Stacked Area Chart

A stacked area chart displays the evolution of a numeric variable for several groups. It is very close to an area chart. This section displays many examples built with R and ggplot2. Have a look at if you want to learn more about stacked area chart theory.

Note on stacked area chart

This section is tightly linked with other sections. A line chart is the same but doesn't fill the surface between the line and the X axis. A connected scatterplot is almost the same thing, but each observation is represented as a dot. More generally, the time series section can interest you.

connected scatter line chart time series

Step by step with ggplot2

Drawing a stacked area chart with ggplot2 is pretty straightforward once you've understood how to build an area chart with geom_area(). Basically, you just have to provide a categorical to the fill argument to split the area by groups.

Interactive version: plotly

The ggplotly() function of the plotly library makes it a breeze to build an interactive version. Try to hover circles to get a tooltip, or select an area of interest for zooming. Double click to reinitialize.

Get code

Alternatives to stacking

Stacking suffers several issues. In the left chart below, try to estimate how the green group evolved during the period? You can read more about this caveat here. Depending what your final goal is, it can be better to use small multiple or unstacked line chart.

Learn more

Interactive version: dygraph

The dygraph package is dedicated to time series visualization. It offers zooming, hovering, minimaps and much more. Visit the time series section that is dedicated to it for more.

Get code Time series section

Step by step with base R

In base R, the combination of the plot() and the polygon() functions allows to build quality stacked area charts.

🌐 From the web

The web is full of astonishing R charts made by awesome bloggers. The R graph gallery tries to display some of the best creations and explain how their source code works. If you want to display your work here, please drop me a word or even better, submit a Pull Request!

Related chart types

Line plot
Stacked area
Time Series