Mark Miller Mark Miller - 3 months ago 240
R Question

remove grid, background color and top and right borders from ggplot2

I would like to reproduce the plot immediately below by using ggplot2. I can come close, but cannot remove the top and right borders. Below I present several attempts using ggplot2, including several suggestions found on or via Stackoverflow. Unfortunately I have not been able to get those suggestions to work.

I am hoping someone may be able to correct one or more of the code snippets below.

Thank you for any suggestions.

# desired plot
a <- seq(1,20)
b <- a^0.25
plot(a,b, bty = "l")


library(ggplot2)

df <- as.data.frame(cbind(a,b))

# 1. ggplot2 default
ggplot(df, aes(x = a, y = b)) + geom_point()

# 2. removes background color
ggplot(df, aes(x = a, y = b)) + geom_point() + opts(panel.background = theme_rect(fill='white', colour='black'))

# 3. also removes gridlines
none <- theme_blank()
ggplot(df, aes(x = a, y = b)) + geom_point() + opts(panel.background = theme_rect(fill='white', colour='black')) + opts(panel.grid.major = none, panel.grid.minor = none)

# 4. does not remove top and right border
ggplot(df, aes(x = a, y = b)) + geom_point() + opts(panel.background = theme_rect(fill='white', colour='black')) + opts(panel.grid.major = none, panel.grid.minor = none) + opts(panel.border = none)

# 5. does not remove top and right border
ggplot(df, aes(x = a, y = b)) + geom_point() + opts(panel.background = theme_rect(fill='white', colour='black')) + opts(panel.grid.major = none, panel.grid.minor = none) + opts(axis.line = theme_segment())

# 6. removes x and y axis in addition to top and right border
# http://stackoverflow.com/questions/5458409/remove-top-and-right-border-from-ggplot2
ggplot(df, aes(x = a, y = b)) + geom_point() + opts(panel.background = theme_rect(fill='white', colour='black')) + opts(panel.grid.major = none, panel.grid.minor = none) + opts(panel.background=theme_rect(colour=NA))

# 7. returns error when attempting to remove top and right border
# https://groups.google.com/group/ggplot2/browse_thread/thread/f998d113638bf251
#
# Error in el(...) : could not find function "polylineGrob"
#
theme_L_border <- function(colour = "black", size = 1, linetype = 1) {
structure(
function(x = 0, y = 0, width = 1, height = 1, ...) {
polylineGrob(
x=c(x+width, x, x), y=c(y,y,y+height), ..., default.units = "npc",
gp=gpar(lwd=size, col=colour, lty=linetype),
)
},
class = "theme",
type = "box",
call = match.call()
)
}

ggplot(df, aes(x = a, y = b)) + geom_point() + opts(panel.background = theme_rect(fill='white', colour='black')) + opts(panel.grid.major = none, panel.grid.minor = none) + opts( panel.border = theme_L_border())

Answer

EDIT Ignore this answer. There are now better answers. See the comments. Use + theme_classic()

EDIT

This is a better version. The bug mentioned below in the original post remains (I think). But the axis line is drawn under the panel. Therefore, remove both the panel.border and panel.background to see the axis lines.

library(ggplot2)
a <- seq(1,20)
b <- a^0.25
df <- as.data.frame(cbind(a,b))

ggplot(df, aes(x = a, y = b)) + geom_point() +
  theme_bw() +
  theme(axis.line = element_line(colour = "black"),
    panel.grid.major = element_blank(),
    panel.grid.minor = element_blank(),
    panel.border = element_blank(),
    panel.background = element_blank()) 

enter image description here

Original post This gets close. There was a bug with axis.line not working on the y-axis (see here), that appears not to be fixed yet. Therefore, after removing the panel border, the y-axis has to be drawn in separately using geom_vline.

library(ggplot2)
library(grid)

a <- seq(1,20)
b <- a^0.25
df <- as.data.frame(cbind(a,b))

p = ggplot(df, aes(x = a, y = b)) + geom_point() +
   scale_y_continuous(expand = c(0,0)) +
   scale_x_continuous(expand = c(0,0)) +
   theme_bw() +
   opts(axis.line = theme_segment(colour = "black"),
        panel.grid.major = theme_blank(),
        panel.grid.minor = theme_blank(),
        panel.border = theme_blank()) +
    geom_vline(xintercept = 0)
p

The extreme points are clipped, but the clipping can be undone using code by baptiste.

gt <- ggplot_gtable(ggplot_build(p))
gt$layout$clip[gt$layout$name=="panel"] <- "off"
grid.draw(gt)

enter image description here

Or use limits to move the boundaries of the panel.

ggplot(df, aes(x = a, y = b)) + geom_point() +
   xlim(0,22) +  ylim(.95, 2.1) +
   scale_x_continuous(expand = c(0,0), limits = c(0,22)) +
   scale_y_continuous(expand = c(0,0), limits = c(.95, 2.2)) +   
   theme_bw() +
   opts(axis.line = theme_segment(colour = "black"),
        panel.grid.major = theme_blank(),
        panel.grid.minor = theme_blank(),
        panel.border = theme_blank()) +
    geom_vline(xintercept = 0)