Quality Graphics with ggplot2

University of Texas at Austin


August 17th, 2020

9:00 am - 12:30 pm

Instructors: Alice MacQueen

Helpers: Taslima Haque

General Information

This is a Data Carpentry style lesson on building graphics in R with ggplot2. ggplot2 is a plotting package in R that makes it simple to create complex plots from data in a data frame, allowing you to create and edit publication quality plots with minimal amounts of adjustments and tweaking. In this course, you will learn how to produce plots using ggplot2, set universal plot settings and themes, apply faceting in ggplot, and build and save complex and customized plots from data in a data frame.

Data Carpentry develops and teaches workshops on the fundamental data skills needed to conduct research. Its lessons are domain specific, building on learners' existing knowledge to enable them to quickly apply skills learned to their own research. Participants will be encouraged to help one another and to apply what they have learned to their own research problems.

For more information on what we teach and why, please see our paper "Good Enough Practices for Scientific Computing".

Who: The course is aimed at graduate students and other researchers at the University of Texas at Austin. You don't need to have any previous knowledge of the tools that will be presented at the workshop.

Where: This training will take place online. The instructors will provide you with the information you will need to connect to this meeting.

When: August 17th, 2020. Add to your Google Calendar.

Requirements: Participants must use a laptop with a Mac, Linux, or Windows operating system (not a tablet, Chromebook, etc.) that they have administrative privileges on. They should have a few specific software packages installed (listed below).

Accessibility: We are dedicated to providing a positive and accessible learning environment for all. Please notify the instructors in advance of the workshop if you require any accommodations or if there is anything we can do to make this workshop more accessible to you.

Contact: Please email alice.macqueen@utexas.edu or taslima@utexas.edu for more information.

Roles: To learn more about the roles at the workshop (who will be doing what), refer to our Workshop FAQ.

Code of Conduct

Everyone who participates in Carpentries activities is required to conform to the Code of Conduct. This document also outlines how to report an incident if needed.

Collaborative Notes

We will use this collaborative document for chatting, taking notes, and sharing URLs and bits of code.


Please be sure to complete these surveys before and after the workshop.

Pre-workshop Survey

Post-workshop Survey


August 17th

9:00 am RStudio & Data Visualization with ggplot2
10:15 am Morning Break
10:45 am Continuation of R: Data Visualization with ggplot2 and cowplot
12:15 pm Wrap Up
12:20 pm Post-workshop survey



To participate in a Data Carpentry workshop, you will need access to the software described below. In addition, you will need an up-to-date web browser.

We maintain a list of common issues that occur during installation as a reference for instructors that may be useful on the Configuration Problems and Solutions wiki page.

Install the videoconferencing client

If you haven't used Zoom before, go to the official website to download and install the Zoom client for your computer.

Set up your workspace

Like other Carpentries workshops, you will be learning by "coding along" with the Instructors. To do this, you will need to have both the window for the tool you will be learning about (a terminal, RStudio, your web browser, etc..) and the window for the Zoom video conference client open. In order to see both at once, we recommend using one of the following set up options:

This blog post includes detailed information on how to set up your screen to follow along during the workshop.

R and RStudio


If you already have R and RStudio installed

If you don’t have R and RStudio installed


If you already have R and RStudio installed

If you don’t have R and RStudio installed


R Packages