Add charts to a workbook

The following manual will present various ways to add plots and charts to openxlsx2 worksheets and even chartsheets. This assumes that you have basic knowledge how to handle openxlsx2 and are familiar with either the default R graphics functions like plot() or barplot() and grDevices, or with the packages {ggplot2}, {rvg} or {mschart}. There are plenty of other manuals that cover using these better than we could ever tell you to.

library(openxlsx2) # openxlsx2 >= 0.4 for mschart and rvg support

## create a workbook
wb <- wb_workbook()

Add plot to workbook

You can include any image in PNG or JPEG format. Simply open a device and save the output and pass it to the worksheet with wb_add_image().

myplot <- tempfile(fileext = ".jpg")
#> quartz_off_screen 
#>                 2

# Add basic plots to the workbook
wb$add_worksheet("add_image")$add_image(file = myplot)

Add {ggplot2} plot to workbook

You can include {ggplot2} plots similar to how you would include them with openxlsx. Call the plot first and afterwards use wb_add_plot().

if (requireNamespace("ggplot2")) {

p <- ggplot(mtcars, aes(x = mpg, fill = as.factor(gear))) +
  ggtitle("Distribution of Gas Mileage") +
  geom_density(alpha = 0.5)

# Add ggplot to the workbook
  add_plot(width = 5, height = 3.5, file_type = "png", units = "in")

#> Lade nötigen Namensraum: ggplot2

Add plot via {rvg}

If you want vector graphics that can be modified in spreadsheet software the dml_xlsx() device comes in handy. You can pass the output via wb_add_drawing().

if (requireNamespace("ggplot2") && requireNamespace("rvg")) {


## create rvg example

p <- ggplot(iris, aes(x = Sepal.Length, y = Petal.Width)) +
  geom_point() +
  labs(title = "With font Bradley Hand") +
  theme_minimal(base_family = "sans", base_size = 18)

tmp <- tempfile(fileext = ".xml")
rvg::dml_xlsx(file =  tmp, fonts = list(sans = "Bradley Hand"))

# Add rvg to the workbook
  add_drawing(xml = tmp)$
  add_drawing(xml = tmp, dims = NULL)

#> Lade nötigen Namensraum: rvg

Add {mschart} plots

If you want native open xml charts, have a look at {mschart}. Create one of the chart files and pass it to the workbook with wb_add_mschart(). There are two options possible. 1. Either the default {mschart} output identical to the one in {officer}. Passing a data object and let {mschart} prepare the data. In this case wb_add_mschart() will add a new data region. 2. Passing a wb_data() object to {mschart}. This object contains references to the data on the worksheet and allows using data “as is”.

if (requireNamespace("mschart")) {

library(mschart) # mschart >= 0.4 for openxlsx2 support

## create chart from mschart object (this creates new input data)
mylc <- ms_linechart(
  data = browser_ts,
  x = "date",
  y = "freq",
  group = "browser"

wb$add_worksheet("add_mschart")$add_mschart(dims = "A10:G25", graph = mylc)

## create chart referencing worksheet cells as input
# write data starting at B2
wb$add_worksheet("add_mschart - wb_data")$
  add_data(x = mtcars, dims = "B2")$
  add_data(x = data.frame(name = rownames(mtcars)), dims = "A2")

# create wb_data object this will tell this mschart
# from this PR to create a file corresponding to openxlsx2
dat <- wb_data(wb, dims = "A2:G10")

# create a few mscharts
scatter_plot <- ms_scatterchart(
  data = dat,
  x = "mpg",
  y = c("disp", "hp")

bar_plot <- ms_barchart(
  data = dat,
  x = "name",
  y = c("disp", "hp")

area_plot <- ms_areachart(
  data = dat,
  x = "name",
  y = c("disp", "hp")

line_plot <- ms_linechart(
  data = dat,
  x = "name",
  y = c("disp", "hp"),
  labels = c("disp", "hp")

# add the charts to the data
wb <- wb %>%
  wb_add_mschart(dims = "F4:L20", graph = scatter_plot) %>%
  wb_add_mschart(dims = "F21:L37", graph = bar_plot) %>%
  wb_add_mschart(dims = "M4:S20", graph = area_plot) %>%
  wb_add_mschart(dims = "M21:S37", graph = line_plot)

# add chartsheet
wb <- wb %>%
  wb_add_chartsheet() %>%
  wb_add_mschart(graph = scatter_plot)

#> Lade nötigen Namensraum: mschart