Infrastructure to Assemble Multi-Panel Figures (from Grobs)

Tools to create a layout for figures made of multiple panels, and to fill the panels with base, 'lattice', 'ggplot2' and 'ComplexHeatmap' plots, grobs, and PNG, JPEG, SVG and TIFF images.

Tools to create a layout for figures made of multiple panels, and to fill the panels with base, lattice and ggplot2 plots, grobs, and PNG, JPEG, and TIFF images.

To install the package, you first need the devtools package.


Then you can install the multipanelfigure package using


Layouts are matrices of panels that contains plots, grobs or images. Create them with the multi_panel_figure function.

You can specify the total width and height of the figure (the default unit is millimetres):

figure1 <- multi_panel_figure(
  width = 180, height = 180,
  columns = 3, rows = 3)

Or you can specify widths and heights of individual columns and rows.

figure2 <- multi_panel_figure(
  widths = c(20, 30, 40),
  heights = c(10, 20, 30))

When no panels are filled, printing the figure (by typing its name) displays the layout. Notice that by default a 5 mm spacer is included between rows and between columns. (This can be adjusted using multi_panel_figure's inter_row_spacing and inter_column_spacing arguments.)


Plots and images are added into the figure by filling panels using add_panel.

lattice plot variables are added directly. The syntax is cleanest using magrittr pipes:

a_lattice_plot <- xyplot(height ~ age, Loblolly)
figure1 %<>% add_panel(a_lattice_plot)

ggplot2 plots variables are also added directly. In this case, to put it in the second column from the left (top row), specify the left_panel argument.

a_ggplot <- ggplot(Loblolly, aes(age, height)) + geom_point()
figure1 %<>% add_panel(a_ggplot, left_panel = 2)

Plots created using base graphics must be converted to grid-based plots and captured using capture_base_plot.

a_base_plot <- capture_base_plot(
  with(Loblolly, plot(age, height))
figure1 %<>% add_panel(a_base_plot, left_panel = 3)

grid grobs are also added directly. Plots and images can be made to span multiple panels by setting right_panel to be larger than left_panel or bottom_panel to be larger than top_panel. The following example adds the grob to the second and third rows from the top (first column).

a_grob <- linesGrob(arrow = arrow())
figure1 %<>% add_panel(a_grob, top_panel = 2, bottom_panel = 3)

JPEG, PNG, and TIFF images are added via a string giving their location: either a path to a location on disk, or a URL.

figure1 %<>% add_panel(
  left_panel = 2, right_panel = 3,
  top_panel = 2, bottom_panel = 3)

Once panels have been added to the figure, printing it displays the figure.



Reference manual

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0.10.5 by Johannes Graumann, 22 days ago

Browse source code at

Authors: Johannes Graumann [cre, aut], Richard Cotton [ctb]

Documentation:   PDF Manual  

GPL (>= 3) license

Imports assertive.base, assertive.files, assertive.numbers,, assertive.types, caTools, ggplot2, grid, gridGraphics, gtable, jpeg, magrittr, png, rsvg, stats, tiff, utils

Suggests ComplexHeatmap, grDevices, lattice, roxygen2, VennDiagram, knitr, rmarkdown, markdown

Suggested by flippant.

See at CRAN