[R] pdf() Export Problem: Circles Interpreted as Fonts from ggplot2 Graphics

Adam Carr adamlcarr at yahoo.com
Thu Dec 30 23:59:52 CET 2010

Good Evening:

I am putting together a large report with plots created in R, V 2.12.0. Most of 
the plots are created using ggplot2 V0.8.9. I use R's pdf() command to export 
the plot to a pdf file. I am exporting the plots and attempting to edit the 
title text in Inkscape primarily because ggplot2 does not support superscript or 
subscript formatting in the title text. For the report I am working on these 
formats are essential. 

I am running the R version mentioned above and Inkscape 0.48 on a Windows XP 
machine with the following system details:

OS Name Microsoft Windows XP Professional 
Version 5.1.2600 Service Pack 3 Build 2600
System Type X86-based PC 
Processor x86 Family 6 Model 15 Stepping 11 GenuineIntel ~1995 Mhz 
BIOS Version/Date LENOVO 7LETB7WW (2.17 ), 4/25/2008 
Total Physical Memory 4,096.00 MB 
Available Physical Memory 1.62 GB 
Total Virtual Memory 2.00 GB 
Available Virtual Memory 1.96 GB 
Page File Space 8.69 GB 

I do not think this is a ggplot2-specific problem.

I use a simple version of the pdf() command to export the file that includes the 
file name and path only. The PDF looks fine actually, it is the restriction on 
text editing caused by Adobe's intepretation of the graphic that is the problem.

I have attached two files to this email:

1. An R-exported pdf file exactly as it looks as opened in Adobe Reader V9. This 
file is named exportforinkscapeforum.pdf.

2. An example of the way the plot appears after I import it into Inkscape. This 
file is named Example of How Imported File Appears in Inkscape.pdf.

The problem I have is that when I import the pdf into Inkscape the solid, filled 
circles on the plot are converted to the lower case letter q. I read about 
similar problems on R-help.org and other R-related sites, but the descriptions I 
found seemed to indicate that the lower case q was visible in the pdf file when 
opened with Adobe or other viewers. This does not seem to be my problem. 

I posted this problem to the Inkscape forum and received a reply suggesting that 
Adobe is interpreting the solid, filled circles not as solid, filled circles but 
as font objects. The user who replied suggested that I look for the Zpf Dingbat 
font embedded in the PDF and it is in fact there. This is the font Adobe is 
applying to my solid, filled circles. Apparently there are known issues with 
Inkscape's ability to import fonts via PDF and the problem is documented on 
their bug list.

The Inkscape user asked if there was any way that R could be coerced to use 
actual circles or paths for the points. I am not aware of a way to do this so 
any input from anyone here would be greatly appreciated.

To briefly return to my main problem: if there is another way to edit the main 
title text to include a superscripted character (in my particular case it is 
Unicode character 00AE, the registered trademark sign) I would appreciate the 

Any help on this issue would be appreciated.


-------------- next part --------------
A non-text attachment was scrubbed...
Name: Example of How Imported PDF Looks in Inkscape.pdf
Type: application/pdf
Size: 97244 bytes
Desc: not available
URL: <https://stat.ethz.ch/pipermail/r-help/attachments/20101230/8d92ba79/attachment.pdf>
-------------- next part --------------
A non-text attachment was scrubbed...
Name: exportforinkscapeforum.pdf
Type: application/pdf
Size: 35370 bytes
Desc: not available
URL: <https://stat.ethz.ch/pipermail/r-help/attachments/20101230/8d92ba79/attachment-0001.pdf>

More information about the R-help mailing list