Home Programming Multiple plots in figures with R

Multiple plots in figures with R

by Jack Simpson

The other day I was working with R in a Jupyter Notebook when I discovered that I needed to include multiple figures in the same plot.

Surprisingly, R doesn’t include this capability out of the box, so I went searching and found this function that does the job. I’ve included the code below for my own future reference in case the linked site ever disappears.

multiplot <- function(..., plotlist=NULL, file, cols=1, layout=NULL) {

  # Make a list from the ... arguments and plotlist
  plots <- c(list(...), plotlist)

  numPlots = length(plots)

  # If layout is NULL, then use 'cols' to determine layout
  if (is.null(layout)) {
    # Make the panel
    # ncol: Number of columns of plots
    # nrow: Number of rows needed, calculated from # of cols
    layout <- matrix(seq(1, cols * ceiling(numPlots/cols)),
                    ncol = cols, nrow = ceiling(numPlots/cols))

 if (numPlots==1) {

  } else {
    # Set up the page
    pushViewport(viewport(layout = grid.layout(nrow(layout), ncol(layout))))

    # Make each plot, in the correct location
    for (i in 1:numPlots) {
      # Get the i,j matrix positions of the regions that contain this subplot
      matchidx <- as.data.frame(which(layout == i, arr.ind = TRUE))

      print(plots[[i]], vp = viewport(layout.pos.row = matchidx$row,
                                      layout.pos.col = matchidx$col))

Then to call the function, you just have to pass it the plots:

multiplot(p1, p2, p3, p4, cols=2)

You may also like