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The point geom is used to create scatterplots. The scatterplot is most useful for displaying the relationship between two continuous variables. It can be used to compare one continuous and one categorical variable, or two categorical variables, but a variation like geom_jitter(), geom_count(), or geom_bin_2d() is usually more appropriate. A bubblechart is a scatterplot with a third variable mapped to the size of points.


  mapping = NULL,
  data = NULL,
  stat = "identity",
  position = "identity",
  na.rm = FALSE,
  show.legend = NA,
  inherit.aes = TRUE



Set of aesthetic mappings created by aes(). If specified and inherit.aes = TRUE (the default), it is combined with the default mapping at the top level of the plot. You must supply mapping if there is no plot mapping.


The data to be displayed in this layer. There are three options:

If NULL, the default, the data is inherited from the plot data as specified in the call to ggplot().

A data.frame, or other object, will override the plot data. All objects will be fortified to produce a data frame. See fortify() for which variables will be created.

A function will be called with a single argument, the plot data. The return value must be a data.frame, and will be used as the layer data. A function can be created from a formula (e.g. ~ head(.x, 10)).


The statistical transformation to use on the data for this layer. When using a geom_*() function to construct a layer, the stat argument can be used the override the default coupling between geoms and stats. The stat argument accepts the following:

  • A Stat ggproto subclass, for example StatCount.

  • A string naming the stat. To give the stat as a string, strip the function name of the stat_ prefix. For example, to use stat_count(), give the stat as "count".

  • For more information and other ways to specify the stat, see the layer stat documentation.


A position adjustment to use on the data for this layer. This can be used in various ways, including to prevent overplotting and improving the display. The position argument accepts the following:

  • The result of calling a position function, such as position_jitter(). This method allows for passing extra arguments to the position.

  • A string naming the position adjustment. To give the position as a string, strip the function name of the position_ prefix. For example, to use position_jitter(), give the position as "jitter".

  • For more information and other ways to specify the position, see the layer position documentation.


Other arguments passed on to layer()'s params argument. These arguments broadly fall into one of 4 categories below. Notably, further arguments to the position argument, or aesthetics that are required can not be passed through .... Unknown arguments that are not part of the 4 categories below are ignored.

  • Static aesthetics that are not mapped to a scale, but are at a fixed value and apply to the layer as a whole. For example, colour = "red" or linewidth = 3. The geom's documentation has an Aesthetics section that lists the available options. The 'required' aesthetics cannot be passed on to the params. Please note that while passing unmapped aesthetics as vectors is technically possible, the order and required length is not guaranteed to be parallel to the input data.

  • When constructing a layer using a stat_*() function, the ... argument can be used to pass on parameters to the geom part of the layer. An example of this is stat_density(geom = "area", outline.type = "both"). The geom's documentation lists which parameters it can accept.

  • Inversely, when constructing a layer using a geom_*() function, the ... argument can be used to pass on parameters to the stat part of the layer. An example of this is geom_area(stat = "density", adjust = 0.5). The stat's documentation lists which parameters it can accept.

  • The key_glyph argument of layer() may also be passed on through .... This can be one of the functions described as key glyphs, to change the display of the layer in the legend.


If FALSE, the default, missing values are removed with a warning. If TRUE, missing values are silently removed.


logical. Should this layer be included in the legends? NA, the default, includes if any aesthetics are mapped. FALSE never includes, and TRUE always includes. It can also be a named logical vector to finely select the aesthetics to display.


If FALSE, overrides the default aesthetics, rather than combining with them. This is most useful for helper functions that define both data and aesthetics and shouldn't inherit behaviour from the default plot specification, e.g. borders().


The biggest potential problem with a scatterplot is overplotting: whenever you have more than a few points, points may be plotted on top of one another. This can severely distort the visual appearance of the plot. There is no one solution to this problem, but there are some techniques that can help. You can add additional information with geom_smooth(), geom_quantile() or geom_density_2d(). If you have few unique x values, geom_boxplot() may also be useful.

Alternatively, you can summarise the number of points at each location and display that in some way, using geom_count(), geom_hex(), or geom_density2d().

Another technique is to make the points transparent (e.g. geom_point(alpha = 0.05)) or very small (e.g. geom_point(shape = ".")).


geom_point() understands the following aesthetics (required aesthetics are in bold):

Learn more about setting these aesthetics in vignette("ggplot2-specs").


p <- ggplot(mtcars, aes(wt, mpg))
p + geom_point()

# Add aesthetic mappings
p + geom_point(aes(colour = factor(cyl)))

p + geom_point(aes(shape = factor(cyl)))

# A "bubblechart":
p + geom_point(aes(size = qsec))

# Set aesthetics to fixed value
ggplot(mtcars, aes(wt, mpg)) + geom_point(colour = "red", size = 3)

# \donttest{
# Varying alpha is useful for large datasets
d <- ggplot(diamonds, aes(carat, price))
d + geom_point(alpha = 1/10)

d + geom_point(alpha = 1/20)

d + geom_point(alpha = 1/100)

# }

# For shapes that have a border (like 21), you can colour the inside and
# outside separately. Use the stroke aesthetic to modify the width of the
# border
ggplot(mtcars, aes(wt, mpg)) +
  geom_point(shape = 21, colour = "black", fill = "white", size = 5, stroke = 5)

# \donttest{
# You can create interesting shapes by layering multiple points of
# different sizes
p <- ggplot(mtcars, aes(mpg, wt, shape = factor(cyl)))
p +
  geom_point(aes(colour = factor(cyl)), size = 4) +
  geom_point(colour = "grey90", size = 1.5)

p +
  geom_point(colour = "black", size = 4.5) +
  geom_point(colour = "pink", size = 4) +
  geom_point(aes(shape = factor(cyl)))

# geom_point warns when missing values have been dropped from the data set
# and not plotted, you can turn this off by setting na.rm = TRUE
mtcars2 <- transform(mtcars, mpg = ifelse(runif(32) < 0.2, NA, mpg))
ggplot(mtcars2, aes(wt, mpg)) +
#> Warning: Removed 4 rows containing missing values or values outside the scale
#> range (`geom_point()`).

ggplot(mtcars2, aes(wt, mpg)) +
  geom_point(na.rm = TRUE)

# }