ggsave() is a convenient function for saving a plot. It defaults to saving the last plot that you displayed, using the size of the current graphics device. It also guesses the type of graphics device from the extension.

  plot = last_plot(),
  device = NULL,
  path = NULL,
  scale = 1,
  width = NA,
  height = NA,
  units = c("in", "cm", "mm"),
  dpi = 300,
  limitsize = TRUE,



File name to create on disk.


Plot to save, defaults to last plot displayed.


Device to use. Can either be a device function (e.g. png()), or one of "eps", "ps", "tex" (pictex), "pdf", "jpeg", "tiff", "png", "bmp", "svg" or "wmf" (windows only).


Path of the directory to save plot to: path and filename are combined to create the fully qualified file name. Defaults to the working directory.


Multiplicative scaling factor.

width, height, units

Plot size in units ("in", "cm", or "mm"). If not supplied, uses the size of current graphics device.


Plot resolution. Also accepts a string input: "retina" (320), "print" (300), or "screen" (72). Applies only to raster output types.


When TRUE (the default), ggsave will not save images larger than 50x50 inches, to prevent the common error of specifying dimensions in pixels.


Other arguments passed on to the graphics device function, as specified by device.


Note: Filenames with page numbers can be generated by including a C integer format expression, such as %03d (as in the default file name for most R graphics devices, see e.g. png()). Thus, filename = "figure%03d.png" will produce successive filenames figure001.png, figure002.png, figure003.png, etc. To write a filename containing the % sign, use %%. For example, filename = "figure-100%%.png" will produce the filename figure-100%.png.

Saving images without ggsave()

In most cases ggsave() is the simplest way to save your plot, but sometimes you may wish to save the plot by writing directly to a graphics device. To do this, you can open a regular R graphics device such as png() or pdf(), print the plot, and then close the device using This technique is illustrated in the examples section.


if (FALSE) { ggplot(mtcars, aes(mpg, wt)) + geom_point() ggsave("mtcars.pdf") ggsave("mtcars.png") ggsave("mtcars.pdf", width = 4, height = 4) ggsave("mtcars.pdf", width = 20, height = 20, units = "cm") # delete files with base::unlink() unlink("mtcars.pdf") unlink("mtcars.png") # specify device when saving to a file with unknown extension # (for example a server supplied temporary file) file <- tempfile() ggsave(file, device = "pdf") unlink(file) # save plot to file without using ggsave p <- ggplot(mtcars, aes(mpg, wt)) + geom_point() png("mtcars.png") print(p) }