Axis break and sorting lables in a boxplot

Hello everyone,

I am currently trying to plot a boxplot with a break in the y-axis. So far, without success. Here is my example code:


dt <- data.table(Month = character(), Value = numeric()) #create empty table

#some example values for 3 groups
dt <- rbind(dt, data.table(Month = "October", Value = c(runif(30, min=1, max=10), 34, 51, 58)), fill=T)
dt <- rbind(dt, data.table(Month = "November", Value = c(runif(30, min=1, max=10), 42, 54, 66)), fill=T)
dt <- rbind(dt, data.table(Month = "December", Value = c(runif(30, min=1, max=10), 25, 65, 87)), fill=T)

#box plot
png(paste0('boxplot example.png'), width = 2600, height = 2600)
par(xpd = F, #define margins
    mar = par()$mar + c(10,12,7,7), 
    mgp = c(3,4,0))

plot <- ggplot(dt, aes(x=dt[,Month], y=dt[,Value])) +  #give data
  geom_boxplot(fill="gray", size=3, outlier.size = 6) + #create boxes
  labs(title="", x="", y = "Value") + #add axis lables
  scale_y_continuous(breaks=seq(0, 100, 10), limits = c(0,100)) + #determine axis limits and ticks
 #some visual tweaks
  theme(plot.margin = unit(c(5,5,5,5), "cm"),
        axis.text = element_text(size = 80),
        axis.title = element_text(size = 80),
        plot.title = element_text(size = 100, face = "bold", hjust = 0.5),
        axis.text.x = element_text(hjust = 1.05, angle = 45),


It should create a simple boxplot like this:

And here you can see the two problems that bother me:

  1. Since there are some outliers far from the average values, the boxes are very small and it is not very visually appealing. Therefore, I would like to add a y-axis break (lets say at a value of 15) and add a more compressed y-axis scale ranging from 15-100 above. In the end, the boxes should cover about ~50% of the entire plot area.
  2. For some reason, the data is getting sorted alphabetically on the x-axis. But i would like to keep the original order as in the data.table. (so that the months are in correct order)

Someone knows good solutions for these two problems?

Best regards,

  1. This extension should hopefully do the job: CRAN - Package ggbreak
  2. Convert your y-axis to ordered factors: aes(x = factor(Month, levels =, y = Value)
    (You don't need to include the column names in []).

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