[R] Font quality in base graphics

Mark Difford mark_difford at yahoo.co.uk
Wed Jul 16 11:25:52 CEST 2008

Hi willemf,

Glad to hear that it helped.  Years ago (late-90s) I Linuxed, but have since
been forced into the Windows environment (where, however, I have the great
pleasure of being able to use MiKTeX and LyX, i.e. TeX/LaTeX). I therefore
can't help you further, except to say that I have never had a problem
controlling font sizes &c to my admittedly very demanding --- some people
say excessively demanding --- standards (and that's on Windows!). And I have
never had a problem with labels &c not being where they should be, or of the
size I want them to be, when I have built the graphic from "scratch." And
only very rarely have I encountered such problems when using canned graph

In brief, what I am saying is that the problem almost certainly lies with
the way fonts &c are set up on your Linux box. Were this not the case, then
I can assure you that there would have many and varied sharply worded
statements on this list relating to the poor quality of R's graphs. And
there would have been just as many pointed, well-written rebukes, pointing
that .... Yet there aren't. If you search the archives you will find that a
good many users migrated to R from other systems because of R's excellent
graphical subsystems. Look at the graphics in any of the many books now
published on using R, or that use R to elucidate problems.... Set your mind
at rest: look at your system setup, and the tools outside R that you are

Hope it all works out. OpenOffice is now a very good suite of programs, but
if you want true quality of output then you really should be TeXing. Check
it out.

Bye, Mark.

willemf wrote:
> Mark, your suggestion results in about 75% control over the plot. This is
> the best that I have managed to get it at, so thank you very much. In
> Linux you create a X11() device for screen output. Specifying identical
> device characteristics results in a fair degree of similarity between
> screen version and EPS version. However in this case, for instance, some
> labels along the X axis are omitted in the screen version and
> (thankfullly!) included in the Postscript version. Also, the relative
> sizes of caption font size and label font size are not identical in the
> two versions. I have learnt a few things in this exercise, so thanks you
> very much for the advice.

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