolivegreen3") + tm_format("World", title="A green World")

# Borders only
tm_shape(World) + tm_borders()

# Data variable containing colours values
World$isNLD <- ifelse(World$name=="Netherlands", "darkorange", "darkolivegreen3")
tm_shape(World) +
    tm_fill("isNLD") +
tm_layout("Find the Netherlands!")

tm_shape(World) +
	tm_polygons("economy", title="Economy", id="name") +
	tm_text("iso_a3", size="AREA", scale=1.5) +

# Numeric data variable
tm_shape(World) +
	tm_polygons("HPI", palette="RdYlGn", style="cont", n=8,
		title="Happy Planet Index", id="name") +
	tm_text("iso_a3", size="AREA", scale=1.5) +
tm_style("grey") +

# }
data(NLD_prov, NLD_muni)	
# Map coloring algorithm
tm_shape(NLD_prov) +
    tm_fill("name", = FALSE) +
tm_shape(NLD_muni) +
    tm_polygons("MAP_COLORS", palette="Greys", alpha = .25) +
tm_shape(NLD_prov) +
    tm_borders(lwd=2) +
    tm_text("name", shadow=TRUE) +
tm_format("NLD", title="Dutch provinces and\nmunicipalities", bg.color="white")

# Cartogram
if (require(cartogram)) {
	NLD_prov_pop <- cartogram(NLD_prov, "population")
	tm_shape(NLD_prov_pop) +
		tm_polygons("origin_non_west", title = "Non-western origin (%)")
# }
# TIP: check out these examples in view mode, enabled with tmap_mode("view")
# }

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