gf_boxplot: Formula interface to geom_boxplot()

gf_boxplotR Documentation

Formula interface to geom_boxplot()


The boxplot compactly displays the distribution of a continuous variable. It visualises five summary statistics (the median, two hinges and two whiskers), and all "outlying" points individually.


  object = NULL,
  gformula = NULL,
  data = NULL,
  outlier.color = NULL,
  outlier.fill = NULL,
  outlier.shape = 19,
  outlier.size = 1.5,
  outlier.stroke = 0.5,
  outlier.alpha = NULL,
  notch = FALSE,
  notchwidth = 0.5,
  varwidth = FALSE,
  geom = "boxplot",
  stat = "boxplot",
  position = "dodge",
  show.legend = NA, = NULL,
  inherit = TRUE,
  environment = parent.frame()



When chaining, this holds an object produced in the earlier portions of the chain. Most users can safely ignore this argument. See details and examples.


A formula with shape y ~ x. Faceting can be achieved by including | in the formula.


The data to be displayed in this layer. There are three options:

If NULL, the default, the data is inherited from the plot data as specified in the call to ggplot().

A data.frame, or other object, will override the plot data. All objects will be fortified to produce a data frame. See fortify() for which variables will be created.

A function will be called with a single argument, the plot data. The return value must be a data.frame, and will be used as the layer data. A function can be created from a formula (e.g. ~ head(.x, 10)).


Additional arguments. Typically these are (a) ggplot2 aesthetics to be set with attribute = value, (b) ggplot2 aesthetics to be mapped with attribute = ~ expression, or (c) attributes of the layer as a whole, which are set with attribute = value.


Opacity (0 = invisible, 1 = opaque).


A color or a formula used for mapping color.


A color for filling, or a formula used for mapping fill.


Used for grouping.


A linetype (numeric or "dashed", "dotted", etc.) or a formula used for mapping linetype.


A numerical line width or a formula used for mapping linewidth.


Length of the whiskers as multiple of IQR. Defaults to 1.5.

outlier.color, outlier.fill, outlier.shape, outlier.size, outlier.stroke, outlier.alpha

Default aesthetics for outliers. Set to NULL to inherit from the aesthetics used for the box. In the unlikely event you specify both US and UK spellings of colour, the US spelling will take precedence. Sometimes it can be useful to hide the outliers, for example when overlaying the raw data points on top of the boxplot. Hiding the outliers can be achieved by setting outlier.shape = NA. Importantly, this does not remove the outliers, it only hides them, so the range calculated for the y-axis will be the same with outliers shown and outliers hidden.


If FALSE (default) make a standard box plot. If TRUE, make a notched box plot. Notches are used to compare groups; if the notches of two boxes do not overlap, this suggests that the medians are significantly different.


For a notched box plot, width of the notch relative to the body (defaults to notchwidth = 0.5).


If FALSE (default) make a standard box plot. If TRUE, boxes are drawn with widths proportional to the square-roots of the number of observations in the groups (possibly weighted, using the weight aesthetic).


Label for x-axis. See also gf_labs().


Label for y-axis. See also gf_labs().

title, subtitle, caption

Title, sub-title, and caption for the plot. See also gf_labs().

geom, stat

Use to override the default connection between geom_boxplot() and stat_boxplot().


Position adjustment, either as a string naming the adjustment (e.g. "jitter" to use position_jitter), or the result of a call to a position adjustment function. Use the latter if you need to change the settings of the adjustment.


logical. Should this layer be included in the legends? NA, the default, includes if any aesthetics are mapped. FALSE never includes, and TRUE always includes. It can also be a named logical vector to finely select the aesthetics to display.

If TRUE, display some minimal help.


A logical indicating whether default attributes are inherited.


An environment in which to look for variables not found in data.


a gg object

Specifying plot attributes

Positional attributes (a.k.a, aesthetics) are specified using the formula in gformula. Setting and mapping of additional attributes can be done through the use of additional arguments. Attributes can be set can be set using arguments of the form attribute = value or mapped using arguments of the form attribute = ~ expression.

In formulas of the form A | B, B will be used to form facets using facet_wrap() or facet_grid(). This provides an alternative to gf_facet_wrap() and gf_facet_grid() that is terser and may feel more familiar to users of lattice.


Evaluation of the ggplot2 code occurs in the environment of gformula. This will typically do the right thing when formulas are created on the fly, but might not be the right thing if formulas created in one environment are used to create plots in another.


McGill, R., Tukey, J. W. and Larsen, W. A. (1978) Variations of box plots. The American Statistician 32, 12-16.

See Also

ggplot2::geom_boxplot(), fivenum(), df_stats()


gf_boxplot(age ~ substance, data = mosaicData::HELPrct)
gf_boxplot(age ~ substance, data = mosaicData::HELPrct, varwidth = TRUE)
gf_boxplot(age ~ substance, data = mosaicData::HELPrct, color = ~sex)
gf_boxplot(age ~ substance,
  data = mosaicData::HELPrct,
  color = ~sex, outlier.color = "gray50"
# longer whiskers
gf_boxplot(age ~ substance,
  data = mosaicData::HELPrct,
  color = ~sex, coef = 2

# Note: width for boxplots is full width of box.
#       For jittering, it is the half-width.
gf_boxplot(age ~ substance | sex,
  data = mosaicData::HELPrct,
  coef = 5, width = 0.4
) |>
  gf_jitter(width = 0.2, alpha = 0.3)
# move boxplots away a bit by adjusting dodge
gf_boxplot(age ~ substance,
  data = mosaicData::HELPrct,
  color = ~sex, position = position_dodge(width = 0.9)

ggformula documentation built on Nov. 9, 2023, 5:08 p.m.