Interactive time series with dygraphs

April 14, 2015

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

The dygraphs package is an R interface to the dygraphs JavaScript charting library. It provides rich facilities for charting time-series data in R, including:

  • Automatically plots xts time-series objects (or objects convertible to xts).
  • Rich interactive features including zoom/pan and series/point highlighting.
  • Highly configurable axis and series display (including optional 2nd Y-axis).
  • Display upper/lower bars (e.g. prediction intervals) around series.
  • Various graph overlays including shaded regions, event lines, and annotations.
  • Use at the R console just like conventional R plots (via RStudio Viewer).
  • Embeddable within R Markdown documents and Shiny web applications.

The dygraphs package is available on CRAN now and can be installed with:



Here are some examples of interactive time series visualizations you can create with only a line or two of R code (the screenshots are static, click them to see the interactive version).

Panning and Zooming

This code adds a range selector that’s can be used to pan and zoom around the series data:

dygraph(nhtemp, main = "New Haven Temperatures") %>%

Screen Shot 2015-04-09 at 1.01.35 PM

Point Highlighting

When you hover over the time-series the values of all points at the location of the mouse are shown in the legend:

lungDeaths <- cbind(ldeaths, mdeaths, fdeaths)
dygraph(lungDeaths, main = "Deaths from Lung Disease (UK)") %>%
  dyOptions(colors = RColorBrewer::brewer.pal(3, "Set2"))

Screen Shot 2015-04-09 at 12.53.54 PM

Shading and Annotations

There are a wide variety of tools available to annotate time series. Here we demonstrate creating shaded regions:

dygraph(nhtemp, main="New Haven Temperatures") %>% 
  dySeries(label="Temp (F)", color="black") %>%
  dyShading(from="1920-1-1", to="1930-1-1", color="#FFE6E6") %>%
  dyShading(from="1940-1-1", to="1950-1-1", color="#CCEBD6")

Screen Shot 2015-04-09 at 1.11.31 PM

You can find additional examples and documentation on the dygraphs for R website.

Bringing JavaScript to R

One of the reasons we are excited about dygraphs is that it takes a mature and feature rich visualization library formerly only accessible to web developers and makes it available to all R users.

This is part of a larger trend enabled by the htmlwidgets package, and we expect that more and more libraries like dygraphs will emerge over the coming months to bring the best of JavaScript data visualization to R.


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