[R] SVG format from any R graphic GUI?

Marc Schwartz marc_schwartz at comcast.net
Wed Apr 16 19:23:16 CEST 2008

See comments inline:

Agustin Lobo wrote:
> Thanks for your answers, let me summarize the situation:
> 1. I've tested the SVG import for OO, it's not great
> but it is much better than what you get for EMF. I know
> nothing about SVG, though, perhaps it is not the
> best graphics format.

In theory, SVG would be something of an ideal format, because it is open 
and provides for high quality graphics for viewing AND printing. It is 
being increasingly used, but still has yet to be fully supported in most 
applications. For example, OO.org's Draw application can generate SVG 
graphics, but as noted, does not fully support importing them back into 
the OO.org apps.

> 2. I need the figure displayed on the screen, I'm using
> Impress (the equivalent of ppt). Thus EPS is not an option,

Two recommendations, if this is for presentation:

1. Use LaTeX, specifically the Beamer package. This will generate PDF 
slide files, which you can then display using the full screen viewing 
features of applications like Adobe's Reader. This is what I with R/Sweave.

More information here:


2. Import the R EPS files into OO.org as per your normal routine. Then, 
when ready, print the document to a PS file, using a PS compatible 
printer driver. You don't actually have to have a PS printer, just 
install a PS driver. When you go to print the document, there will be an 
option someplace in the dialogs to "print to file". Do so. This will 
give you a PS file, with the high quality vector based EPS images, not 
the bitmapped previews.

Then use 'ps2pdf' to convert the PS file you create above to a PDF file. 
This leaves you in essentially the same place as LaTeX, where you can 
then use the full screen viewing mode of a PDF viewer.  I used to use 
this option several years ago, before I began to use LaTeX almost 

> 3. I do not see any pdf import functionality in OO, I get it
> as text and in OO writer. PDF is not listed among
> the supported formats in Impress for inserting graphic files.
> I did not try the development version of OO, perhaps this is
> an alternative.

PDF import will be new for OO.org 3.x.  It is not available in the 
current 2.x stable release versions.



> Agus
> Marc Schwartz escribió:
>> A reasonable question here might be, what do you intend to do with the 
>> SVG file, once you have it.  OO.org does not natively import SVG files 
>> and the only import filter that I am aware of for it:
>> http://wiki.services.openoffice.org/wiki/SVG_Import_Filter
>> is an incomplete implementation. This means that your resultant 
>> graphic could end up 'brain damaged' after import.
>> Not even OO.org 3.x, which is in development, will support this 
>> natively. Though they are adding PDF import functionality.
>> Importing EPS graphs into OO.org works great and if you need a preview 
>> image, you can have one if you have the proper tools installed as 
>> Prof. Ripley notes. You can either do this from the command line or 
>> during the actual import process.  Just keep in mind that what you 
>> will see in the document is the bitmapped preview, not the vector 
>> based EPS image. OO.org, like MS Office, does not render EPS images.
>> You of course also need to print the document to a PS compatible 
>> printer, lest you simply get the bitmapped preview image output. Same 
>> thing BTW, with the default PDF export functions in OO.org.
>> HTH,
>> Marc Schwartz
>> Prof Brian Ripley wrote:
>>> R 2.7.0 RC has an svg() device on Unix-alikes, and there are 
>>> RSvgDevice and RSVGTipsDevice packages on CRAN.
>>> I've seen so many problems with SVG renderers (especially related to 
>>> fonts) that I would prefer not to rely on it.
>>> If this is Windows, the preferred route seems to be to use EPS with a 
>>> preview (which GSView can add for you).
>>> On Wed, 16 Apr 2008, Stefan Grosse wrote:
>>>> On Wed, 16 Apr 2008 13:20:35 +0200 Agustin Lobo wrote:
>>>> AL>I have problems with emf files because OpenOffice does
>>>> AL>a poor job at importing figures in this format. On the other
>>>> AL>hand, imported eps figures are not displayed, just printed.
>>>> AL>Is there any R graphic gui able to export as SVG (or
>>>> AL>other vector format)? I've
>>>> AL>tried JGR, iplots and svGUI.
>>>> The figures format has nothing to do with the gui. It matters which
>>>> devices are supported by your R platform on your system
>>>> (Win/Linux/Mac?).
>>>> A quick search on r-project.org pointed me to the Cairo package. Maybe
>>>> you can try that.
>>>> You will also have reasonable results using the png device/graphics.
>>>> usually you do something like:
>>>> png("myplot.png",width=500,height=500)
>>>> plot(x,y)
>>>> dev.off()
>>>> hth
>>>> Stefan

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