[R] barplot default colors

Thomas Lumley tlumley at u.washington.edu
Wed Feb 5 17:51:03 CET 2003

On Wed, 5 Feb 2003, Liaw, Andy wrote:

> Can some one explain why barplot() uses changing colors in the bars by
> default?  I should think that most of the time when people draw barplots,
> they want the bars to be in the same color.  (At least that's what I'd
> expect.  The first time I used barplot() in R, I was shocked to see the
> colors.)  As an example, one example in ?layout draws a scatterplot with
> histograms drawn on the margins.  The histograms were drawn by barplot(),
> and, IMHO, look rather hideous in the colors.

The changing colours are useful when the data are a matrix (so that you
have bars either stacked or in groups).  You can easily get a single
barplot(VADeaths, beside=TRUE, col="thistle")

The colours themselves are definitely not ideal. As Paul Murrell said at
the beginning of his talk on colour at last year' JSM "The only word for
this is `embarassing'".  Better colour palettes are in the works, eg see
the RColorBrewer package.


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