[R] exporting high quality graphics from R in Mac OSX

Prof Brian Ripley ripley at stats.ox.ac.uk
Thu Jul 22 14:55:05 CEST 2004

R's PDF is indeed vector graphics.  Given that PDF is supposedly the
native graphics representation on MacOS X, it sounds as if you are not
using MacOS X native applications (and Office 2000 cannot be, given its
date).  If you are indeed using classic MacOS applications then the native
graphics format is different and PDF is foreign.  Might this be as simple
as using up-to-date MacOS X versions of your other applications?

On Thu, 22 Jul 2004, Rob Knell wrote:

> Hi there
> The default option for saving graphics from R (1.9.1) on my Mac is as a 
> pdf file. If I open the file in Acrobat reader it looks really good and 
> crisp, and is obviously saved as vector graphics, since I can zoom in 
> as much as I like and it continues to look really nice. If I import it 
> into MS Word (from office 2000), or Textedit, however, it imports it as 
> a bitmap and unless I save it as a pretty big image and then shrink it 
> in size by about three times after import it looks blurry and 
> pixellated. The save it as a really big picture and shrink it option is 
> bearable, but hardly elegant.
> I'm trying to persuade some other people in my department that we 
> should move to using R as a standard analysis package, and this is 
> currently one strike against it - it's difficult to export 
> decent-looking high-res graphics. 

Not true: the export _is_ high quality and your subject line is blaming
the wrong tool.

> If I want to persuade people to use 
> R, I need to be able to give them an easy way to do this. There are 
> some solutions like importing the text and then the graphics into 
> acrobat, or installing ghostscript and trying it with the graphics as 
> postscript, but obviously people will respond to this with 'why should 
> I waste time and or money doing this when I can just cut and paste out 
> of Excel/Statistica/Minitab'. I realise that this is arguably more of a 
> problem with Word or Textedit, but does anyone know of a good easy 
> solution to this that I can use as part of my program to evangelise my 
> colleagues?

Brian D. Ripley,                  ripley at stats.ox.ac.uk
Professor of Applied Statistics,  http://www.stats.ox.ac.uk/~ripley/
University of Oxford,             Tel:  +44 1865 272861 (self)
1 South Parks Road,                     +44 1865 272866 (PA)
Oxford OX1 3TG, UK                Fax:  +44 1865 272595

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