# Easy Latex Titles and Labels for ggplot

## Summary

Ever wanted to add $$\LaTeX$$ to your R plots? Well now you can, with tikz, and it will allow you to use $$\LaTeX$$ code within your plot titles, labels, and annotations. We’re going to look at how to use $$\LaTeX$$ (text formating, formulas, fractions, greek letters, etc) with your ggplot data visualizations. We will be using the tikzDevice package for R (and to use your plots in $$\LaTeX$$, you will use the package tikz).

## Libraries

Open up an R script! You will need to install these two libraries if you don’t already have them:

library(ggplot2)
library(tikzDevice)

## Data

Unrelated to learning how to use tikzDevice, we need some data to play with. Here we will generate some data to plot:

x     <- rnorm(n = 100, mean = 10, sd = 10)
alpha <- 2.0
beta  <- 1.5
gamm  <- 10
err   <- rnorm(n=100, mean=0, sd = 0.25)
f_x   <- alpha / (1 + exp(-1 * beta * (x - gamm))) + err

dat   <- data.frame(x=x, y=f_x)

Before we start with the $$\LaTeX$$, here is what the data looks like when we plot it:

g1 <- ggplot(data=dat, aes(x=x, y=y)) +
geom_smooth(method="loess") +
geom_point() +
theme_classic()
g1

## Adding $$\LaTeX$$

Now for the fun part! You use $$\LaTeX$$ with the same notation you would in a .tex file, but you need to escape backslashes (for example instead of \textbf{Hi}, you need to use \\textbf{Hi}).

# here we open a tex file for output, and set the plots dimensions
tikzDevice::tikz(file = "./example_plot.tex", width = 5, height = 3)

# here we add a LaTeX title to the plot
g2 <- g1 + ggtitle("$f(x, \\alpha, \\beta, \\gamma)$")
g2
# closing the graphics device saves the file we opened with tikzDevice::tikz
dev.off()
## png
##   2

Okay, let’s have a look at what the g2 object looks like in R:

print(g2)

You can see the $$\LaTeX$$ code in the title, but not the generated output you would hope to see. However, that output is saved in “./example_plot.tex”, which you can now include in any .tex document:

To include this plot in a .tex document, you can use:

input{example_plot.tex}

But remember to include the tikz package!

\usepackage{tikz}

or (not recommended due to lack of readability) you can copy and paste the contents of the file example_plot.tex into your $$\LaTeX$$ document. If you want to see the contents of the file example_plot.tex, scroll down to the Appendix (I’ve put it at the end of this post since the output is a few hundred lines long).

## Title, Labels, Annotations

Here I will show you in one plot how easy it is to add $$\LaTeX$$ to each of the text components of the plot.

# here we open a tex file for output, and set the plots dimensions
tikzDevice::tikz(file = "./example_plot_2.tex", width = 5, height = 3)

# here we add a some LaTeX to the plot
g3 <- g1 +
ggtitle("$f(x, \\alpha, \\beta, \\gamma)$") +
xlab(label = "$x \\sim rnorm(\\mu=10, \\sigma=10)$") +
ylab(label = "$f(x)=\\frac{\\alpha}{1 + exp( - \\beta (x-\\gamma) )}+\\varepsilon$") +
annotate(geom  = "text",
x     = c(0,0,0),
y     = c(2,1.8,1.6),
label = c("$\\alpha=2$", "$\\beta=1.5$", "$\\gamma=10$"),
hjust = 0)
g3
# closing the graphics device saves the file we opened with tikzDevice::tikz
dev.off()
## png
##   2

## References

I would like to point you towards the tutorial by Ilyass Tabiai, which is where I first learnt about tikzDevice: Latex + R + tikzDevice

As well as the very nice comparison of options made by Rob J Hyndman: Mathematical annotations on R plots

## Appendix

example_plot.tex (click to expand)

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