stars {graphics}R Documentation

Star (Spider/Radar) Plots and Segment Diagrams


Draw star plots or segment diagrams of a multivariate data set. With one single location, also draws ‘spider’ (or ‘radar’) plots.


stars(x, full = TRUE, scale = TRUE, radius = TRUE,
      labels = dimnames(x)[[1]], locations = NULL,
      nrow = NULL, ncol = NULL, len = 1,
      key.loc = NULL, key.labels = dimnames(x)[[2]],
      key.xpd = TRUE,
      xlim = NULL, ylim = NULL, flip.labels = NULL,
      draw.segments = FALSE,
      col.segments = 1:n.seg, col.stars = NA, col.lines = NA,
      axes = FALSE, frame.plot = axes,
      main = NULL, sub = NULL, xlab = "", ylab = "",
      cex = 0.8, lwd = 0.25, lty = par("lty"), xpd = FALSE,
      mar = pmin(par("mar"),
                 1.1+ c(2*axes+ (xlab != ""),
                 2*axes+ (ylab != ""), 1, 0)),
      add = FALSE, plot = TRUE, ...)



matrix or data frame of data. One star or segment plot will be produced for each row of x. Missing values (NA) are allowed, but they are treated as if they were 0 (after scaling, if relevant).


logical flag: if TRUE, the segment plots will occupy a full circle. Otherwise, they occupy the (upper) semicircle only.


logical flag: if TRUE, the columns of the data matrix are scaled independently so that the maximum value in each column is 1 and the minimum is 0. If FALSE, the presumption is that the data have been scaled by some other algorithm to the range [0, 1].


logical flag: in TRUE, the radii corresponding to each variable in the data will be drawn.


vector of character strings for labeling the plots. Unlike the S function stars, no attempt is made to construct labels if labels = NULL.


Either two column matrix with the x and y coordinates used to place each of the segment plots; or numeric of length 2 when all plots should be superimposed (for a ‘spider plot’). By default, locations = NULL, the segment plots will be placed in a rectangular grid.

nrow, ncol

integers giving the number of rows and columns to use when locations is NULL. By default, nrow == ncol, a square layout will be used.


scale factor for the length of radii or segments.


vector with x and y coordinates of the unit key.


vector of character strings for labeling the segments of the unit key. If omitted, the second component of dimnames(x) is used, if available.


clipping switch for the unit key (drawing and labeling), see par("xpd").


vector with the range of x coordinates to plot.


vector with the range of y coordinates to plot.


logical indicating if the label locations should flip up and down from diagram to diagram. Defaults to a somewhat smart heuristic.


logical. If TRUE draw a segment diagram.


color vector (integer or character, see par), each specifying a color for one of the segments (variables). Ignored if draw.segments = FALSE.


color vector (integer or character, see par), each specifying a color for one of the stars (cases). Ignored if draw.segments = TRUE.


color vector (integer or character, see par), each specifying a color for one of the lines (cases). Ignored if draw.segments = TRUE.


logical flag: if TRUE axes are added to the plot.


logical flag: if TRUE, the plot region is framed.


a main title for the plot.


a sub title for the plot.


a label for the x axis.


a label for the y axis.


character expansion factor for the labels.


line width used for drawing.


line type used for drawing.


logical or NA indicating if clipping should be done, see par(xpd = .).


argument to par(mar = *), typically choosing smaller margins than by default.


further arguments, passed to the first call of plot(), see plot.default and to box() if frame.plot is true.


logical, if TRUE add stars to current plot.


logical, if FALSE, nothing is plotted.


Missing values are treated as 0.

Each star plot or segment diagram represents one row of the input x. Variables (columns) start on the right and wind counterclockwise around the circle. The size of the (scaled) column is shown by the distance from the center to the point on the star or the radius of the segment representing the variable.

Only one page of output is produced.


Returns the locations of the plots in a two column matrix, invisibly when plot = TRUE.


This code started life as spatial star plots by David A. Andrews.

Prior to R 1.4.1, scaling only shifted the maximum to 1, although documented as here.


Thomas S. Dye


Becker, R. A., Chambers, J. M. and Wilks, A. R. (1988) The New S Language. Wadsworth & Brooks/Cole.

See Also

symbols for another way to draw stars and other symbols.


stars(mtcars[, 1:7], key.loc = c(14, 2),
      main = "Motor Trend Cars : stars(*, full = F)", full = FALSE)
stars(mtcars[, 1:7], key.loc = c(14, 1.5),
      main = "Motor Trend Cars : full stars()", flip.labels = FALSE)

## 'Spider' or 'Radar' plot:
stars(mtcars[, 1:7], locations = c(0, 0), radius = FALSE,
      key.loc = c(0, 0), main = "Motor Trend Cars", lty = 2)

## Segment Diagrams:
palette(rainbow(12, s = 0.6, v = 0.75))
stars(mtcars[, 1:7], len = 0.8, key.loc = c(12, 1.5),
      main = "Motor Trend Cars", draw.segments = TRUE)
stars(mtcars[, 1:7], len = 0.6, key.loc = c(1.5, 0),
      main = "Motor Trend Cars", draw.segments = TRUE,
      frame.plot = TRUE, nrow = 4, cex = .7)

## scale linearly (not affinely) to [0, 1]
USJudge <- apply(USJudgeRatings, 2, function(x) x/max(x))
Jnam <- row.names(USJudgeRatings)
Snam <- abbreviate(substring(Jnam, 1, regexpr("[,.]",Jnam) - 1), 7)
stars(USJudge, labels = Jnam, scale = FALSE,
      key.loc = c(13, 1.5), main = "Judge not ...", len = 0.8)
stars(USJudge, labels = Snam, scale = FALSE,
      key.loc = c(13, 1.5), radius = FALSE)

loc <- stars(USJudge, labels = NULL, scale = FALSE,
             radius = FALSE, frame.plot = TRUE,
             key.loc = c(13, 1.5), main = "Judge not ...", len = 1.2)
text(loc, Snam, col = "blue", cex = 0.8, xpd = TRUE)

## 'Segments':
stars(USJudge, draw.segments = TRUE, scale = FALSE, key.loc = c(13,1.5))

## 'Spider':
stars(USJudgeRatings, locations = c(0, 0), scale = FALSE, radius  =  FALSE,
      col.stars = 1:10, key.loc = c(0, 0), main = "US Judges rated")
## Same as above, but with colored lines instead of filled polygons.
stars(USJudgeRatings, locations = c(0, 0), scale = FALSE, radius  =  FALSE,
      col.lines = 1:10, key.loc = c(0, 0), main = "US Judges rated")
## 'Radar-Segments'
stars(USJudgeRatings[1:10,], locations = 0:1, scale = FALSE,
      draw.segments = TRUE, col.segments = 0, col.stars = 1:10, key.loc =  0:1,
      main = "US Judges 1-10 ")
stars(cbind(1:16, 10*(16:1)), draw.segments = TRUE,
      main = "A Joke -- do *not* use symbols on 2D data!")

[Package graphics version 3.3.2 Index]