Line#

The line mark represents the data points stored in a field with a line connecting all of these points. Line marks are commonly used to depict trajectories or change over time. Unlike most other marks that represent one data element per mark, one line mark represents multiple data element as a single line, akin to area and trail.

Note: For line segments that connect (x,y) positions to (x2,y2) positions, please use rule marks. For continuous lines with varying size, please use trail marks.

Line Mark Properties#

Click to show code
import altair as alt
import pandas as pd

interpolate_select = alt.binding_select(
    options=[
        "basis",
        "cardinal",
        "catmull-rom",
        "linear",
        "monotone",
        "natural",
        "step",
        "step-after",
        "step-before",
    ],
    name="interpolate",
)
interpolate_var = alt.param(bind=interpolate_select, value="linear")

tension_slider = alt.binding_range(min=0, max=1, step=0.05, name="tension")
tension_var = alt.param(bind=tension_slider, value=0)

strokeWidth_slider = alt.binding_range(min=0, max=10, step=0.5, name="strokeWidth")
strokeWidth_var = alt.param(bind=strokeWidth_slider, value=2)

strokeCap_select = alt.binding_select(
    options=["butt", "round", "square"],
    name="strokeCap",
)
strokeCap_var = alt.param(bind=strokeCap_select, value="butt")

strokeDash_select = alt.binding_select(
    options=[[1, 0], [8, 8], [8, 4], [4, 4], [4, 2], [2, 1], [1, 1]],
    name="strokeDash",
)
strokeDash_var = alt.param(bind=strokeDash_select, value=[1, 0])

source = pd.DataFrame({"u": [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6], "v": [28, 55, 42, 34, 36, 38]})

alt.Chart(source).mark_line(
    interpolate=interpolate_var,
    tension=tension_var,
    strokeWidth=strokeWidth_var,
    strokeCap=strokeCap_var,
    strokeDash=strokeDash_var,
).encode(x="u", y="v").add_params(
    interpolate_var, tension_var, strokeWidth_var, strokeCap_var, strokeDash_var
)

A line mark definition can contain any standard mark properties and the following line interpolation and point overlay properties:

Click to show table

Property

Type

Description

orient

Orientation

The orientation of a non-stacked bar, tick, area, and line charts. The value is either horizontal (default) or vertical.

  • For bar, rule and tick, this determines whether the size of the bar and tick should be applied to x or y dimension.

  • For area, this property determines the orient property of the Vega output.

  • For line and trail marks, this property determines the sort order of the points in the line if config.sortLineBy is not specified. For stacked charts, this is always determined by the orientation of the stack; therefore explicitly specified value will be ignored.

interpolate

anyOf(Interpolate, ExprRef)

The line interpolation method to use for line and area marks. One of the following:

  • "linear": piecewise linear segments, as in a polyline.

  • "linear-closed": close the linear segments to form a polygon.

  • "step": alternate between horizontal and vertical segments, as in a step function.

  • "step-before": alternate between vertical and horizontal segments, as in a step function.

  • "step-after": alternate between horizontal and vertical segments, as in a step function.

  • "basis": a B-spline, with control point duplication on the ends.

  • "basis-open": an open B-spline; may not intersect the start or end.

  • "basis-closed": a closed B-spline, as in a loop.

  • "cardinal": a Cardinal spline, with control point duplication on the ends.

  • "cardinal-open": an open Cardinal spline; may not intersect the start or end, but will intersect other control points.

  • "cardinal-closed": a closed Cardinal spline, as in a loop.

  • "bundle": equivalent to basis, except the tension parameter is used to straighten the spline.

  • "monotone": cubic interpolation that preserves monotonicity in y.

tension

anyOf(number, ExprRef)

Depending on the interpolation type, sets the tension parameter (for line and area marks).

point

anyOf(boolean, OverlayMarkDef, string)

A flag for overlaying points on top of line or area marks, or an object defining the properties of the overlayed points.

  • If this property is "transparent", transparent points will be used (for enhancing tooltips and selections).

  • If this property is an empty object ({}) or true, filled points with default properties will be used.

  • If this property is false, no points would be automatically added to line or area marks.

Default value: false.

Examples#

Line Chart#

Using line with one temporal or ordinal field (typically on x) and another quantitative field (typically on y) produces a simple line chart with a single line.

import altair as alt
from altair import datum
from vega_datasets import data


source = data.stocks()

alt.Chart(source).mark_line().encode(
    x="date",
    y="price",
).transform_filter(datum.symbol == "GOOG")

We can add create multiple lines by grouping along different attributes, such as color or detail.

Multi-series Colored Line Chart#

Adding a field to a mark property channel such as color groups data points into different series, producing a multi-series colored line chart.

import altair as alt
from vega_datasets import data

source = data.stocks()

alt.Chart(source).mark_line().encode(
    x="date",
    y="price",
    color="symbol",
)

We can further apply selection to highlight a certain line on hover.

import altair as alt
from vega_datasets import data

source = data.stocks()

highlight = alt.selection_point(
    on="mouseover", fields=["symbol"], nearest=True
)

base = alt.Chart(source).encode(
    x="date:T",
    y="price:Q",
    color="symbol:N"
)

points = base.mark_circle().encode(
    opacity=alt.value(0)
).add_params(
    highlight
).properties(
    width=600
)

lines = base.mark_line().encode(
    size=alt.condition(~highlight, alt.value(1), alt.value(3))
)

points + lines

Multi-series Line Chart with Varying Dashes#

Adding a field to strokeDash also produces a multi-series line chart.

import altair as alt
from vega_datasets import data

source = data.stocks()

alt.Chart(source).mark_line().encode(
    x="date",
    y="price",
    strokeDash="symbol",
)

We can also use line grouping to create a line chart that has multiple parts with varying styles.

import altair as alt
import pandas as pd

source = pd.DataFrame({
    "a": ["A", "B", "D", "E", "E", "G", "H"],
    "b": [28, 55, 91, 81, 81, 19, 87],
    "predicted": [False, False, False, False, True, True, True]
})

alt.Chart(source).mark_line().encode(
    x="a:O",
    y="b:Q",
    strokeDash="predicted:N"
)

Multi-series Line Chart with the Detail Channel#

To group lines by a field without mapping the field to any visual properties, we can map the field to the detail channel to create a multi-series line chart with the same color.

import altair as alt
from vega_datasets import data

source = data.stocks()

alt.Chart(source).mark_line().encode(
    x="date",
    y="price",
    detail="symbol",
)

The same method can be used to group lines for a ranged dot plot.

import altair as alt
from vega_datasets import data

source = data.countries()

base = alt.Chart(source).encode(
    alt.X("life_expect:Q")
        .scale(zero=False)
        .title("Life Expectancy (years)"),
    alt.Y("country:N")
        .axis(offset=5, ticks=False, minExtent=70, domain=False)
        .title("Country")
).transform_filter(
    alt.FieldOneOfPredicate(field="country", oneOf=["China", "India", "United States", "Indonesia", "Brazil"])
)


line = base.mark_line().encode(
    detail="country",
    color=alt.value("#db646f")
).transform_filter(
    alt.FieldOneOfPredicate(field="year", oneOf=[1995, 2000])
)

point = base.mark_point(filled=True).encode(
    alt.Color("year").scale(range=["#e6959c", "#911a24"], domain=[1995, 2000]),
    size=alt.value(100),
    opacity=alt.value(1),
)

line + point

Line Chart with Point Markers#

By setting the point property of the mark definition to True or an object defining a property of the overlaying point marks, we can overlay point markers on top of a line.

import altair as alt
from vega_datasets import data

source = data.stocks()

alt.Chart(source).mark_line(point=True).encode(
    x="year(date)",
    y="mean(price):Q",
    color="symbol:N"
)

This is equivalent to adding another layer of filled point marks.

Note that the overlay point marks have opacity = 1 by default (instead of semi-transparent like normal point marks).

Here we create stroked points by setting filled to False and fill to "white".

import altair as alt
from vega_datasets import data

source = data.stocks()

alt.Chart(source).mark_line(
    point=alt.OverlayMarkDef(filled=False, fill="white")
).encode(
    x="year(date)",
    y="mean(price):Q",
    color="symbol:N"
)

Custom Ordering#

By default, the line’s path (order of points in the line) is determined by data values on the temporal/ordinal field. However, a field can be mapped to the order channel for determining a custom path.

For example, to show a pattern of data change over time between gasoline price and miles driven per capita we use order channel to sort the points in the line by the year field. In this example, we also use the point property to overlay point marks over the line marks to highlight each data point. Now, the earliest datapoint (1956) is one endpoint of the line, and the latest datapoint (2010) is the other endpoint of the line.

import altair as alt
from vega_datasets import data

source = data.driving()

alt.Chart(source).mark_line(point=True).encode(
    alt.X("miles").scale(zero=False),
    alt.Y("gas").scale(zero=False),
    order="year",
    tooltip=["miles", "gas", "year"],
)

Line Interpolation#

The interpolate property of a mark definition can be used to change line interpolation method. For example, we can set interpolate to "monotone".

import altair as alt
from vega_datasets import data

source = data.stocks()

alt.Chart(source).mark_line(interpolate="monotone").encode(
    x="date",
    y="price",
).transform_filter(
    alt.datum.symbol == "GOOG"
)

We can also set interpolate to "step-after" to create a step-chart.

import altair as alt
from vega_datasets import data

source = data.stocks()

alt.Chart(source).mark_line(interpolate="step-after").encode(
    x="date",
    y="price"
).transform_filter(
    alt.datum.symbol == "GOOG"
)

Geo Line#

By mapping geographic coordinate data to longitude and latitude channels of a corresponding projection, we can draw lines through geographic points.

import altair as alt
from vega_datasets import data
import pandas as pd

airports = data.airports.url
flights_airport = data.flights_airport.url

states = alt.topo_feature(data.us_10m.url, feature="states")

lookup_data = alt.LookupData(
    airports, key="iata", fields=["state", "latitude", "longitude"]
)

source = pd.DataFrame({
    "airport": ["SEA", "SFO", "LAX", "LAS", "DFW", "DEN", "ORD", "JFK"],
    "order": [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8],
})

background = alt.Chart(states).mark_geoshape(
    fill="lightgray",
    stroke="white"
).properties(
    width=750,
    height=500,
).project("albersUsa")

line = alt.Chart(source).mark_line().encode(
    latitude="latitude:Q",
    longitude="longitude:Q",
    order="order"
).transform_lookup(
    lookup="airport",
    from_=lookup_data
)

background + line