Title and subtitle in R

Setting a title and a subtitle

Adding a title

Base R plotting functions come with an argument named main that allows adding a title to the plot.

curve(sin, -10 , 10,
      main = "Title") # Title

Adding a title to a base R plot

Adding a subtitle

You can also add a subtitle, that will be positioned under the plot making use of the sub argument.

curve(sin, -10 , 10,
      main = "Title",   # Title
      sub = "Subtitle") # Subtitle

Adding a subtitle to a base R plot

Color customization

The title and the subtitle colors can be customized making use of col.main and col.sub arguments, respectively.

curve(sin, -10 , 10,
      main = "Title",     # Title
      col.main = "red",   # Title color
      sub = "Subtitle",   # Subtitle
      col.sub = "orange") # Subtitle color

Title and subtitle color customization in R

The title function

You can use the title function to add a title, a subtitle and the axis labels, separately or at the same time.

title function in R

Adding a title with title function

You can add a title to a base R plot using the title function. This is equivalent to set the argument main of the plot function.

curve(sin, -10 , 10)
title(main = "My title")

Adding a title and a subtitle with the R title function

Adding a subtitle with title function

The title function also supports adding a subtitle with the sub argument.

curve(sin, -10 , 10)
title(main = "My title",
      sub = "My subtitle")

Adding labels in R with the title function

Adding axes labels with title function

You can also specify the axis labels using this function. Note that you will need to specify ann = FALSE inside your plotting function to avoid displaying the axes labels.

curve(sin, -10 , 10, ann = FALSE)
title(main = "My title",
      sub = "My subtitle",
      xlab = "Custom X-axis label",
      ylab = "Custom Y-axis label")

Adjust of the title and subtitle

The difference between using this function instead of the arguments is that the arguments passed to the title function only affect the texts you are adding. In addition, you can customize every single texts using the title function several times.

Adjust all texts

You can adjust the position of the title with the adj argument, that takes values from 0 (left-justified) to 1 (right-justified). Default value is 0.5.

curve(sin, -10 , 10,
     main = "Title",
     sub = "Subtitle",
     adj = 0.75) 

Adjusting the title position in R with adj

Adjust only the title

However, if you specify the argument adj inside your plotting function all text will be adjusted. If you only want some texts adjusted use it inside the title function.

curve(sin, -10 , 10,
     sub = "Subtitle") 
title("My title", adj = 0)

Adjusting only the title of the plot with adj argument

Line adjustment

The title function also supports the argument line that moves the title up or down for values upper or lower than 1.7 (aprox.), respectively. Note that negative values will move the title inside the plot area.

curve(sin, -10 , 10,
     sub = "Subtitle") 
title("My title", line = 0.1)

line argument of the R title function

The latter can also be used to adjust the subtitle or the axes labels, but the default values are different. You will need to fine-tune them to achieve the desired result.

Using mathematical expressions

You can also add mathematical expressions to your titles and subtitles.

Using math expressions in R plot title

Option 1. Use the expression function. Type demo(plotmath) or ?plotmath to see the full list of mathematical annotations.

curve(sin, -10 , 10,
      main = expression(x %in% {}(-10, 10)))

Using LaTeX math expressions in R plot title

Option 2. If you prefer using a LaTex-like notation you can use the Tex function from latex2exp package. Note that this function translates the notation from LaTeX to a plotmath expression, so both options support the same mathematical annotations.

# install.packages("latex2exp")
library(latex2exp)

curve(sin, -10 , 10,
      main = TeX('$x \\in (-10, 10)$'))
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See also