R - Adapt plot area of several ggplot for grid.arrange, consistent width

21 August 2019

Small function created with the help of the Stackoverflow community to have consistent width for ggplot and grid.arrange:


same.size.ggplot <- function(vector.string.graph, # a vector of strings which correspond to Robject ggplot graphs
                             reference.string.graph, # a string of a  Robject ggplot graphs where height and/or height will be taken for reference
                             width = T, # if you wanna adapat only the width
                             height = F # if you wanna adapat only the height
) {

  # example: same.size.ggplot(p0rep(c("a", "b"), thre), "a30")

  which(vector.string.graph %in% reference.string.graph)

  newref <- ggplotGrob(get(reference.string.graph))
  ref.width <- newref$widths
  ref.height <- newref$heights

  assign(reference.string.graph, newref, env = parent.frame(1))

  for(i in seq_along(vector.string.graph)) {
    if(vector.string.graph[i] != reference.string.graph) {
      new <- ggplotGrob(get(vector.string.graph[i]))
      if( width ) {
        new$widths <- ref.width
      if( height ) {
        new$heights <- ref.height
      assign(vector.string.graph[i], new, env = parent.frame(1))
p1 <- ggplot(data.frame(x=c("a","b","c"),y=c("happy","sad","ambivalent about life")),aes(x=factor(0),fill=x)) + geom_bar()
p2 <- ggplot(data.frame(x=c("a","b","c"),y=c("happy","sad","ambivalent about life")),aes(x=factor(0),fill=y)) + geom_bar()
p3 <- ggplot(data.frame(x=c("a","b","c"),y=c("Crazy happy","sad","Just follow the flow")),aes(x=factor(0),fill=y)) + geom_bar()

grid.arrange(p1, p2, p3, ncol = 1)

same.size.ggplot(c("p1", "p2", "p3"), "p2") # same as same.size.ggplot(c("p2", "p3"), "p1")

grid.arrange(p1, p2, p3, ncol = 1)


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