How to Visualize Data With Highcharter

April 2, 2018

(This article was first published on R-exercises, and kindly contributed to R-bloggers)


Highcharter is a R wrapper for Highcharts javascript libray and its modules. Highcharts is very mature and flexible javascript charting library and it has a great and powerful API1.

The main features of this package are:

Various chart type with the same style: scatters, bubble, line, time series, heatmaps, treemap, bar charts, networks.

Chart various R object with one function. With hchart(x) you can chart: data.frames, numeric, histogram, character, density, factors, ts, mts, xts, stl, ohlc, acf, forecast, mforecast, ets, igraph, dist, dendrogram, phylo, survfit classes.

Support Highstock charts. You can create a candlestick charts in 2 lines of code. Support xts objects from the quantmod package.

Support Highmaps charts. It’s easy to create choropleths or add information in geojson format.

Piping styling.

Themes: you configurate your chart in multiples ways. There are implemented themes like economist, financial times, google, 538 among others.

Plugins: motion, drag points, fontawesome, url-pattern, annotations.



Basic Example

This is a simple example using hchart function.

data(diamonds, mpg, package = "ggplot2")

hchart(mpg, “scatter”, hcaes(x = displ, y = hwy, group = class))

Learn more about using different visualization packages in the online course R: Complete Data Visualization Solutions. In this course, you will learn how to:

  • Work extensively with the ggplot package and its functionality
  • Learn what visualizations exist for your specific use case
  • And much more

The highcharts API

highchart() %>%
hc_chart(type = "column") %>%
hc_title(text = "A highcharter chart") %>%
hc_xAxis(categories = 2012:2016) %>%
hc_add_series(data = c(3900, 4200, 5700, 8500, 11900),
name = "Downloads")

Generic Function hchart

Among its features highcharter can chart various objects depending of its class with the generic2 hchart function.

hchart(diamonds$cut, colorByPoint = TRUE, name = "Cut")


hchart(diamonds$price, color = "#B71C1C", name = "Price") %>%
hc_title(text = "You can zoom me")


One of the nicest class which hchart can plot is the forecast class from the forecast package.


airforecast <- forecast(auto.arima(AirPassengers), level = 95)



With highcharter you can use the highstock library which include sophisticated navigation options like a small navigator series, preset date ranges, date picker, scrolling and panning. With highcarter it’s easy make candlesticks or ohlc charts using time series data. For example data from quantmod package.


x <- getSymbols(“GOOG”, auto.assign = FALSE)
y %
hc_add_series(x) %>%
hc_add_series(y, type = “ohlc”)


You can chart maps and choropleth using the highmaps module.


hcmap("countries/us/us-all-all", data = unemployment,
name = "Unemployment", value = "value", joinBy = c("hc-key", "code"),
borderColor = "transparent") %>%
hc_colorAxis(dataClasses = color_classes(c(seq(0, 10, by = 2), 50))) %>%
hc_legend(layout = "vertical", align = "right",
floating = TRUE, valueDecimals = 0, valueSuffix = "%")

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