# Images as x-axis labels (updated)

They say “if you want to find an answer on the internet, just present a wrong one as fact. Then wait.

It didn’t take long, actually. Despite my searches while trying to get images into x-axis labels it seems I overlooked a working, significantly less hacky implementation. My Google-fu had in fact let me down.

Baptiste Auguié (@tpab / @baptiste) had this working a while ago (seemingly before the ggplot2 update that broke other methods), and in a definitively less hacky way. I’ve added a new gist (if you’re reading this on R-bloggers, the gist isn’t embedded, so either follow the link or view on my site) which implements it on the same graph as earlier, and I like this significantly more.

This method gets around the element_text() validation and updates the grobs in a way that’s above my pay grade/understanding of ggplot2 internals, and is a much more consistent way to go about it. This also:

• places the factor labels on the graph along with the picture, covering some concerns about people not knowing which maps are for which country,
• leaves room for the caption to go back in, which I wanted,
• automatically scales the grob better,
• doesn’t involve creating an external grob and thus turning off clipping; using axis.text.x is exactly what I was hoping for.

Updated version using @baptiste’s method; much better.

My version worked (sort of) but only because it used options that were bad practice (not doubting that for a moment). I’d like to see this method make it into ggplot2 properly; Baptiste had an open GitHub issue involving it a while ago but it has since been closed, presumably without the feature being incorporated.

I started the previous post by saying how awesome open-source software is (e.g. R). You know what else is awesome? The #rstats community. Thank you to every one of you.

### 15 Responses to “Images as x-axis labels (updated)”

1. […] article was first published on R – Irregularly Scheduled Programming, and kindly contributed to […]

2. […] article was first published on R – Irregularly Scheduled Programming, and kindly contributed to […]

3. Julia Silge says:

This is so helpful and looks so great; thanks for sharing it!

4. Great post! Just a short comment on obtaining the flag image files: you actually don’t need to download them beforehand, as EBImage::readImage() is capable of opening files directly from URLs.

5. […] Not everyone agrees. Ggplot2 tech themes, scales, and geoms. Supreme Annotations. Images as x-axis labels. […]

6. Hi jon, your works is interesting. I have successfully implemented it in shiny, but when implementing it in rmarkdown there is an “error: pungfun invalid width and height”, can you tell me what happens? and what should I do?
thanks.

• for addition, the plot is shown, but the image axis doesn’t shown

• Can you provide a link to a source? Hard to debug without seeing what’s breaking.

7. zara says:

Hi, Thanks for the great info and codes.
I was wondering if we can give “angle=45” for text of X Axis ? I’ve tried to use
axis.text.x=element_text(angle=45)
but it’s not working, since axis.text.x is already used for imgs in this part
axis.text.x = my_axis(imgs).

• I’ve updated the gist (might take a while to reload, but click the filename to go to it directly). my_axis now takes an angle argument. Seems to do what you’re after.

• zara says:

Hi, Thanks for the reply, that’s working .
Is it possible to resize the images? I’ve around 100 images, and it does not fit and the images overlap.
I found this code,
im<-pics[[1]]
resize(im,round(width(im)/10),round(height(im)/10))

but it does not work and keep showing error

Error in resize(im, round(width(im)/10), round(height(im)/10)) :
Expecting a four-dimensional array