# How to Reorder Boxplots in R: A Comprehensive Guide

**Steve's Data Tips and Tricks**, and kindly contributed to R-bloggers]. (You can report issue about the content on this page here)

Want to share your content on R-bloggers? click here if you have a blog, or here if you don't.

# Introduction

Boxplots are a great way to visualize the distribution of a dataset. However, sometimes the default ordering of boxplots may not be ideal for the data being presented. In this blog post, we will explore how to reorder boxplots in R using base R. We will provide at least three examples and explain them in simple terms. We encourage readers to try things on their own.

# Examples

## Example 1: Reorder Based on Specific Order

The first example shows how to order the boxplots based on a specific order for the variable being plotted. We will use the built-in airquality dataset in R. The following code shows how to order the boxplots based on the following order for the Month variable: 5, 8, 6, 9, 7.

# Load the airquality dataset data(airquality) # Reorder Month values airquality$Month <- factor(airquality$Month, levels=c(5, 8, 6, 9, 7)) # Create boxplot of temperatures by month using the order we specified boxplot(Temp ~ Month, data=airquality, col="lightblue", border="black")

Notice that the boxplots now appear in the order that we specified using the levels argument.

## Example 2: Reorder Based on Median Value

The second example shows how to order the boxplots in ascending order based on the median value for each group. We will use the built-in PlantGrowth dataset in R.

# Load the PlantGrowth dataset data(PlantGrowth) # Create boxplot of weight by group boxplot(weight ~ group, data=PlantGrowth, col="lightblue", border="black")

# Reorder the groups based on median weight group_order <- names(sort(tapply(PlantGrowth$weight, PlantGrowth$group, median))) PlantGrowth$group <- factor(PlantGrowth$group, levels=group_order) # Create boxplot of weight by group using the new order boxplot(weight ~ group, data=PlantGrowth, col="lightblue", border="black")

Notice that the boxplots now appear in ascending order based on the median weight for each group.

## Example 3: Reorder Based on Custom Function

The third example shows how to order the boxplots based on a custom function. We will use the built-in ToothGrowth dataset in R.

# Load the ToothGrowth dataset data(ToothGrowth) # Create boxplot of length by dose boxplot(len ~ dose, data=ToothGrowth, col="lightblue", border="black") # Reorder the groups based on the mean length multiplied by the dose group_order <- names(sort(tapply(ToothGrowth$len * ToothGrowth$dose, ToothGrowth$dose, mean))) ToothGrowth$dose <- factor(ToothGrowth$dose, levels=group_order) # Create boxplot of length by dose using the new order boxplot(len ~ dose, data=ToothGrowth, col="lightblue", border="black")

Notice that the boxplots now appear in order based on the mean length multiplied by the dose for each group.

# Conclusion

In conclusion, reordering boxplots in R is a simple and effective way to improve the visualization of your data. We have shown three examples of how to reorder boxplots in base R. We encourage readers to try these examples on their own and experiment with different datasets and custom functions.

# Resources:

- https://r-graph-gallery.com/9-ordered-boxplot.html
- https://www.statology.org/reorder-boxplot-in-r/
- https://youtube.com/watch?v=kLw_hSZhWCI
- https://stackoverflow.com/questions/60424177/how-to-change-the-order-of-boxplot-in-r)
- https://statisticsglobe.com/reorder-boxplot-in-r
- https://www.geeksforgeeks.org/how-to-reorder-boxplots-in-r-with-ggplot2/

**leave a comment**for the author, please follow the link and comment on their blog:

**Steve's Data Tips and Tricks**.

R-bloggers.com offers

**daily e-mail updates**about R news and tutorials about learning R and many other topics. Click here if you're looking to post or find an R/data-science job.

Want to share your content on R-bloggers? click here if you have a blog, or here if you don't.