Bubble Chart in R-ggplot & Plotly

Bubble Chart in R, A bubble chart is majorly used to show the relationships between numeric variables and it can visualize two to four dimensions.

The first two dimensions are for coordinates, the third dimension is for color, and the fourth as size.

The bubble chart is an enhancement of the normal scatter plot instead of traditional dots or points in the scatter plot are replaced by circles or bubbles.

This article will describe how to create a bubble chart based on ggplot2 and plotly.

Bubble Chart in R

First, load ggplot2 package in R

Method 1:-

Ggplot2 allows rendering almost all types of charts and graphs. In this article approach is like loading the library, create a data frame, and display a plot.


Load the data from mtcars

df <- mtcars

Let’s convert cyl as a grouping variable

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df$cyl <- as.factor(df$cyl)

Let’s see the data frame

head(df[, c("wt", "disp", "cyl", "qsec")])
                   wt disp cyl  qsec
Mazda RX4         2.620  160   6 16.46
Mazda RX4 Wag     2.875  160   6 17.02
Datsun 710        2.320  108   4 18.61
Hornet 4 Drive    3.215  258   6 19.44
Hornet Sportabout 3.440  360   8 17.02
Valiant           3.460  225   6 20.22

Points size is controlled by a continuous variable, in this case, qsec. argument alpha is used to control color transparency and should lie between 0 and 1.

ggplot(df, aes(x = wt, y = disp)) +
  geom_point(aes(color = cyl, size = qsec), alpha = 0.5) +
  scale_color_manual(values = c("#AA4371", "#E7B800", "#FC4E07")) +
  scale_size(range = c(1, 13)) + # Adjust the range of points size
  theme_set(theme_bw() +theme(legend.position = "bottom"))
Create a bubble chart in R ggplot2

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Method 2:-

bubbleplot <- plot_ly(df, x = ~wt, y = ~disp,
                      text = ~cyl, size = ~qsec,
                      color = ~cyl, sizes = c(10, 50),
                      marker =
                        list(opacity = 0.7,
                             sizemode = "diameter"))
bubbleplot <- bubbleplot%>%layout
Bubble chart in R Plotly
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