Home ยป How to Change Background Color in ggplot2 (With Examples)

How to Change Background Color in ggplot2 (With Examples)

by Tutor Aspire

You can use the following syntax to change the background color of various elements in a ggplot2 plot:

p + theme(panel.background = element_rect(fill = 'lightblue', color = 'purple'),
          panel.grid.major = element_line(color = 'red', linetype = 'dotted'),
          panel.grid.minor = element_line(color = 'green', size = 2))

Alternatively, you can use built-in ggplot2 themes to automatically change the background color. Here are some of the more commonly used themes:

p + theme_bw() #white background and grey gridlines
p + theme_minimal() #no background annotations
p + theme_classic() #axis lines but no gridlines

The following examples show how to use this syntax in practice.

Example 1: Specify Custom Background Color

The following code shows how to create a basic scatterplot in ggplot2 with the default grey background:

library(ggplot2)

#create data frame
df frame(x=c(1, 3, 3, 4, 5, 5, 6, 9, 12, 15),
                 y=c(13, 14, 14, 12, 17, 21, 22, 28, 30, 31))

#create scatterplot
p aes(x=x, y=y)) +
       geom_point()

#display scatterplot
p

We can use the following code to change the background color of the panel along with the major and minor gridlines:

p + theme(panel.background = element_rect(fill = 'lightblue', color = 'purple'),
          panel.grid.major = element_line(color = 'red', linetype = 'dotted'),
          panel.grid.minor = element_line(color = 'green', size = 2))

Change background color in ggplot2

Example 2: Use Built-in Theme to Change Background Color

The following code shows how to use various built-in ggplot2 themes to automatically change the background color of the plots:

p + theme_bw() #white background and grey gridlines

p + theme_minimal() #no background annotations

p + theme_classic() #axis lines but no gridlines

Additional Resources

How to Remove Gridlines in ggplot2
How to Set Axis Limits in ggplot2
How to Change Legend Position in ggplot2

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