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Fonts in ggplot2 on Windows and Mac

A lot of things are great and easy to do in ggplot2…but putting new fonts in can be a pain in the butt. I had to do this last week, so I decided to write down what I did (as much for me as for anyone else).

  1. Get the package extrafont: install.packages('extrafont')
  2. Start extrafont: library(extrafont)
  3. Import system fonts to R (this can take a minute): font_import()
  4. Load fonts: loadfonts(device = 'win'). If you’re on a Mac, just loadfonts().
  5. Fonts are loaded!

Now, when you type windowsFonts() in windows or , you’ll get a list of all available fonts:

$serif
[1] "TT Times New Roman"

$sans
[1] "TT Arial"

$mono
[1] "TT Courier New"

$`Agency FB`
[1] "Agency FB"

$Algerian
[1] "Algerian"

$`Arial Black`
[1] "Arial Black"

$Arial
[1] "Arial"
...

Now, when you want to use a font in ggplot, it’s as easy as calling theme(family = 'Arial').

Note that if you’re on a Mac, you won’t get the default Microsoft Office fonts, so if you’re trying to convince people that you can switch from Powerpoint by making Excel-like plot styles, you’ll need to add the fonts manually. Luckily, it’s really easy to do through the font book utility on your Mac (just type Font into spotlight), and this blog post.