Interactive network chart with R



The networkD3 package allows to build interactive network diagram directly from R. It allows to zoom, hover nodes, reorganize the layout and more. This post explains how to use the library with reproducible examples.

Network section Data to Viz

Most basic network diagram


Here is a very basic interactive network diagram built with the networkD3 package. Its creation follows those steps:

  • Input has to be at edge list format: each row specify a link between 2 nodes
  • The simpleNetwork() function allows to plot the interactive chart directly
  • The saveWidget() function allows to save the chart in a standalone .html file if needed
# Libraries
library(igraph)
library(networkD3)

# create a dataset:
data <- data_frame(
  from=c("A", "A", "B", "D", "C", "D", "E", "B", "C", "D", "K", "A", "M"),
  to=c("B", "E", "F", "A", "C", "A", "B", "Z", "A", "C", "A", "B", "K")
)

# Plot
p <- simpleNetwork(data, height="100px", width="100px")

# p

# save the widget
# library(htmlwidgets)
# saveWidget(p, file=paste0( getwd(), "/HtmlWidget/networkInteractive1.html"))

Interactive network customization


Many option are available to customize the interactive diagram.

  • some options allow to customize the node, links and label feature, like nodeColour or fontSize. They are easy to understand and you can get a list of them with help(simpleNetwork).
  • other options allow to control the layout, i.e.¬†how nodes are distributed on the window. networkD3 uses a force algorithm: each nodes are gonna be attracted / repulsed depending on their connection degree?
# Libraries
library(igraph)
library(networkD3)

# create a dataset:
data <- data_frame(
  from=c("A", "A", "B", "D", "C", "D", "E", "B", "C", "D", "K", "A", "M"),
  to=c("B", "E", "F", "A", "C", "A", "B", "Z", "A", "C", "A", "B", "K")
)

# Plot
p <- simpleNetwork(data, height="100px", width="100px",        
        Source = 1,                 # column number of source
        Target = 2,                 # column number of target
        linkDistance = 10,          # distance between node. Increase this value to have more space between nodes
        charge = -900,                # numeric value indicating either the strength of the node repulsion (negative value) or attraction (positive value)
        fontSize = 14,               # size of the node names
        fontFamily = "serif",       # font og node names
        linkColour = "#666",        # colour of edges, MUST be a common colour for the whole graph
        nodeColour = "#69b3a2",     # colour of nodes, MUST be a common colour for the whole graph
        opacity = 0.9,              # opacity of nodes. 0=transparent. 1=no transparency
        zoom = T                    # Can you zoom on the figure?
        )

#p

# save the widget
# library(htmlwidgets)
# saveWidget(p, file=paste0( getwd(), "/HtmlWidget/networkInteractive2.html"))

Related chart types


Chord diagram
Network
Sankey
Arc diagram
Edge bundling



Contact

This document is a work by Yan Holtz. Any feedback is highly encouraged. You can fill an issue on Github, drop me a message on Twitter, or send an email pasting yan.holtz.data with gmail.com.

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