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Line plots of smoothed kernel density estimates are available in ggplot2 via geom_density. This geom layer simply adds a text label to each curve that follow the contour of the density line when used as a drop-in replacement for geom_density


  mapping = NULL,
  data = NULL,
  stat = "density",
  position = "identity",
  bw = "nrd0",
  adjust = 1,
  kernel = "gaussian",
  n = 512,
  lineend = "butt",
  linejoin = "round",
  linemitre = 10,
  na.rm = FALSE,
  show.legend = NA,
  inherit.aes = TRUE

  mapping = NULL,
  data = NULL,
  stat = "density",
  position = "identity",
  na.rm = FALSE,
  show.legend = NA,
  inherit.aes = TRUE,
  lineend = "butt",
  linejoin = "round",
  linemitre = 10,
  bw = "nrd0",
  adjust = 1,
  kernel = "gaussian",
  n = 512,
  label.padding = unit(0.25, "lines"),
  label.r = unit(0.15, "lines"),
  arrow = NULL



Set of aesthetic mappings created by aes() or aes_(). If specified and inherit.aes = TRUE (the default), it is combined with the default mapping at the top level of the plot. You must supply mapping if there is no plot mapping.


The data to be displayed in this layer. There are three options:

If NULL, the default, the data is inherited from the plot data as specified in the call to ggplot().

A data.frame, or other object, will override the plot data. All objects will be fortified to produce a data frame. See fortify() for which variables will be created.

A function will be called with a single argument, the plot data. The return value must be a data.frame, and will be used as the layer data. A function can be created from a formula (e.g. ~ head(.x, 10)).


The statistical transformation to use on the data for this layer, as a string.


Position adjustment, either as a string, or the result of a call to a position adjustment function.


Other arguments passed on to layer. These are often aesthetics, used to set an aesthetic to a fixed value, like colour = "red" or size = 3. These can also be the following text-path parameters:


A logical(1) which if TRUE, breaks the path into two sections with a gap on either side of the label. If FALSE, the path is plotted as a whole. Alternatively, if NA, the path will be broken if the string has a vjust between 0 and 1, and not otherwise. The default for the label variant is FALSE and for the text variant is NA.


A logical(1) which if TRUE (default), inverts any text where the majority of letters would upside down along the path, to improve legibility. If FALSE, the path decides the orientation of text.


A character(1) describing how multi-line text should be justified. Can either be "center" (default), "left" or "right".


A unit object of length 1 to determine the offset of the text from the path. If this is NULL (default), the vjust parameter decides the offset. If not NULL, the offset argument overrules the vjust setting.


A logical(1) which if TRUE, will coerce the labels into expressions, allowing for plotmath syntax to be used.


A logical(1) which if TRUE, keeps the letters of a label on a straight baseline and if FALSE (default), lets individual letters follow the curve. This might be helpful for noisy paths.


A unit object of length 1 to determine the padding between the text and the path when the gap parameter trims the path.


a numeric(1) value between 0 and 100 that smooths the text without affecting the line portion of the geom. The default value of 0 means no smoothing is applied.


A logical(1) whether to interpret the text as html/markdown formatted rich text. Default: FALSE. See also the rich text section of the details in geom_textpath().


if TRUE, labels that are longer than their associated path will be removed.


The smoothing bandwidth to be used. If numeric, the standard deviation of the smoothing kernel. If character, a rule to choose the bandwidth, as listed in stats::bw.nrd().


A multiplicate bandwidth adjustment. This makes it possible to adjust the bandwidth while still using the a bandwidth estimator. For example, adjust = 1/2 means use half of the default bandwidth.


Kernel. See list of available kernels in density().


number of equally spaced points at which the density is to be estimated, should be a power of two, see density() for details


Line end style (round, butt, square).


Line join style (round, mitre, bevel).


Line mitre limit (number greater than 1).


If FALSE, the default, missing values are removed with a warning. If TRUE, missing values are silently removed.


logical. Should this layer be included in the legends? NA, the default, includes if any aesthetics are mapped. FALSE never includes, and TRUE always includes. It can also be a named logical vector to finely select the aesthetics to display.


If FALSE, overrides the default aesthetics, rather than combining with them. This is most useful for helper functions that define both data and aesthetics and shouldn't inherit behaviour from the default plot specification, e.g. borders().


Amount of padding around label. Defaults to 0.25 lines.


Radius of rounded corners. Defaults to 0.15 lines.


Arrow specification, as created by grid::arrow().


A Layer ggproto object that can be added to a plot.


geom_textdensity() understands the following aesthetics (required aesthetics are in bold):

  • x

  • label

  • alpha

  • angle

  • colour

  • family

  • fontface

  • group

  • hjust

  • linecolour

  • lineheight

  • linetype

  • linewidth

  • size

  • spacing

  • textcolour

  • vjust

In addition to aforementioned aesthetics, geom_labeldensity() also understands:

  • boxcolour

  • boxlinetype

  • boxlinewidth

  • fill

The spacing aesthetic allows fine control of spacing of text, which is called 'tracking' in typography. The default is 0 and units are measured in 1/1000 em. Numbers greater than zero increase the spacing, whereas negative numbers decrease the spacing.

Learn more about setting these aesthetics in vignette("ggplot2-specs").

See also

Other geom layers that place text on paths.


ggplot(iris, aes(Sepal.Length, label = Species, color = Species)) +