Video Tutorial: editing R plots in Adobe Illustrator

Adobe Illustrator is a powerful tool for creating and editing figures; unfortunately, it’s also really intimidating. So today at The Molecular Ecologist we’re trying something a little different: a screen-capture video tutorial about using Adobe Illustrator to enhance and edit plots that you make in R.

If you want to follow along with the full 13.75 minute tutorial, you can download the example PDF plots by clicking these links: Phylogeny and Scatterplot.

Video contents:

0:10-1:25: Saving plots to PDF in R

1:25-8:07: Editing a phylogeny

8:07-10:27: Editing a scatterplot

10:27-13:45: Combining and finalizing the figures

This video barely scratches the surface of what you can do with Adobe Illustrator, but hopefully it helps you get started. Happy Illustrating!


About Katie Everson

I’m a PhD candidate at the University of Alaska Museum studying the evolution of Madagascar’s tenrecs. Alaska is really far from Madagascar — that’s why I love museum collections! My core research interests are phylogeography and species delimitation.

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  • Sebastien Renaut

    For info, you can do essentially the same with Inkscape, a free and open-source vector graphics editor. More in line with the philosophy of R?

    • Huan

      Totally agreed! Would you please make an Inkscape version? I found it harder to navigate than Illustrator.

  • Sebastien Renaut

    If interested, I wrote a step-by-step R script to manipulate a phylogeny and get a similar outcome. The KnitR version is available here:

    This is not to say that Illustrator or Inkscape is wrong, R is just another option that some users may like better.