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The goal of altair is to help you build Vega-Lite visualizations. This package uses reticulate to provide an interface to the Altair Python package, and the vegawidget package to render charts as htmlwidgets. To avoid confusion, the capitalized word Altair shall refer to the Python package; the lower-case word altair shall refer to this R package.

This version of the R package supports Python Altair version 4.2.0.


This example is discussed in detail in our Getting Started article:


vega_data <- import_vega_data()

chart <- 
    x = "Horsepower:Q",
    y = "Miles_per_Gallon:Q",
    color = "Origin:N"


Some things to keep in mind:

These and other “gotchas” are compiled along with workarounds in an article: Field Guide to Python Issues.


You can install altair from CRAN with:


The development version of is available from GitHub:

# install.packages("devtools")

Because of Python, there may be some additional installation steps, described in greater detail in the Installation article.

  1. Python must be installed on your system. We have had success using Conda: in particular, Miniconda works well and installs more-quickly than Anaconda.

    If you work in a corporate or institutional environment, you may have to specify the location of your SSL certificate, or deal with a proxy. The installation article has a section on this.

  2. Create a Conda environment called "r-reticulate". The reticulate folks recommend standardizing on a common name for all packages that use reticulate. For more information, there is a section in the installation article.

  3. Install Altair into your "r-reticulate" environment using altair::install_altair().

  4. Important: (Python) Altair 4.2.0 does note work with Pandas 2.0; use Pandas 1.5.3 (for example). This is fixed for (Python) Altair 5, which will be made available in an upcoming release of (R) altair.

You may wish to add a line like this to the .First() function in your .Rprofile:


The use_condaenv() function is called to provide a hint to reticulate on which Python environment to use.

Optional installations

If you have the V8 installed, you can use vegawidget’s image-generating functions to convert Altair charts into SVG strings or write SVG files. With the rsvg and png packages installed, you can get a bitmap array, or write PNG files.

When knitting to a non-HTML format, e.g. github_document, this package provides a knit_print() function that will intercept the normal renderer, using instead its own renderer, allowing you to specify "png" , "svg" or "pdf". Like the image functions, this requires that the V8 package be installed, as well as rsvg and png. MacOS users will require an X11 system, such as XQuartz, to be installed.


The documentation for this package includes some articles:



Field Guides:


This package rests on these foundations:

As well, a particular debt is owed to the folks behind the vegalite package, as it provided a lot of the inspiration for these efforts.

This project is a collaborative effort. In addition to the principal authors:


Please note that this project is released with a Contributor Code of Conduct. By participating in this project you agree to abide by its terms.

This project also has a Contributing Guide.