Lollipop chart in ggplot2

Sample data

In this tutorial we are going to use the following data frame, which contains a numerical variable and a categorical variable representing each group.

# Sample data set
set.seed(1)
df <- data.frame(x = LETTERS[1:10],
                 y = sample(20:35, 10, replace = TRUE))

Basic lollipop chart

Basic lollipop chart

Given a data frame with a categorical and a numerical variable it is possible to create a lollipop chart in ggplot2 combining geom_segment and geom_point.

# install.packages("ggplot2")
library(ggplot2)

ggplot(df, aes(x = x, y = y)) +
  geom_segment(aes(x = x, xend = x, y = 0, yend = y)) +
  geom_point() 

Basic lollipop chart in ggplot2

Horizontal lollipop chart

Note that in several scenarios, specially if the labels of the categories are long it is recommended to create a horizontal chart. For that purpose you can use coord_flip or flip the order of the variables inside aes.

# install.packages("ggplot2")
library(ggplot2)

ggplot(df, aes(x = x, y = y)) +
  geom_segment(aes(x = x, xend = x, y = 0, yend = y)) +
  geom_point() +
  coord_flip()

Horizotal ggplot2 lollipop chart

Lollipop customization

Lollipop color customization

Points

The points can be customized passing arguments to the geom_point function. In the following example we are changing the size, the symbol, the background color and the border of the symbol.

# install.packages("ggplot2")
library(ggplot2)

ggplot(df, aes(x = x, y = y)) +
  geom_segment(aes(x = x, xend = x, y = 0, yend = y)) +
  geom_point(size = 4, pch = 21, bg = 4, col = 1) +
  coord_flip()

Lollipop plot segments customization

Segments

Similarly to customizing the points you can also customize the segments. In the example below we are setting its color to gray and increasing its width.

# install.packages("ggplot2")
library(ggplot2)

ggplot(df, aes(x = x, y = y)) +
  geom_segment(aes(x = x, xend = x, y = 0, yend = y),
               color = "gray", lwd = 1.5) +
  geom_point(size = 4, pch = 21, bg = 4, col = 1) +
  coord_flip()

Changing the discrete axes labels in ggplot2

Custom labels

As the X-axis is discrete it is possible to change the labels of the categories with the labels argument of scale_x_discrete.

# install.packages("ggplot2")

ggplot(df, aes(x = x, y = y)) +
  geom_segment(aes(x = x, xend = x, y = 0, yend = y),
               color = "gray", lwd = 1) +
  geom_point(size = 4, pch = 21, bg = 4, col = 1) +
  scale_x_discrete(labels = paste0("G_", 1:10)) +
  coord_flip()

Rotate axis labels in ggplot2

Rotate the labels

If the labels are too long they won’t fit. However, you can rotate the labels with the angle argument of the element_text function for the axis.text.x theme component.

# install.packages("ggplot2")
library(ggplot2)

ggplot(df, aes(x = x, y = y)) +
  geom_segment(aes(x = x, xend = x, y = 0, yend = y),
               color = "gray", lwd = 1) +
  geom_point(size = 4, pch = 21, bg = 4, col = 1) +
  scale_x_discrete(labels = paste("Group", 1:10)) +
  theme(axis.text.x = element_text(angle = 90,
                                   vjust = 0.5, hjust = 1))

Lollipop chart in ggplot2

Theme

As in other plots made with ggplot it is possible to change the theme of the plot.

# install.packages("ggplot2")
library(ggplot2)

ggplot(df, aes(x = x, y = y)) +
  geom_segment(aes(x = x, xend = x, y = 0, yend = y),
               color = "gray", lwd = 1) +
  geom_point(size = 4, pch = 21, bg = 4, col = 1) +
  scale_x_discrete(labels = paste0("G_", 1:10)) +
  coord_flip() +
  theme_minimal()

Lollipop chart in ggplot2 with texts inside

Text

Note that you can also add the corresponding values or other text inside the points making use of geom_text.

# install.packages("ggplot2")
library(ggplot2)

ggplot(df, aes(x = x, y = y)) +
  geom_segment(aes(x = x, xend = x, y = 0, yend = y),
               color = "gray", lwd = 1) +
  geom_point(size = 7.5, pch = 21, bg = 4, col = 1) +
  geom_text(aes(label = y), color = "white", size = 3) +
  scale_x_discrete(labels = paste0("G_", 1:10)) +
  coord_flip() +
  theme_minimal()

Lollipop order

Finally, you can reorder the lollipops reordering the levels of the categorical variable or making use of reorder or an equivalent function.

# install.packages("ggplot2")
library(ggplot2)

ggplot(df, aes(x = reorder(x, -y), y = y)) +
  geom_segment(aes(x = reorder(x, -y),
                   xend = reorder(x, -y),
                   y = 0, yend = y),
               color = "gray", lwd = 1) +
  geom_point(size = 4, pch = 21, bg = 4, col = 1) +
  xlab("Group") +
  ylab("") +
  coord_flip() +
  theme_minimal()

Ordered lollipop chart in ggplot2

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