chart.StackedBar {PerformanceAnalytics}R Documentation

create a stacked bar plot


This creates a stacked column chart with time on the horizontal axis and values in categories. This kind of chart is commonly used for showing portfolio 'weights' through time, although the function will plot any values by category.


chart.StackedBar(w, colorset = NULL, space = 0.2, cex.axis=0.8, cex.legend = 0.8, cex.lab = 1, cex.labels = 0.8, cex.main = 1, xaxis=TRUE, legend.loc="under",  element.color = "darkgray", unstacked = TRUE, xlab="Date", ylab="Value", ylim=NULL, date.format = "%b %y", major.ticks='auto', minor.ticks=TRUE, las = 0, xaxis.labels = NULL, ... )


w a matrix, data frame or zoo object of values to be plotted. Rownames should contain dates or period labels; column names should indicate categories. See examples for detail.
colorset color palette to use, set by default to rational choices
space the amount of space (as a fraction of the average bar width) left before each bar, as in barplot. Default is 0.2.
cex.legend The magnification to be used for sizing the legend relative to the current setting of 'cex', similar to plot.
cex.labels The magnification to be used for event line labels relative to the current setting of 'cex'.
cex.lab The magnification to be used for x- and y-axis labels relative to the current setting of 'cex'.
cex.main The magnification to be used for the chart title relative to the current setting of 'cex'.
xaxis If true, draws the x axis
ylab Set the y-axis label, same as in plot
date.format Re-format the dates for the xaxis; the default is "%m/%y"
major.ticks Should major tickmarks be drawn and labeled, default 'auto'
minor.ticks Should minor tickmarks be drawn, default TRUE
xaxis.labels Allows for non-date labeling of date axes, default is NULL
cex.axis The magnification to be used for sizing the axis text relative to the current setting of 'cex', similar to plot.
las sets the orientation of the axis labels, as described in par. Defaults to '3'.
legend.loc places a legend into a location on the chart similar to chart.TimeSeries. The default, "under," is the only location currently implemented for this chart. Use 'NULL' to remove the legend.
element.color provides the color for drawing less-important chart elements, such as the box lines, axis lines, etc.
unstacked logical. If set to 'TRUE' and only one row of data is submitted in 'w', then the chart creates a normal column chart. If more than one row is submitted, then this is ignored. See examples below.
xlab the x-axis label, which defaults to 'NULL'.
ylim set the y-axis limit, same as in plot
... arguments to be passed to barplot.


This function is a wrapper for barplot but adds three additional capabilities. First, it calculates and sets a bottom margin for long column names that are rotated vertically. That doesn't always result in the prettiest chart, but it does ensure readable labels.

Second, it places a legend "under" the graph rather than within the bounds of the chart (which would obscure the data). The legend is created from the column names. The default is to create the legend when there's more than one row of data being presented. If there is one row of data, the chart may be "unstacked" and the legend removed.

Third, it plots or stacks negative values from an origin of zero, similar to the behavior of barchart from the 'lattice' package.


Plots a column chart or stacked column chart to the current device.


The 'w' attribute is so named because this is a popular way to show portfolio weights through time. That being said, this function isn't limited to any particular values and doesn't provide any normalization, so that the chart can be used more generally.

The principal drawback of stacked column charts is that it is very difficult for the reader to judge size of 2nd, 3rd, etc., data series because they do not have common baseline. Another is that with a large number of series, the colors may be difficult to discern. As alternatives, Cleveland advocates the use of trellis like displays, and Tufte advocates the use of small multiple charts.


Peter Carl


Cleveland, W.S. (1994), The Elements of Graphing Data, Summit, NJ: Hobart Press.

Tufte, Edward R. (2001) The Visual Display of Quantitative Information, 2nd edition. The Graphics Press, Cheshire, Connecticut. See for this and other references.

See Also

barplot, par



# With the legend "under" the chart
chart.StackedBar(weights, date.format="%Y", cex.legend = 0.7, colorset=rainbow12equal)

# Without the legend
chart.StackedBar(weights, colorset=rainbow12equal, legend.loc=NULL)

# for one row of data, use 'unstacked' for a better chart
chart.StackedBar(weights[1,,drop=FALSE], unstacked=TRUE, las=3)

[Package PerformanceAnalytics version 0.9.9-5 Index]